Saturday, May 15, 2010

How I make quilts........

(my quilting station layout with sewing machine and iron right next to each other)

Some people have expressed how complicated they believe quilting to be so I thought I would take a moment to talk about the quilt making process. I think you all know what I am going to say but I have to say it anyways! Quilting is oh so simple and if you can sew clothing already, you can quilt too! Making quilts is so much easier then making clothes and is so relaxing. I always have a quilt in progress because I like to sew a block here and there while I am working on bigger, more complicated projects like reproduction pants and fancy dresses :D Having something simple to sew, especially when there is no pressure to sew it, in between other projects really keeps the stress level down for me. I can sew a quilt block without really thinking about the block itself. Often when I have other things on my mind, I can sew blocks and be productive even if I am busy mentally :)

So, with that said, where to start is the next question. All you need is a rotary cutter and a mat to cut on. You probably already have everything else from sewing clothing :) I started out quilting by going to Joanns and picking out matching fabrics to complete a quilt top from one of those beginner quilting books. You can do this but I find that it can be very expensive!!! With that said, I am very partial to scrap quilts because you can use up whatever you have on hand whether it is leftovers from clothing projects or not.

Bonnie inspired me a long time ago to conquer my scrap piles and baskets with her website, Quiltville. She makes beautiful quilts and her Scrap User's System page was very helpful to me. I don't have my things quite that organized but I do have my scraps organized by color although all different sizes grouped together.

Once I organized my scraps some and had a rotary cutter and cutting mat on hand, I perused Bonnie's website a lot and picked a quilt that I liked. It was hard to choose but I recommend a simple one to start out just so things aren't too overhwhelming. Since I had done a Trip Around the World Quilt before along with several 9-patches, I went ahead and picked the Sister's Choice quilt to work on. I had never done anything with triangles before so I figured this was a good place to start :)

In all these pictures, I am working on the Sister's Choice blocks and right now I only have 10 more blocks to go. I started this quilt a while ago and had about 40 blocks finished so I pulled it out this month to try and get the top finished.

It really is not all that hard to get going. You just have to be able to cut fairly straight and sew an 1/4" seam allowance! I found that quilting does not go through scraps very fast also so I have lots of scrap quilts in my future :D

As I went along I found that the best use of my time was to keep my iron and sewing machine very close together so that I wouldn't have to get up and walk half way across the room to iron one seam. Having the iron right next to your machine saves a lot of time and energy! I have also found that chain piecing is THE way to go. It saves thread and time and takes less thought than other techniques. If you google chain piecing you will come up with a million things so I will let you all do that :) I have found that just chain piecing one block at a time goes fast but chain piecing one particular segment of a block at a time and doing that segment of EVERY block in the quilt, saves even more time. For example, in all these pictures, I have some blocks finished but I am putting together the cream rectangle and the green squares to make the borders that go around all the 9 patches. To do this you have to cut out all the 2 1/2" green squares and cream rectangles first but that goes quicker too if you do it all at once.

(chain piecing the cream rectangles and green squares)

(chain pieced segment finished and getting ready to iron)
(stack of finished blocks after ironing)

(more blocks on the stack)

Well, I think that is really all there is too it. Let me know if you all have any questions or if you all think I should include anything else :) I really hope you all try your hand at making quilts too even if it is just a way to use up fabric scraps in a beautiful way!

As Always

Bethany Lynn


  1. Thank you so much for sharing. I think I am inspired to try my hand at quilting a top and then can you share how to finish it?



  2. Thanks, this was a great post. I can never get my seam allowances right and I never end up with an even, matching square. Yours are very lovely!

  3. How do I fellow your blog?

    -Hannah Rebekah