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I took the first cuts of my very first quilt yesterday. I was scared to death wishing I had someone to stand over me and give me advice. Anyone ever have that experience? I have never taken a quilting class and am trying to do this myself by reading instruction books. Does anyone have any advise? I can sure use it. I plan on hitting the sewing room in a few hours. Any help would be greatly appreciated. (No one in my family has ever done quilting)


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Comment by Anita Fuehrer on January 4, 2012 at 2:30pm

How I remember my first quilt. I found it in a Woman's Day, I believe, and the instructions were to tear a strip off to get on-grain, and then tear every 4". The colors weren't half bad, and my son still has it. I got it finished and by tying... I still tie quilts if I want a utilitarian quilt that will get a lot of use.

So, don't be afraid. Never worry that you have done something 'wrong.' You can almost always fix a mistake. If you make one, and have no one to ask how to fix it, take it to the quilt shop where you bought the fabric. They probably are all quilters and can help. Even after 30 years of quilting, I still ask at my favorite shop. I don't mean JoAnn's... I mean a fabric shop that sells fabric from brand name fabric makers.

Oh, and always buy the best fabric you can afford. It makes for a much better quilt!


Comment by Jamie Thiessen/MN on January 3, 2012 at 8:02pm

Don't be in a hurry; don't be afraid to make mistakes (we've all been there - done that) and I always like to my a prototype block out of scrap fabric so I can get comfortable with the block.  You can always turn it into a pot holder later.  Good luck. 


Comment by Shannon/UT on January 3, 2012 at 12:02pm

Way to go!  Just remember, they always turn out better than you think the quilt will.  I grew up with antique and hand quilting.  I love that the antique quilts often have a "Humility Block"--and most of my quilts have a block with an error in it (by accident--not choice).  A humility block is a block with an error in it.  Historically quilters made them in honor of our earth's Creator--because that is the only thing perfect.  Just keep  on being brave and your skills will grow with leaps and bounds. 


Tip: Always press toward the dark colored fabrics and when sewing triangle (flying-geese type units), place that fabric on top of the straight bottom piece.  This way bias edges do not get pulled to stretching by your sewing machine's feed dogs.  Also, it makes it possible to view where the previous seam lines were sewn and if you sew the next seam right into the point visible, there will be no blunted points on your quilt and all will align nicely.

Comment by Joan on January 3, 2012 at 8:11am

Totally understand where you're coming from.  One of my first experiences was a class with a teacher who demanded I start cutting all my fabric immediately.  I didn't know what was going on, just that all these beautiful batik fabrics(Did I mention expensive?) were getting whacked up in all sorts of sizes with a terrible amount of waste.  I wasn't in control and didn't know how this was all going to work out.  This was not a good start for me.  Very scary feeling.  I'm not a very trusting soul so I always make a trial block to test a new pattern before I ever just start whacking everything up.  I even sew together block pieces cut from paper to try out the block(have a special machine needle I use for paper).  Another idea is to have a collection of fabrics that are inexpensive, pleasing but not to die for, that you won't feel bad about messing up and throwing out, and make a trial block from these every time you start a project.  Over time you'll gain a sampler of quilt blocks you can put together as a unique quilt.  And one more thing, the ultimate quilters secret, STARCH!  Until you learn about the pitfalls of bias edges and how to avoid them or ways to fudge and make them behave, starching the heck out your fabric helps tremendously with achieving accurate piecing.  Lots of good advise and encouragement with the ladies on this website, you're in good hands here! 

Comment by Gayle/La. on January 2, 2012 at 7:34pm

It is easy to watch a tutorial on youtube and follow along with whatever they do.  I have learned several things by watching youtube.  I love Jenny Doan from Missouri Star Quilt Co. also.

Comment by Mary Britton on January 2, 2012 at 4:54pm

Watch Eleanor Burns shows either on her website "Quilt In a Day" or on RFD tv.  She gives great tips on cutting and stitching, chain piecing, etc.  Most of her quilts can be done by a beginner.  I am a self-taught quilter too - no quilt shops or teachers close.  It can be done "by the book"! 

Comment by Bonnie on January 2, 2012 at 3:42pm

remember it does not need to be perfect!

Comment by Jan Blixt on January 2, 2012 at 2:51pm

Welcome to the world of quilting. Once you start it gets in your blood and you're hooked. I too started out as a self taught quilter but have since found that there are a lot of places to connect with other quilters for advise and encouragement along the way. My advise is to take your time with the cutting and piecing, have a good seam ripper handy, a quarter inch foot on the machine and some good tunes in the background, then enjoy the journey. M&M's are also helpful.  Good luck with your quilt.

Comment by Sharon Reeves on January 2, 2012 at 2:21pm

You are braver than I was when I started quilting 5 years ago. I self taught myself to quilt, also, and didn't have any book, except, Quilting for Dummies. That book was great. My 1st quilt was a 9 patch quilt made from 4" sq's, that I bought on E-Bay. I called a couple of quilting friends to help me know what to do. I put blue shashings in between the blocks and 2 wide borders to make it a queen size for our motorhome. I stitched in the ditch, because I didn't want to try anything else.It is my favorite quilt. There are so many fabulous, talented quilters on here. They are inspirations and can really answer any questions that you may have.  Now, if I could do it, I know that you can to. Happy Quilting.

Comment by Carol Ann Hinton on January 2, 2012 at 1:26pm

Congratulations on starting your first quilt!  When you quilt, you get to associate with QUILTERS, and they are the friendliest and most helpful people you will ever meet.  Before you start, be sure you are on good terms with your sewing machine!  Keep it cleaned and tuned up so all you have to think about is the quilt.  Start with simple patterns and get the quarter inch seam down pat.  Press your fabric, press your seams and measure each unit as you sew it.  It will all go together right if each unit is accurate.  If you have a question, ask us -- experienced quilters all love to give advice.

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