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Back to Basics: Quilting Tips for Beginners

School is back in session! This free quide to Quilting 101 is perfect for quilting beginners!

By: Ashley Jones, Editor, FaveQuilts.com

Back to Basics Quilting Tips for Beginners
Back to Basics Quilting Tips for Beginners
This image courtesy of FaveQuilts.com

Quilting is one of the most respected and well-loved types of fabric art around but jumping into your first quilt can sometimes be an overwhelming experience. If you've always wanted to make a quilt of your own, but have been intimidated by the time, effort, and terminology of quilting, then never fear because FaveQuilts is bringing you back to Quilting 101! From common quilting terms like HST, BOM, and LAQ to some beginner tips and tricks that are guaranteed to bring you quilting success, you can't go wrong with this list of back to basics quilting tips for beginners. 

This cheat sheet for quilting is perfect for newbies who've always dreamed of making a gorgeous quilt. We've made sure to include common types of quilting fabric, must-have beginner quilting tools, and the parts of a quilt sandwich, so that you're completely covered as you dive into the world of quilting. If you're new to quilting, or just want a refresher course on your basics, be sure to check out these quilting tips for beginners.

Quilting 101: Quilting for Beginners

School is back in session with this guide for quilting beginners! If you've always wanted to make your own quilt, then our how-to guide is exactly what you need. From understanding quilting acronyms to learning the different parts of a quilt, you can't go wrong with this beginner guide to quilting.

Basic Tools for Quilting Beginners

If you have no clue where to start with your first quilt, then you'll love our list of must-have quilting equipment. These quilting necessities are key for accurate measurements and perfectly formed quilt blocks.

  1. A long ruler, 24" or longer

  2. A square ruler, which is used to square up quilt blocks

  3. Good quality thread

  4. Rotary cutter

  5. Self-healing mat, used for cutting fabric. These mats are a great way to prevent scratching up your work table.

  6. Seam ripper

  7. Extra long tape measurer

  8. Plastic bags to store cut fabric or quilt block pieces

The Quilt Sandwich - Parts of a Quilt

What are the ingredients in a quilt sandwich? From the top of your quilt to the backing, this quick list of the essential parts of a quilt is a must-read for beginners! 

  1. Top - The top of the quilt is typically made of quilt blocks, although modern quilts tend to shy away from traditional square blocks. Most traditional quilt blocks are made using half-square triangles (HST).
     

  2. Sashing - Sashing is part of the top of the quilt. It goes in between quilt blocks to create an inner border of the quilt. Sashing is often used but is an optional part of the quilt.

  3. Borders - Borders frame the outer edge of the quilt top.

  4. Binding - Binding uses mitering to bind the quilt together.

  5. Batting - Batting is the inner portion of the quilt.

  6. Backing - Backing is the back of the quilt. 

Popular Fabric Choices for Quilting

While the possibilities for fabric choices are endless, we've narrowed down the most common fabrics popular with quilters. That way, you can head into your fabric store and confidently choose the perfect fabric for your first quilt! 

  1. Cotton - Cotton is the most popular fabric with quilters. Most quilters use 100% cotton.

  2. Denim - Perfect for stashbusting, denim is a great sturdy fabric for scrap quilts.

  3. Flannel - Flannel is a wonderful choice for warm, winter quilts, as well as snuggly rag quilts.

  4. Wool - Similar to flannel, wool quilts are heavier and are great for frosty, winter weather.

  5. Batik - Batik is a fabric dyeing technique that originated from Indonesia.

Popular Quilting Acronyms

If you've never understood what a BOM or HST is, then you've come to the right place. Let FaveQuilts break down some of the most popular quilting terminology for you!

  1. BOM - Block of the Month. Quilt guilds and quilt bloggers often participate in BOMs. This way, you have a completely unique quilt by the end of the year! 

  2. FQ - Fat Quarter. Fat quarters are one of the most popular types of precut fabric among quilters.

  3. HST - Half-Square Triangle. Half-square triangles are used fairly often in traditional quilt blocks and can be used to create many popular patterns, such as flying geese, star blocks, or pinwheels.

  4. LAQ - Long Arm Quilting/Quilter. Long arm quilting machines are often used in free motion quilting.

  5. RST - Right Sides Together. A common quilting instruction.

  6. UFO - Unfinished Object

Tips and Tricks for Quilting Beginners

Still stumped on where to start? Here's some helpful quilting advice for quilting beginners, from advice for buying fabric to where to find fellow quilters.

  1. Quilt guilds often meet at quilt shops and are excellent groups for beginner quilters. There are also several online forums for quilters as well. Check out our Facebook page for our most recent and popular quilt patterns, chat in the comments, and leave visitor posts! 

  2. Always buy slightly more fabric than you need.

  3. Use a machine that you feel comfortable with and keep your sewing machine manual handy.

  4. Patterns often use a ¼” seam allowance, so make sure your machine has a true ¼” seam allowance when quilting. You can attach machine guides or even use masking tape to mark this.

  5. Color value of quilts is incredibly important and should be considered when choosing fabrics.
    *Choose your fabric colors and stand back 6ft to see if the colors blend together or are clearly discernable.
    *You can also take a black and white photo with your phone to see the contrast between your color choices.

  6. If you run out of a fabric you love, the selvedge edge typically has the company and fabric information printed on it.

  7. You do not have to prewash your fabric. Vintage-inspired quilts can be washed after the quilt is completed, so that the batting and fabric shrink together.

What advice do you have for quilting beginners? Make sure to leave a comment below! 

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