Getting started in quilting

I get a lot of questions over social media, and some of those questions are asked a lot. One of those questions is - where do I start in quilting? Well that is very much the same as "how long is a piece of string?" Everyone is different, but there are some basics to get you started.
Obviously some of these depend on what type of quilting you want to do. If it is machine sewing that takes your fancy, then you will need a sewing machine. I wrote a piece here about choosing a machine. You will also want a walking foot to help you quilt through multiple layers. A quart of an inch foot, or the ability to move your machine needle to get the perfect seam allowance, is also vital for getting started. If it is hand sewing, then a needle and thimble is a good start.
Next invest in a rotary cutter, ruler and mat. The best rotary cutter is the 45mm version for cutting multiple layers of fabric. I personally choose an Olfa cutter because I find them easy to use and a good price.
A self healing mat (A3 and A2 are good sizes because a fat 1/4 sits easily on it). The mat helps with the cutting, protects your rotary cutting blade and protects your table. I like the Olfa brand available on Amazon.

Now is the matter of rulers. Which to choose! The best one to start with is a large 24 x 6 or 6 1/2 inch ruler. I like Simplicity. This will enable you to trim fat quarters into smaller manageable pieces.

Once you have had a play with these, you may consider getting different shapes - squares are useful. My most commonly used sizes are 6 1/2 inches and 15 inches. Then triangles, half square and equilateral.
General tools - pins, scissors, stitch ripper are all vital tools.

So that's tools covered.
Sources of education. Well YouTube is a mine of information that just wasn't available when I was learning to quilt. This is a massive free resource, and here are some links I found that could get you started.
Shabby Fabrics - a great introduction leading you through the process from the very basics.
Missouri Star Quilt Company - Jenny is a superb teacher, easy to follow and full of quick and easy tips.
Eleanor Burns - Quilt in a Day - this lady got me enthused back in the 90's when she had a TV show on Sky, and I learnt a lot!
Just Hands On TV - Access to the fabulous Jennie Rayment  whenever you need it.

All of these resources are packed with inspiration and tips for mastering piecing, blocks, applique and finishing.

So this should be a good place to get started, and before you know it, you will be away!

1 comment

  1. Hello Sarah,

    Very informative blog. Getting Started in quilting. I am in the throws of making a pillow using some of my vintage fabric. It was suppose to be a bed quilt hand cut and hand sewn about 30 some odd years ago. In stead it is now going to be come a pillow with a quilted outside frame and the inside done up in a screen from screen sensation.

    I just received my huge order of screens and inks. With that said I have some more S.S.coming in 7x5 Christmas screen alluring reindeer and shimmer gold and silver and copper coming in. Got my classics pinup and motorbike.

    With a huge choice that I now have not sure as to what I will be putting on it.
    Maybe mermaids or zodiac not sure maybe that motorbike.

    I see 12x12 Christmas and I am loving the four character designs.

    I love your informative blogs and your travel information. Makes one feel like they are experiencing it with you.

    Love watching you demo the Brother sewing machines and I loved that little pyramid zip case. I am a singer sewer. I have computerized sewing machines and a serger an embroidery sewing machine and a mechanical sewing machine.

    I love the fat quarters from C.C. I find them better quality than from here in the states.

    You have a great day and will be watching on C.C.
    Fawna Nazza


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