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very basic beginner patchwork - do you use special knives, boards, templates etc?

(14 Posts)
ZZZenAgain Sat 13-Aug-11 13:13:02

thinking about doing a (small) very simple patchwork quilt but the videos I have been watching on youtube show people using special plastic templates, cutting boards and knifes etc and I wondered if you all generally have used this kind of thing or do you make templates yourself?


nelehluap Sat 13-Aug-11 16:05:08

I just cut a square of cardboard to the size that I want the patches to be and use that as a template to cut out loads of patches out of scrap paper - then pin the squares of scrap paper on your material, cut around the square by about an inch and then tack

ZZZenAgain Sat 13-Aug-11 17:09:20

oh I see, how stupid of me, I didn't think you'd need to make a whole pile out of paper templates. I was thinking you just draw around the cardboard one every time. In fact I have just thrown out a huge amount of scrap paper... (I'm sure there is more in dd's room).

After you've sewn the patches together (I'm just doing totally basic squares here), do you then iron the seams apart or do anything with them so they lie flat or does it not matter? And then do you stitch the patched material to a base sheet before you fill it and put the backing on? Do you know what I mean?

Totally unclear. I mean you have 1) the patchwork you've made, 2) the filling whatever it is and 3) a bottom sheet or a back for the quilt .

Do you also have say 1.5) a sheet or something you stitch the patchwork too?

ZZZenAgain Sat 13-Aug-11 17:10:57

sorry I don't sew that's why I sound so dense. I have found some helpful videos online but they don't mention things like that because I think they assume you know.

nelehluap Sat 13-Aug-11 18:17:26

Hi again. Once you've sewn your patches together and have it the size you want then take the templates out...then back it with whatever you want - if you're doing a quilt all you need to use is a blanket or a nice warm that to your patchwork by doing some small stitches along the edges....and if you want to finish off the backing then sew on a nice crisp piece of white it has a nice soft backing to sleep under but also has the warmth of a fleece inside it. You don't do any ironing of the seams behind the patches because once you've sewn them they'll sit nicely together. Sew the patches facing each other....and do overstitch along the, for example, if you have two squares to sew together put them facing each other so you have the two templates on their when you've finished the sewing together part of the two squares the seams will sit tidily underneath.

ZZZenAgain Sat 13-Aug-11 18:44:56

thank you very much. I hadn't thought of using a blanket or a quilt. It is a good idea. I think I can do this smile

nelehluap Sat 13-Aug-11 19:03:30

yes a blanket is ideal or even just a fleecy type blanket - something not too heavy because you don't want it to pull at your stitching and make your patchwork stitching go out of shape so a fleece would probably be a better lighter idea. Any probs with it just post or email me. smile

LatteLady Sat 13-Aug-11 19:07:35

Zzzen, you are right the vids often assume that you have the basics and seek to build on that.

So from the top, yes we do use rotary cutters, mats and rulers and sometimes templates - the reason for this is you are cutting out large amounts of fabric and you will knacker your hands and wrists if you just use cutting shears. The other reason is that you will get a more accurate cut of fabric. And real patchwork/quilting is about accuracy.

Now your best friend whenever you are sewing is your iron and ironing board... however, it depends on your school of quilting as to whether you press the seams open or to one side. Whatever happens you really should press each seam each time you sew one.

Can I suggest that you go to your local library and look through their crafts section and get out a book on quilting - or check online at their website for books like Quilting in No Time by Emma Hardy.

nehaluap is describing doing this by hand sewing, you might want for your first couple of projects to use a sewing machine. If you do decide to do this by hand sewing the traditional method is to cut out a pile of paper templates to the size that you require your shape to be... it could be square, triangular, heaxaonal (you get the idea) then your fabric is 1/4" larger all round (ie you have 1/4" seam allowance). Tack the fabric around your paper template and then over sew it, the paper gives your fabric substance and stability.

ZZZenAgain Sun 14-Aug-11 08:48:26

Thank you. You've both been really helpful. Yes, I have flicked through books before but I was always intimidated by all the detail and the projects beyond my scope. I just thought I could maybe have a bash and keep it very simple : squares into rows, rows together and stitch it to the backing... I thought I'd just do a lot of squares and lay them out on the floor , move them around till I liked the look of it but I don't feel up to reading about the colour schemes and so on just yet IYSWIM. I'll have another look at books though, I need to figure out how you finish off the edges. I have a feeling that might be the hard part, somehow binding it all together nicely.

Quite excited actually.

ZZZenAgain Sun 14-Aug-11 08:50:01

I did mean to handstitch them latte. I thought I'd number them on the back and pack a row into a small bag and take them with me to a dc's activity where I have to hang about and usually read a book. Thought I'd stitch the squares into rows there and the rows together at home... (This was the plan) I suppose machine stitching would be more even and hold it better.

nelehluap Sun 14-Aug-11 09:56:02

I have done a lot of hand-sewn patchwork - I make my own cushions, for example, and always stitch them into blocks as I go along - I don't tend to sew them into rows....usually because I'm a lazy moo and run out of cut out templates of paper so when I've done say a dozen or so squares together I un-tack the templates and re-use them for the other areas of the cushion! You could do the same - sew them into say blocks of ten and when you've done as many blocks of ten as you want and can form a quilt by lying your blocks of ten squares together then sew them all together forming your quilt.

I also think that what makes patchwork fun is putting the materials together randomly. I'm also not one for putting shades/colours together that match..I like designs to argue when I make cushions up and put out my pieces of material together by the time I get to sew them I can't remember which bit was going next to which bit so I just shove them together anyway!

As for the edges - I guess you mean the outer edges? The way I deal with this is just to pin them round or tack them....then when you go to sew on your fleecy blanket/piece of cotton backing - oversew it around with your patchwork facing downwards (so you've got the scruffy back of your patchwork looking at you)....and then when sewn up with one edge still open turn it all back face you and run some over sew stitches on your last edge....that way your patchwork edges for all your patches are enclosed within the backing...

ZZZenAgain Sun 14-Aug-11 11:34:02

I see what you mean, thanks. For some reason, I thought I needed to have a kind of binding sewn around the outside, like a blanket has. Of course I can stitch it right sides together and turn it out so it wouldn't be necessary to bind around the outside.

The easier the better in fact.You sound as if you do a lot of patchwork, do you?

ZZZenAgain Sun 14-Aug-11 11:34:24

you have already said you do! Sorry not with it today!

nelehluap Sun 14-Aug-11 11:43:37

Not an enormous amount mainly because I don't get a huge amount of spare time but I have made quite a few bits and bobs over the years....I've done patchwork for years - took the hobby up when I was at school and I'm now in my mid 40's and still enjoy making eldest DD, who is 12, does quite a bit too - its nice that children are still sewing altho not as much as they did when I was their age. I'm just selling a lot of my material collection and have just sold, on here, a load of pre-cut squares....I'll let you know when I sell the other pieces I have when I put them on here....its nice to hand bits over to people that are going to use them.

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