Advanced search

Quilting absolute beginner.....

(29 Posts)
Becaroooo Tue 27-Sep-11 11:18:44

Hello. Not sure if this is the right place, so please bear with me!

Would really love to start making quilts. Have never done so. Did sewing at school sometime last millennia and can sew on badges, buttons etc but thats about it.

Have never used a sewing machine.

I would like one of the small beginner machines (so need advice there!) and would like to make quilts for myself, and family members and give them as gifts etc.

Is this feasible???

Dont know where to start, how to start or what to try first.

Any advice gratefully recieved!!!


lifeistooshort Tue 27-Sep-11 14:19:03

I want to make quilts too. I have bought a fab book which I received last week. Will check the title when I get home. Otherwise no advice to offer as I am a novice but will watch this thread with interest.

Becaroooo Tue 27-Sep-11 15:33:41

Hello!! (thought it was just me!!)

Terpsichore Tue 27-Sep-11 16:01:11

Becarooo, it's entirely possible to make something really simple. In a former life I once hand-sewed together hundreds of tiny hexagons, but these days a sewing machine is the way to go, I realise! It can be really easy, and there's no need to take fright at the more complicated patterns (that's my excuse, anyway).

Here's one idea - this tutorial shows you how to produce an intriguing-looking finished product. You can make the strips as wide as you like, to build up the blocks really quickly, and even have them in different widths. You could choose a very few fabrics and just alternate them, which would be easy but look good - or try lots of different fabrics.

I'm part-way through a quilt using the above method, and the only thing you have to take care about is to make sure that you use a very small stitch-setting so it's easy to tear the paper off. I don't bother with sticking the middle strip to the paper; I just put a pin through at either end until the first couple of strips are stitched, then take them out. In terms of sewing skills you only need to be able to sew a straight line.

Whatever you choose to do, good luck!

GetOutMyPub Tue 27-Sep-11 17:24:05

quilting can be VERY addictive - be warned.

I bought a jelly roll to start off with & just stitched it together ad hoc to my make my first "quilt". Following some tutorials that I found online and books that I had borrowed from the library (people often forget to use their local library for this type of thing!)

Then I did a beginners course at my local quilt shop to get me started properly.

The main things you need to master are rotary cutting (not many people bother with paper templates anymore) and getting an accurate 1/4 inch seam allowance.

Crazymomquilts is probably my favourite blog for tutorials and tips etc.

HippyHippopotamus Tue 27-Sep-11 18:01:51

I second the warning about quilting being very addictive!

decide on the rough size of quilt you want to make. then buy yourself some fabric, a few different bits that you like the look of and that look good together. make sure they're all the same type, 100% cotton is recommended. lay them out together on the floor. fold them into squares. fold them into strips. how do they work best together? take photos of them together, its easier to spot any 'ooh no, they shouldn't be next to each other' issues from a photo

once you're at that stage, report back here and we'll help you out on the next step!

fellow quilters, we have a quilting virgin in our midst grin

craftynclothy Tue 27-Sep-11 18:21:55

If you're looking at getting a machine for quilting you might want to keep an eye on any machine shops near you that sell refurbished machines (or ones they've bought as part exchange) and look for a machine with a bit more space under the arm (easier to move quilts through).

Take time getting an accurate 1/4" seam allowance as it's really important if you're following a pattern.

I found starting with a jelly roll a great way to get into quilting as it meant there wasn't too much cutting before getting on to the exciting part.

Becaroooo Tue 27-Sep-11 19:49:54

ooohhh, thank you!

Ok, some questions.....

What is a jelly roll???

What sort of machine is best? I have a small house so an industrial size machine is a no-no smile

There is a quilting shop in the next town to me....would they help me or try to flog me stuff I dont need? grin

HippyHippopotamus Tue 27-Sep-11 21:29:24

Name the shop on here, you never know, one of us might know it!

A jelly roll is a bundle of fabric strips so all you have to do is sew them together smile

I've never used them because i really enjoy the cutting bit!

HippyHippopotamus Tue 27-Sep-11 21:31:22

As for machines, one that has a foot for 1/4 inch seams will really help you!

What's your budget for the machine?

dizzyday07 Tue 27-Sep-11 22:07:28

Welcome to the Quilting Club! Here are some quilting basics. There are lots of nice tutorials on her blog too

DorothyGherkins Tue 27-Sep-11 22:19:32

I ve just finished my very first quilt. I am sure it wouldnt get many points for craftsmanship at this stage, but I really enjoyed making it, and am already on my second one. It was from a book of jelly roll quilts, and the pattern was called Stacked Coins, Chinese Coins or Bars of Gold - simple cutting from strips and assembling in blocks of strips. It looks much more complicated than it was.

I live in a tiny cottage, with no room for cutting out - so the jelly rolls were brilliant as the strips are precut. I got the jelly rolls from ebay. I ve got no specialist equipment, just a bog standard machine, dressmaking scissors, although I did buy some extra long quilting pins which were very useful. You only need basic sewing skills to produce something really professional. I also bought my jelly roll book from ebay too. Its got loads of super patterns and ideas.

I learnt loads from making my first quilt, and finding the second one much easier. Its nice to have something you enjoy doing, and to produce something good looking which is useful as well! Go for it, I m sure you will enjoy it!

Becaroooo Wed 28-Sep-11 07:51:04

Thanks so much.

Cant remember the name of the shop! blush

dorothy I am a bit limited for space too so jelly rolls sound good!

Not sure re: machine budget....what is the ballpark fiugure for a decent beginner machine do you think???

