I love making quilts. They are really special things to make and have so many hours stitched into them. This is the first tutorial of three which will show you how to make one of your very own. This tutorial will show you how to piece together the patchwork top, the second will show you how to quilt the layers together and the third how to bind your quilt.
A rotary cutter is not essential but is the quickest and most accurate way of cutting your squares out. If you want to mark your squares onto the fabric and cut out with scissors then be sure to be as accurate as you can.
I use only natural fabrics in my quilts because they wear better and are kinder on skin. Before you cut out your squares its really important to wash, dry and iron your fabrics. This is essential as the fabrics can shrink at different rates when first washed – its better that they shrink before you sew them together – otherwise you will end up with a puckered quilt.
For this tutorial I have decided to use 6 inch squares. They aren’t too small and fiddly if you are sewing a quilt for the first time. You can make larger or smaller ones if you wish.
Then comes the fun bit – choosing your layout! This can take some time, usually I design a layout, come back to it and move it all around again. When you decide on your final layout take a photo so that you have something to work from. Here is my layout.
The next step is to pin the squares together into strips. If my quilt was going to be rectangular, I would start with the shorter strips first, so I would pin together the squares across the width of my quilt. Put the right sides together and pin into place. With this design I will end up with four strips, each with four squares.
This is what your quilt will look like when all your squares have been pinned into strips.
Now you are ready to start sewing. Take your first strip and sew these squares together. I use my presser foot as a guide for the seam allowance so that it stays even and neat throughout the quilt. You can do this by lining up the raw edges of your fabric with the edge of the foot, as shown in the photo below.
Ironing your patchwork at each stage is crucial to making it look really neat and lovely. The key is to iron the seams all in the same direction. Looking at the back of your patchwork, all the seam allowances in each strip should be pressed carefully in the same direction as shown in the photo below. All of my seams are pressed downwards and this is the same for each of the strips.
When these four strips are completed, then you need to join them to one another. Put them right sides together and as you pin check that the seams line up on the right side. This is easier to do by starting with the middle seams and working out from there. Sew together two strips, again using the presser foot as a guide for your seam allowance. You will find it easier to sew in the direction that you have pressed the seams, so that the foot glides smoothly over the fabric in the right direction and keeps everything really neat. The photo below shows this.
Once you have sewn all of your strips together you need to press it again in the same way as before, so that all your seam allowances lie in the same direction. Take a look at the photo below – the small arrows are the seams you pressed flat earlier and the large ones show the direction I have pressed all of the vertical seams. This will make your quilt lie flat so that you have a really neat finish.
Turn your completed patchwork over and take a look at your hard work!
Next month I will show you how to turn your masterpiece into a quilt! For the next tutorial you will need backing fabric and wadding that are both slightly larger than your finished piece of patchwork. I will be using 100% cotton and 4oz wadding. Good luck with your patchwork – keep me updated on your progress!
If you fancy making your own quilt then you can buy most of the supplies from Amazon. If you purchase anything through the links in my post you are helping to support my blog as I get a small referral fee from Amazon. Thank you!