Tuesday 2 June 2009

learn to sew - quilt 1

A little progress over the weekend. I cut a lot more blocks with the rotary cutter following the instructions in my book* which show how to cut with the grain and square up accurately when cutting on the fold. I got better and more confident as I went along.

This quilt is just a very simple design of large squares. I didn't want to be too ambitious. I chose some fabrics from my stash that went well together, blues and acid greens, yellow and a touch of pink. Choices include new fabrics, my Spoonflower swatches, gingham, handprinted and vintage material. The white is a quilting cotton from Remnants Warehouse.

All the material was prewashed and pressed. I found the best results with my rotary cutter when I pushed down (not forward) and went back and forward each few inches. You can hear when its cutting. The few times I didn't cut all the way through were very annoying and usually happened in the first inch or two, it's very hard to go back and cut accurately once you've moved the ruler. I cut strips and then cut them into blocks. If I tried to bring the rotary cutter back down the ruler I found I usually swerved off and ruined the cut edge for the next strip. So I stopped doing that! The 24" quilting ruler was invaluable, it held the material in place and made it easy to square things.

I'm making my blocks 5 1/2" so that the finished size is 5 inches - because as I found out to my initial concern quilting seams are always meant to be 1/4"!! Luckily I read somewhere else about a special quilting foot that has exactly a quarter inch edge to it to make it easier to sew these seams accurately. I tracked one down easily for my ancient Janome (and in a rush of blood to the head bought a free motion quilting foot for playing with later) and its great.

I have sewn together all the coloured blocks to a white square saving time by chain stitching (not cutting threads between) and yesterday pressed all the seams to the printed side. That way when I turn one and sew them into four square blocks the seams will be opposite each other, in theory :-)

* The book is called The Magic of Quiltmaking, A Beginner's Guide by Margaret Rolfe and Jenny Bowker published by That Patchwork Place imprint of Martingale and Company. ISBN 1-56477-502-X (follow the link to buy it).


  1. Thank you for those rotary cutter tips! I'm going to try again soon. (Pushing forward sounds very much like what I was doing.)
    Your quilt layout looks lovely!

  2. wow this quilt is going to be beautiful, can't wait to see it finished

  3. thanks for all the tips in here...still trying to get up the courage to try my first quilt (amassing great collections of fabric in the meantime). now i'm going hunting to see if i can find the finished product somewhere on your blog.


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