(may be my xmas pressie from dh! - not that he knows yet....)

shelscrape Wed 28-Sep-11 10:36:01

Hiya ... this is so weird coming across this thread. I'm having a cup of coffee in the middle of machine quilting my first ever quilt. Is jolly good fun ... although I get funny looks from DH as I keep muttering to myself and cursing my crapness in sewing a straight line. I have decided that wonky quilting will add character and prove it was homemade. I found cutting the fabric and piecing the top by machine much much easier though. I would reccomend buying a rotary cutter and cutting board, makescutting out quicker and more accurate.

I have done dressmaking for years, but quilt making is completely different. I would suggest going to your local library and get books out for inspiration, why don't you do and googel search and find your local quilting and patchwork shop - they often do beginners courses. Also some good quilting magazines too, the complicated designs inside may look beyond your skill level, but the adverts from all the suppliers and shops may be useful. Loads of tutorials on youtube too!

PopcornMouse Wed 28-Sep-11 11:44:03

Becaroo, if quilting is what you want to do, then I'm not sure a "beginner" (aka cheap-o) machine would do the job - I'm not convinced it would sew through all the layers. I'd go for something low-to-mid-range; have a look in John Lewis, something around the £200 mark. Definitely steer clear of the £50-100 machines imho.

craftynclothy Wed 28-Sep-11 11:58:30

I have a Janome 8077 which I bought for dressmaking originally but it's been fine for quilting. I just get annoyed at times when machine quilting cos there isn't masses of space under the arm so it's harder work. I've also got a quilting Janome machine (can't remember the model number) which has a bit more space but I haven't had chance to really test it out much yet.

I'd say you're looking around the £200-£300 mark but I do know people who quilt on cheaper machines.

The things I find really helpful on mine are:
Speed limiter (use this all the time when quilting)
Needle up/down (great for stopping in exactly the right place and for starting your quilting as you bring the threads to the same side)
Top loading bobbin is useful as you can see if you're going to run out easily rather than running out halfway down a row or something

I don't have a 1/4" foot but I have a note of the settings I need so that my straight stitch makes a 1/4" seam with the edge of my foot. It's written on masking tape and stuck to my machine.

A walking foot is good for quilting and can be around £30 so it's worth seeing if you can get one thrown in or cheap when you buy your machine.

I'd definitely recommend getting a rotary cutter, mat and ruler (with inches not cm). You can get away with less stuff if you use jelly rolls as you won't have to cut across the width of the fabric (it's been done for you). I used a 12" x 6" ruler and that was perfect. I've now added a 12.5" square and a 24" x 6" ruler.

Deux Wed 28-Sep-11 12:00:21

Hi. If you know anyone with a Costco membership, they have a computerised Janome sewing machine on special offer at the moment for £173.00, reduced from £203 (normal RRP is c£230 I think).

I would avoid a basic machine too and get something you can grow into. Better still would be to borrow one from someone who can show you how to use it and then you can see how you get on with it.

My local quilting shop runs lots of classes and they provide sewing machines so you don't need to bring your own. You might find a 'getting to know your sewing machine' type class.

I think a trip to your local shop would be a good start as ime, the ladies who work there will talk you through everything. Plus you can familiarise yourself with things like jelly rolls.

Becaroooo Wed 28-Sep-11 13:05:19

hmmm...was thinking along the £200-250 mark so thats reassuring!

How much are jelly rolls btw? Say for a babys blanket type thing? (I am going to be an auntie again in Nov!!)

lifeistooshort Wed 28-Sep-11 13:31:52

Hi Becaroo

I checked the book is called the ultimate quilting bible by Marie Clayton. it is really quite good. Really enjoying this thread and all the tips. I think I will try Terpsichore's quilting idea with all my bits of denim. Sounds fab!!

coldcomfortHeart Wed 28-Sep-11 13:35:56

You don't have to do it all by machine- you can hand piece, hand quilt or a mix of machine and hand sewing.

i personally prefer doing it by hand,it takes longer of course but i find it very meditative and satisfying. also means you can do it on a train, if you go away for the weekend, etc.

or maybe I'm just a masochist!

GetOutMyPub Wed 28-Sep-11 15:00:39

jelly rolls can be quite expensive. (around £20-£25) They are a tradename for moda fabrics. You can get other manufactures jelly rolls but they are not supposed to be called that. My local quilting store calls them jelly strips. There are lots of free patterns on the moda website.

I have made 3 quilts from the Jelly Roll book by Lintott & Lintott but I cut all my own strips from fabric that I bought in fabricland and from here (you need a rotary cutter, ruler & mat to cut your own)

There are quite a few sellers on ebay that sell them. Fabricland sometimes do a baby-theme roll for around £4, which I have also seen for sale in John Lewis in the same town for £12!!!

dizzyday07 Wed 28-Sep-11 16:11:56

I buy fabric from this shop on Ebay - and she sells packs of different sized squares plus packs of strips

PopcornMouse Wed 28-Sep-11 16:56:58

I have a Janome DC3050, and have just finished quilting an oversize double bed quilt on it grin)

I'm a fabric snob, I admit - I like!

Becaroooo Thu 29-Sep-11 14:26:31

Thanks all...lots of great advice.

Am v v nervous though and my hand stitching isnt great blush I can just about do a button or sew a badge on a uniform...thats pretty much it.

Just want a creative hobby that I can enjoy...something for me
<<selfish emoticon>>

Terpsichore Thu 29-Sep-11 15:12:21

Another lovely Ebay shop here, for Kaffe Fassett fans. Gorgeous fabrics and always reliable.

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: