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Basic Quilting Steps + 10 Beginner Quilt Patterns

First time quilting? Learn the basics of how to make a quilt with these tips for beginners.

By: Nichole Pientka, Editor, FaveQuilts.com
Basic Quilting Steps  10 Beginner Quilt Patterns

If you're just starting to quilt or you need a refresher, this article called Basic Quilting Steps will be your best guide for learning how to make a quilt. This article will walk you through choosing a quilt pattern, choosing fabric for your quilt, as well as cutting, sewing, and binding your quilt.

If you're a beginner wanting to learn the basics, you'll want to start out with learning about the steps and tools you will need as well as finding a pattern that is rated as a beginner quilt pattern.

The quilting patterns on FaveQuilts will tell you what level they are below the description. Also, we have some beginner quilt patterns for you to try at the bottom of this page! Many quilt tutorials will list the recommended type of fabric as part of the materials or instructions, but this guide will help you choose one if you are not sure.

Cutting, sewing, and binding will likely be addressed in any quilt tutorial you find, though you can rely on this guide for the basics of how to make a quilt in those steps.

Quilting Basics:

Choosing a Pattern to Make a Quilt

First, you'll want to start small. You might even want to simply start with a quilt block and not a full quilt. If you do want to make a full quilt, start with a crib sized or baby quilt. 

Patchwork quilt patterns are the easiest quilt to make because you're learning all the basics of how to make a quilt by making one. You can use pre-cut fabrics for patchwork quilts, which means you don't have to do much cutting work.

Next, you can try more complicated block quilts that involve borders and adding sashing, and then you can challenge yourself with a flying geese quilt pattern. Designing your own quilt will come when you have all of the basics down pat. 

  1. An example of a patchwork quilt: A Patchwork Story Quilt

Choosing Fabric to Make a Quilt

Fabric can be a fun and frustrating material to buy because there are a lot of choices. Cotton and linen are the easiest choices, but make sure you press them before you cut them. 

If you're overwhelmed at the prospect of choosing fabric to make your quilt, you can make it very easy with pre-cuts! Pre-cuts are collections of fabric that are already cut into specific sizes, stacked or rolled up, and tied together.

Are you a visual learner? Watch our Visual Guide to Precuts to learn about the different types available.

You can sample fabric lines by using pre-cuts and your color schemes will already be figured out for you. They usually are a mix of printed and solid-colored fabrics. The most common pre-cuts and their sizes are listed below.

  1. Fat quarters: 18" x 22"

  2. Charm packs: 5" squares

  3. Layer cakes: 10" squares

  4. Jelly rolls: 2.5" strips

  5. Honeybuns: 1.5" strips

Cutting Fabric to Make a Quilt

Cutting fabric for your quilt might seem stressful, but we've got some tips and tricks in order to cut perfectly every time. Part of it is fabric preparation, which means pressing your fabric.

Make sure that your rotary cutter is sharp, which is what most quilters use to cut their fabric along with a cutting board. Learn how to use a rotary cutter. You will also want to learn about rotary cutter safety.

Cutting with a dull blade will not yield good results. You'll also want to make sure to match your selvages as closely as possible. A selvage is the self-finished edge of your fabric. When you fold your fabric in order to trace several pattern pieces at once, be sure that your edges are aligned correctly. If you're using pre-cuts, you won't have to worry as much about this. 

Finding Batting for Your Quilt

Once you have your quilt top complete, you need to decide what sort of batting you want. Batting is made from several different materials and combinations of materials, from natural fibers like cotton to synthetics like polyester.

The batting is the padding inside your quilt, so if you want your quilt to be warm and cozy, you will want a thicker batting but if it's more decorative, then a thinner option is probably best.

Binding Your Quilt

Adding binding to your quilt pattern is a great way to finish off the edges of a quilt when you're done assembling it as per instructions.

There are many ways to do this, but a simple way is to attach the binding to the back of your quilt and then fold over the binding to the front and sew it. Most quilters to it the opposite way, but this way you don't cover up any of your beautiful design!

Beginner Quilt Patterns

Now that you've got the basic quilting steps down, it's time to put that knowledge to work! Below, you will find some of the best beginner patterns for quilts. If you want to start with quilt blocks, that's a good idea, since those are mostly all beginner or easy level. 

These are all full quilt patterns, which will allow you to test your skills for the steps and information you just learned. Some are small, some are large, but all have easy-to-follow steps so that anyone can complete the project without frustration.

Easy Watercolor Quilt

If this quilt pattern doesn't fit the easy level, we don't know what will. Not only is it simple to make but it's beautiful and easy on the eyes.

Sleepover Snuggle Quilt Pattern

This pattern is really straight-forward, which is why you are going to love it. Find the perfect color combo for your home and this baby will shine!

Bandanna Picnic Quilt Tutorial

Make your next family picnic or church cookout even more special by following this easy Bandanna Picnic Quilt Tutorial.

Freaky Fast Four Patch Quilt

You will not believe how quickly you create this quilt. If you are on the lookout for a last-minute gift idea, this is the pattern for you.

Fabulous Fat Quarter Baby Quilt

Use fat quarters for this lovely and sweet baby quilt. Change up the fabrics to make it for a boy, girl, or a gender-neutral design. Parents will love it!

Easiest Ever Panel Quilt

This queen size quilted bed cover is the simplest of simple quilt patterns with only a few panels to sew together for a gorgeous quilt.

Tifton Tiles Fat Quarter Quilt

This Garden Panels Fat Quarter Quilt uses fat quarters and a colorful backing fabric to create a lap quilt pattern that is perfect for just about any occasion.

Pleated Strips Beginner Quilt

If you're new to quilting and are looking for an easy pattern to start with, look no further than the Pleated Strips Beginner Quilt.

Nana's Favorite Jelly Roll Quilt

If you've been looking for a simple and elegant quilt project to use your jelly rolls, then this tutorial for Nana's Favorite Jelly Roll Quilt is exactly what you need.

Rainbow Cuddle Fabric Quilt

Brighten your day by making this  Rainbow Cuddle Fabric Quilt! The vibrant squares are arranged in an aesthetically-pleasing design that will put a smile on anyone's face.

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Great info. It's difficult to know where to start, so this is incredibly helpful.

I love this tutorial. Just starting to quilt and this is some very informative information. I like that there is a chart of what each fat quarters,jelly rolls, charm packs,layer cakes and honeybuns that you can buy already matched. I was wondering the measurements on them. I am glad to see this so I do not have to search each one. Also tells you how to bind your quilt with a 5part step. This is great for a beginner. So if you ever wondered how here it is. Very well done.

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