9 Things I Wish I Knew When I Started Quilting!
I had no idea that quilting would be such an expensive hobby. Be prepared to spend the spare money you have, on all things quilty!
2. Say farewell to spare space in your home!
Quilting can take over not only your money…but your free space as well. The piles of fabric and notions you purchase all take up precious space.3. Learn to sew a perfect quarter inch seam!
Almost all quilt patterns are written with a quarter of an inch seam allowance. When you take two pieces of fabric and get ready to sew them together, you must sew them exactly a quarter of an inch away from the edge of the fabric. This isn’t something to guess at. If you like clean lines, corners, and a square quilt, a perfect seam allowance is necessary.
I happily invested in a very inexpensive quarter inch foot for my sewing machine, and its life changing for sure!4. Buy high quality fabric!
I started teaching piano at age 13. One tip I always suggested to parents was to find a used piano for their children to learn on versus buying a small keyboard. Keyboards are difficult to use for practicing piano. The keys are usually sensitive and it is near impossible to make a keyboard provide a beautiful quality sound like a piano.
Quilting fabric is quite similar. It is extremely difficult to sew a great quilt with fabric that has been poorly made. If I want to avoid puckers at the seams, bunched up fabric, and fraying edges, I need to invest in high quality fabric. High quality quilting fabric is going cost a minimum of $9.00 a yard unless it’s on sale. It’s easy to find high quality quilting cotton for double that, so be prepared to buy quality.
Fat quarters are a great size to purchase fabric and play with prints when you are learning. There are also many quilt patterns that are fat quarter friendly.5. Cut fabric accurately!
The more I quilt, the less lazy I am about the process of cutting and sewing. I have learned the consequences when I’m lazy. Some people prefer to learn faster than others. I sometimes choose to need the same lesson repeated. I have learned a seam ripper is your friend….it is not your enemy. If I sew a sloppy seam, I know it is better to rip that seam immediately and redo it. If I try to adjust here or there for a sloppy seam, the slop bleads and soon the whole project becomes one big sloppy mess!
Cutting accurate fabric cuts is done by pressing the fabric before cutting. Crisp pressed fabric is the best for getting accurate cuts. Another tip I have learned is to clear my sewing space before making these cuts. A clear space makes it easier to focus on the accuracy of a cut. If I notice a square cut isn’t quite square, it is best to re-square it instead of continuing. I will attest that sewing with squares when a pattern calls for squares is far superior to sewing with a wonky four-sided wanna-be square fabric cut.
6. Buy a decent machine!
A good domestic sewing machine should be able to give you years of reliable, good service. It is vital that you choose the best sewing machine in your budget, to avoid disappointment. Remember, even if you have a very limited budget, it might not be the best idea to opt for a cheap, plastic machine.
Like most things of quality, a higher quality sewing machine is going to cost more so budget wisely. A good quality electronic sewing machine may enhance your sewing experience and encourage you to sew even more. When you buy a machine that requires more hands on adjusting, it can be frustrating and may discourage use as it is more like a chore to sew with.7. Clean and service your machine regularly!
There is a great amount of debris that can accumulate in your sewing machine. It is important to have your sewing machine cleaned and serviced on a regular basis. In most cases, at least once a year, but if you sew a lot, then it should be done more often. Having your quality machine serviced with help prevent problems and keep it running in top condition for years to come.8. Be careful when buying online!
Read….Read…..Read!! It is important to read the details of what you are purchasing. When a listing says it is 5 x 5 what does that mean? Imagine finding a great deal for a 5 x 5 square precut bundle. You order the bundle and are so excited to make a lap quilt. Your fabric arrives, and your excitement is deflated as your find out those 5 x 5 squares are actually 5 cm x 5 cm, not 5 in x 5 in.
I absolutely love buying online. There are so many reputable online quilt and fabric shops. Most quality quilting fabric is made in Korea or Japan. You will find brands that you love and learn to trust. Quilt shops sell quality fabric….Walmart and Jo-Ann do not. Some of my favorite brands are Riley Blake Designs, Maywood Studio, Robert Kaufman, FreeSpirit Fabrics, Benartex, Moda, Wilmington…there are so many!!9. Find friends to quilt with and enjoy the journey!
Quilting is such a joy! The friends you make, the quilting projects you create, and the love you share is unique and special to the quilting industry. This has been such an enjoyable experience for me. I have dipped my hands in many different endeavors in life. Quilting is meaningful. Welcome to one of life’s greatest precious gifts.