Speaking from experience, I know how it feels to be a beginner in the oh-so large quilting world. That overwhelming, anxious feeling is not just you; all new quilters experience the same feeling! There are so many different terms to know, fabrics and tools to use, and tricks of the trade that simply come with time. As a fairly new quilter, I feel as if a list of some quilting essentials can go a long way!! So here it is: 8 Basic things every quilter needs to know about quilting.
1. DON’T WORRY ABOUT MISTAKES!
Everyone makes errors. From techniques used to fabric choice, mistakes are inevitable. These so-called “mistakes” always lead to a better understanding of the quilting process and sometimes, our errors turn into our masterpieces! So don’t let the errors get you down, they truly are experiences worth learning and growing from.
2. Learn and Know your Fabric
When I started working with fabrics, I was amazed by all of the beautiful designs. However, I did not realize how extremely important it is to truly know your fabric before quilting. I mean, fabric is what makes up your quilt; it’s the strength of the whole project. It’s imperative to know how to care for your fabric and to understand why quilting patches are cut using precise procedures.
3. Get Familiar with Quilting Lingo
Get a quilting book. It is essential to understand that there is no shame in needing help. When you don’t understand a term or there is something you are unfamiliar with, research on the internet or pull out your “Quilting for Dummies” book. Before you know it, you will know ALL the quilting terminology.
4. Get involved in quilting groups on Facebook (These really help!!)
Log on to your Facebook. If you don’t have one, I would suggest making one just for these perks. Simply type “Quilting Groups” into the search bar and join whichever groups sound the most appealing to you. These groups have helped save me from my indecisiveness on which pattern looks best, answered any quilting questions, and encouraged me after finishing my first projects that I just had to post about! You also can always find a new idea based off of someone else’s post. Some of my favorite projects were found on these Facebook groups FULL of quilters ready to share.
5. Make sure you have all the correct supplies
What exactly do I need to start quilting? This is the question I asked myself for weeks before I finally told myself, JUST START QUILTING. A little list of tools would have been helpful considering the endless aisles of supplies found at every fabric shop. First off, make sure you get a rotary cutter. These are used to get straight, clean cuts from your fabric, unless you’re buying precuts from Southern fabric 😉 These come in a variety of sizes, but I would recommend starting with a 45mm blade. Next, make sure you get yourself self-healing mats. This is what you will use to cut your fabric on when you’re using the rotary cutter. You will also need pins! These are vital for securing fabric layers so that you can sew accurately. With a fine, sharp, glass-headed pin, you will get your seams just right the first time. Every quilter needs at least one quilting ruler, and a good one at that. You will use this tool for years so make sure you get a good quality ruler. Fabric and thread are both essential for the quilting process. Using 100% cotton is usually best for quilting. Lastly, even the best of quilters use a seam ripper religiously.
6. Save some money!
After reading number 5, you’re probably thinking how am I going to afford all of this? Trust me: I was right there with you. My solution was to get a job at a fabric shop 😉 That way I’m making some extra money and working with the merchandise that I wanted to become familiar with. As for you, just put some money aside to do the things you love! If you love quilting or are interested in getting started, don’t let the expense of it stop you from pursing something you care about. It’s important to do things that make you happy and there are always deals & coupons available!
7. Find your Perfect Sewing Machine
After reading article after article about which sewing machines were the best, I found that it was easiest just to go test them all out. First, decide what you want out of your machine. What exactly do you want to do with it? Make clothes? Quilt? Embroider? Next, test out some machines. Clearly, we can’t just buy a million sewing machines to try them all out. But if you actually go to the store and try out some machines, you will know which ones you hate and which machine feels comfortable for you. You could even try out multiple machines at a sewing expo. Just make sure you get a machine you feel comfortable using, especially because these are not cheap!
8. Use Quilting Apps
Before reading a previously posted blog by Southern Fabric, I had no idea about all the amazing quilting apps that could help me! These apps are truly remarkable and I can only imagine how they would’ve helped me when I was just beginning. If you missed that previous blog post, I will give some insight on the 6 Quilting Apps that will save you some headaches! The best part about each of these apps is that they are all FREE!! The first one is Robert Kaufman Quilting Calculator. The app, designed by quilters, helps you find out how much backing and batting your projects need, how much fabric you need for you border or binding, and really all the help you would need to master the math involved in quilting. The next app, Schmetz, explains the needle types and knowledge. It will help you choose the right needle for your sewing application. Some of the others include, BlockFab, QuiltFab, Color Snap by Sherwin Williams, Thread Selection by Superior Threads, and How much Thread Does it Take by Superior Threads. Check out these apps and let them help you with the process!
Now that you have the 8 Basics that every quilter needs to know, get started!
Thanks for reading!!