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The Basics of How to Make a Quilt

By: Nichole Pientka, Editor, FaveQuilts.com
The Basics of How to Make a Quilt
The Basics of How to Make a Quilt

If you're just starting to quilt or you need a refresher, this article called The Basics of How to Make a Quilt will be your best guide. 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, you'll want to start out with 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. 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.

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. 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. 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. 

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!

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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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