How to Quilt

By Contributor

How to Quilt. Quilt making has been around for generations. Maybe you remember a handmade quilt from your childhood. Maybe someone gave you one as a gift and now you want to make your own quilt. Quilts not only serve as bed coverings but are also great as wall hangings. Here are the basic instructions on how to make a basic quilt.

Getting Started: Building Your Quilt Layers

Create a quilt top. You can make your quilt top from scraps, you can pick ready made quilt blocks from a fabric department, or you can simply sew material together to create a top.

Press all seams on the quilt blocks or quilt top open. This helps the quilt to lay flat and will make quilting it much easier.

Square each block. Every block needs to be as squared as possible to keep your quilt looking great. This is the most difficult part of quilting, yet the most important.

Finish the quilt top. Once your quilt is the size you desire, it is time to put the quilt together.

Choose the batting. Batting is the middle part of the quilt that gives it thickness. If you want a thicker quilt, you can double-up the layers of batting in the quilt. Batting comes in different thicknesses, so ask for assistance if you don't know exactly what to get.

Select the backing. The backing is the underside of the quilt. Since this side is rarely seen, you can pick any fabric or color. A nice sheet could even work for the backing or buy some heavy muslin. If you sew any part of the backing together, don't forget to press the seams open.

Baste all three layers together. Basting stitches are large, loose stitches sewn by hand as a temporary stitch designed to hold material in place until sewn with a machine on put on a quilt stand for formal quilting by hand.

Finishing It Off: Quilting Your Layers Together

Keep the layers tight and together. This is so the layers do not wrinkle or pucker during the quilting process. You can do this by using a quilting frame.

Choose a color of thread for the quilt. Make sure the thread is a heavy thread made for quilting. Regular thread will not stand up to heavy usage. (You do want your quilt to be usable, right?)

Use a quilting needle. Quilting needles are shorter than a regular needle and are also stronger so they do not bend as easily.

Get a thimble. Thimbles will save your fingers from many pricks of the needle during the quilting process.

Decide on a pattern for your quilting stitches. You can simply quilt around each block or quilt a design. If you need to make a design on your quilt, use a special pencil or chalk that will wash off.

Sew with very small stitches. The key is small, tight stitches that go through all three layers of the quilt. Another rule of thumb when quilting is to quilt at least every 6 to 8 inches. If you quilt too far apart, the quilt may become lumpy where you did not quilt.

Finish the quilt by removing the basting stitches, then bind or hem the outer edges of the quilt so there are no raw edges opened.

Tip

Better quality and heavier fabric will make your quilt last longer. If you decided after you made the quilt top and no longer have the desire to quilt it, you can always "tie" the quilt. You do this by using a large needle and yarn. Cut the yarn in 5-inch sections. You literally sew the quilt together with yarn and "tie" it off. Keep in mind you need to tie the quilt every 6 inches so it does not become lumpy after use and washing.

Warning

The batting may need to be sewn together depending on the size of your quilt. Sew batting together with large loose basting stitches. You do not want gaps in the batting and you do not want the batting to overlap as this will make your quilt too bumpy. Quilting by hand is a long process. This process can take months to finish on your own depending on the size of the quilt and how fast you can sew. Use a sewing machine if you need to finish it more quickly.