Mar 24, 2017

What's a good project for a beginner?

I want to make a quilt, but I have never made a quilt. I can use a sewing machine in a very basic way. Do you have any ideas for a good entry-level quilting project? Eventually I would like to be able to make a baby blanket/quilt.
I think something simple would be great for me.. bonus points if it's the sort of thing that can be completed in a weekend. Feel free to share links!
thumb_up15
chat57
replyReply

Add a comment...
A Rail Fence block is a good one--three strips, all the same length and width, sewn together. These are alternated, so that the quilt develops a woven appearance, with the blocks going from horizontal to vertical to horizontal to vertical all across the row.

You can sew long strips of fabric together and then cut them down to the smaller sizes of the blocks to save time. To determine the size of your block, figure out what size strips you want to use. Sew three of them together, measure that unit, and cut the blocks to that length--you want the block to be a square. Any size square will do.
I started with the log cabin pattern. Simple, yet time consuming. I was not disappointed!
Don't do it! Run away! You will be addicted to quilting before you know it.



Go for a rail fence quilt made with a jelly roll. The pre-cut pieces make it very easy to get started. BTW, a jelly roll is a bundle of 40 - 42 strips of fabric 2 1/2" wide by width of fabric. You just have to sew a 1/4" seam and then cut into blocks and re-assemble. You should be able to do the top in a weekend. If you stitch in the ditch to quilt (follow the seams) it will go really quickly. Here's a link for the rail fence https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kGSzo_eAEy8 , if that is too easy you can try this version https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rq0Oo3K7-1I. Watch this to put together the layers of the quilt https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x2akVq9m2NE.
I've taught many people to quilt, some with sewing experience and some with zero. I always start them out the same - buy a charm pack of 5 in squares and start sewing them together! Whether you've watched tutorials or not, you'll figure it out. And at the end, you'll have a baby blanket!
Sew! First off, get to know the info on the end of the fabricbolt. You want to use 100% cotton. Look in the area marked “quilting cotton.” Find a print you like. Then find a light solid color in that print you want to pick up. Last, look for a dark color in the print you want to highlight. Find a fabric in this dark color you like. Put all 3 bolts together & study them. If it’s pleasing to you, these are your fabrics. Depending on the size of the quilt, you’ll need to figure out how much fabric to buy (when cooking, we all love leftovers, right?)

When you get home, zigzag over the cut edges, then wash & dry all your fabrics. Iron your fabric. I started with a disappearing 9 patch pattern. You can make this quilt in a weekend. Good luck!
A simple nine-patch quilt or a rail fence quilt is a good place to start. The rail fence is a goos way to make sure you keep a consistent 1/4” seam allowance.
Check out the site Quilterscache.com which is a huge collection of blocks. They are sorted by name of block or by size of block, you choose which category. Each choice has the fabric requirements for one block, as well as the cutting and assembling directions. The directions are easy to follow and you don’t have to commit to a larger project if you decide you aren’t happy with color choices or the finished block.
It also allows you to try different types/varieties of single blocks which, if made in the same size, may be incorporated into a larger project later. Additionally, making single blocks can help you build your skills for accurate piecing. There are lessons, how-tos, conversions, etc. There is generally an image of an entire quilt made of the block to give you an idea how it would look.
Move_forward
Wow,I like this site! I bookmarked it to get lost in later! Thank you!
Do you want to do handwork or just use your machine? Visit your local quilt/sewing shops. They usually know of or host groups. It's good to get into a supportive groups. Though I have sewed for years and pieced many a baby quilt in my time, I wanted to make a detailed applique quilt. I joined a year-long class and have a beautiful quilt that is not yet quilted. It's being hand quilted by me. Start small. Work up to something bigger.
I teach Quilting and I would start by making either a tablerunner or a baby Quit. Quilt magazines have beginner patterns in them. By starting small and completing it you will not get discouraged. Using precuts is another option.
I second the person who said check for guilds in your area. Quilters are some of the most sharing and caring folks around. They are happy to teach you their craft. I’ve been quilting off and on for 30+ years, been a member of a few guilds, in the places I’ve lived, and learned from some amazing women. There are also informal groups that meet at local community centers (some city/county and some neighborhood HOAs) that are open to any type of needle and fabric art. I’m involved in 2, one at a city’s and one at my neighborhood HOA. Both welcome all skill level. We’ve help folks learn to sew and quilt. Helped with projects and been a place of community. Look for open sews at your local fabric and quilt stores too.
The Missouri quilt company actually sells a beginners quilt kit, that comes with everything you will need to make a quilt. They will also quilt it for you when you are done. How cool is that!
Jatraynor
I used this kit with my then 6 year old grand daughter....it was AWESOME!
Personally I like Leah Day's block of the months because she takes you through every step, step by step, even the quilting.
My advice is to find a local quilt shop and sign up for a basic quilting class. Sewing a quilt top is not the same as sewing aanything else nd requires immensely more precision! Even the simplest patterns go haywire if you can't stick to a 1/4 inch seam. For starters I recommend you get a pattern based on the Turning 20 concept, which usually takes 20 fat quarters to complete a quilt top.
Look at the Missouri Star Quilt, they have some simple patterns to use with the precuts
Just start with 6" squares of fabric, use 100 percent cotton fabric, pick you favorite color, look on a color wheel, either pick colors of fabrics near your favorite color or opposite, Pick out 5-6 fabrics, cut out abou 10 squares each from each fabric. Lay out squares down in a row alternating squares so you do not repeat 2 next to each other, lay out 5 squares on first row, layout 2nd row alternating so same fabric not next to itself! Lay out 5across and 6down. Lay 1st square on top of second square and sew on the left a quarter inch seam. Continue till you have whole row done. proceed same process for each row. Then lay 1st row on top of second row but make sure seams nest (form an "x" when you look at it) Once you sew the whole row press with an iron, press so the seam lays one way. Proceed with each row the same way. Enjoy your quilt top. Next, layering, next lesson!
The best way to get started quilting is to buy a Charm Pack - a pack of 5" square precut fabric - and just start sewing them together. If you have basic sewing skills, you'll understand how to sew the seams and iron them flat. All of the quilting mechanics can be learned from this.

Then buy 1.5 yards of fabric and batting. Pin the layers together and then quilt the quilt by sewing right down each row of seams (stitch in the 'ditch'). Do that in both directions to make a "grid" of quilting. This method requires no special functions on your sewing machine and no new methods to learn other than basic sewing.

Side note - I'm SUPER excited that you want to start learning to quilt! I'm a quilting teacher and love to hear about new quilters joining our ranks!
My first quilt (that I finished) was to buy 1.25 yard of purple (That’s a square of 45” wide material), and a half-yard each of red, blue, yellow, and green batik prints, and did four fibonacci quarters for the front: Cut a 1” square with 1/4” seam allowance, sew on another square, add a 2” square, a 3” square, a 5” square, an 8” square, a 13” square, and 22” by what little was needed to make the quarter square. Alternate colors, keep spiraling them the same direction... sewed those four squares together, sandwiched with the solid purple back... pin basted, and erk: Dropped feed dogs on the machine to draw in each section! I used Color with color thread on the front, and a nice gold in the bobbin thread for the back purple side. It worked! And is loved & much used these six years on...
Try a Jelly roll race on Missouri Star Quilts.
Goldieberg
I second this suggestion. Great videos out there on how to do this and you can definitely do a baby quilt quickly. There are so many fun jelly rolls out there that you can pick up at your local quilt supply store, or online and finish this in a weekend!