Thursday, April 29, 2021

8 Key Steps for Beginning Quilters Making Their First Quilt

Quilting Steps For Beginners

There are several basic steps of  quilting for completing a quilt whether you are a beginner quilter or an advanced quilter..  .  Each of these areas define a separate step of the quilt process. Every step is important, and some of these steps might NOT be included in YOUR first quilt.

Steps of Making a Quilt

Selecting a quilt block or quilt pattern

The first and foremost step of making a quilt is DECIDING on what quilt you going to make. For beginners, it is advisable to start with something simple.  While many will dive in on an advanced project, keep in mind that it might not be as successful, and it might be discouraging. As someone who has been quilting 'forever',  I can still get overwhelmed with all of the quilts, ideas and inspiration out there.  If you are just starting out, simpler is better.  You will be happy with your success.

Alternate Blocks

Quilts are not always made of just one block repeated over and over.  Sometimes there are 'alternate' or a combination of two or more blocks. The photo shown below is actually made up of FOUR different blocks.  

The use of these four simple blocks makes a very traditional quilt, using scraps and a consistent fabric for the background.


Sashing is the fabric strip that goes between blocks.  There are several benefits to using 'sashing'.  
  • Makes the quilt larger
  • Keeps the blocks aligned
  • Adds interest to the quilt


Cornerstones are where the sashings intersect.  There are a couple of GOOD reasons why we always use cornerstones (whether the same color or a different color) is that it enables us to line up the blocks accurately  Without cornerstones, the straight lines are not always straight.  Simple tip for beginners.. Second photo shows what happens when you don't use cornerstones.

Inner & Outer Border

Most traditional quilts have one or more borders.  A border can be a one or more strips of fabric that frame the outside of the quilt.  More experienced quilters may choose to 'piece' the border with patchwork or even applique.  Beginners can use add dramatic elements by choosing fabrics that accent or coordinate with the inner part of the quilt top.


The backing is the third layer of a quilt sandwich.  Many times it is the same fabric as one of the fabrics on the front,  a coordinating fabric or even a pieced back.   In the photo below, I used a TEXAS themed  fabric to go with TEXAS t-shirts used for the quilt.  You can use ANYTHING you desire for the backing.  


Do you want fluffy or flat?  Warmth or just a light covering. Are you going to hand quilt, machine quilt or tie the quilt.  There is a whole 

Here is more about batting:

Quilt Sandwich


Quilting is the stitching that holds the three layers together.  There are so many options today for quilting your quilt.  Doing it yourself on a domestic sewing machine, a mid-arm machine, or longarm quilting.  This is what we call 'quilting by checkbook'.  There should be several experienced quilters in your area.  Don't forget to look online for experienced longarm quilters.


There are several methods of adding binding, which is the final step in enclosing all those raw edges of your quilt.  

  • Hand turned binding
  • Machine binding
  • Bias edged binding
  • Backing Binding

Hand Turned Binding

Binding is attached by machine to one side of the quilt, the fabric is folded over and whip stitched by hand to the finish.

Machine Binding

Binding is machine stitch to the back side of the quilt sandwich, and flipped to the front side and machine stitched.

Bias Binding

Binding is created by cutting on the bias edge of the fabric.  Can be added either by hand or by machine

Backing Binding

This is where the backing fabric is cut larger than the top and batting.  It is then double folded towards the front and either hand stitched or machine stitched to the front side.

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