What You Need To Know To Learn How To Quilt...

In order to learn how to quilt you must first understand what how a quilt is made.

Basically a quilt is a sandwich that consists of three layers. The top of the quilt is a decorative layer created from small fabric pieces or 'patches' sewn together in a creative and artistic manner.

The second layer is the batting. Batting is a cozy thermal layer of matted cotton, wool, polyester or silk fibers that give the quilt warmth and volume.

The third layer is the backing that is made from one continuous piece of fabric.

Quilting is the stitching which holds the three layers of the quilt 'sandwich' together while forming a decorative design. Quilting can be done either by hand or machine.

The three layers are held together in one of three ways...

  • The oldest method is hand quilting. This is perhaps the most labor intensive choice for those just learning how quilt.

    Hand quilting is usually done in a quilting 'hoop' or on a quilting 'frame' using special needles, called 'betweens', and quilting thread.

  • The easiest method is machine quilting. Machine quilting involves the use of a sewing machine to stitch the layers of the fabric sandwich together.

  • The third method is called tying which involves using evenly spaced knots or bows to hold the layers together at wider intervals than quilting. Done by hand or machine, this method makes a generous, puffy quilt called a comforter.

Those learning how to make a quilt should be familiar with the term piecing or patchwork as it is sometimes called. This is an exacting method of sewing small pieces of fabric ('patches') together to produce a decorative pattern or 'block'. This can be done either by hand or with a sewing machine.

Another important definition to know while learning how to quilt is of the term appliqué. Applique is the method of applying fabric shapes (called 'patches') by hand, onto a fabric background. Applique are grouped together to produce a decorative pattern 'block'. If you are using a sewing machine, appliqué, fabric shapes are usually cut into the desired shape without seam allowances. The shapes are then fused to the background with heat-activated fusible web. They are usually sewn on the quilt using a close zigzag stitch called a 'satin stitch'. This method is particularly suited to intricate 'pictorial' appliqué that attempts to reproduce a stylized or realistic story or picture.

Another method of machine appliqué involves drawing or tracing the shape onto the wrong side of the fabric. The patch is then placed facedown onto a lightweight lining and sewn around the marked seam line. It is then trimmed, turned right side out and sewn to the background using invisible thread and a machine blind hemstitch.

how to quilt

If you are just learning how to quilt and you want to learn how to make a quilt, there are plenty of sites on the Internet that can explain such products as heat-activated fusible web and, seam lines and various stitches used in quilting.

How to quilt QUICK TIP: A 'Block' is a single design unit comprised of small fabric pieces sewn together to produce a decorative pattern. Often, blocks are separated by alternating plain squares or by fabric strips. This is called sashing. Sashing is a term that those just learning how to quilt will run into often.

Here is where you should go to get comprehensive step by step lessons in how to quilt. You will find out everything you always wanted to know about how to make a quilt including instructions on how to cut shapes for piece work, hand piecing, machine piecing, creating appliques by hand, creating borders and sashing.

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