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Quilting Basics: A Five-Part Series for Beginners

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Little pieces of fabric sewn together. That's truly quilting at its most basic, but its just as crazy as describing cooking as: tasty bits of food mixed together. The creativity (and the love) is in the who, what, when, where, and why of how it all happens. Our Quilting Basics series is designed to help beginning quilters get rollin'. We explain the fundamentals of quilting, including the various tools you’ll need (and may already have), cutting techniques, how to create quilt blocks from basic shapes, piecing tips and techniques, and actual quilt stitching. One disclaimer: enter at your own risk; quilting can be addictive

Quilting is a huge and varied hobby, and a very personal process. We certainly don't consider ourselves to be top industry experts. But, we are good at showing those new to a craft how to get started in a way that will produce the best results with the least frustration. 

We have five tutorials covering the basics of quilting. You can use the handy links below to click through to each. At the end is a list of some suggested Sew4Home beginning quilting projects to put your newfound skills into action. You can find even more ideas within the first Quilt Basics Tutorial as well as within our Project Index

Part 1 of 5: Quilt Basics - Tools, Notions & Other Stuff You Need 

You'll get an overview of quilting history as well as current trends, plus learn about the various tools, fabric, and notions available to make quilting faster, easier, and more precise.

Part 2 of 5: Quilt Basics - Rotary Cutting & Trimming

Since quilts start out as lots o' little pieces, it makes sense the first thing you should learn about in quilting is how to cut. This article describes the tools as well as the techniques.

Part 3 of 5: Quilt Basics - Quilt Blocks from Squares, Rectangles & Triangles 

Now that you've learned to cut all those squares, rectangles, and triangles; we'll show you how to create some of the most popular basic quilt block patterns. Plus, you learn how to start designing custom blocks of your own.

Part 4A of 5: Quilt Basics - Piecing Quilt Blocks by Machine

Sewing patchwork pieces into blocks, then assembling those blocks into a quilt requires the precise execution of specific techniques. It's similar to putting together a puzzle; each piece has to fit perfectly in order for the larger picture to come into view. 

Part 4B of 5: Quilt Basics - Piecing Quilt Blocks by Machine

This continues the 4A tutorial and includes several of the most popular quick-piecing methods: chain piecing, strip piecing, and half square triangles 

Quilt Basics - Quilting The Quilt - Part 5 of 5

In this tutorial, we provide instructions on basic quilting techniques that can be used on any type of quilt (or any other quilted item, like a pillow or bag). These are the basics – the options beyond are endless!

If you'd like to practice your new skills, below are a few of the many quilting projects we've done here on Sew4Home. We selected ten beginner level options.

  1. Little Presents EZ Baby Quilt with Matching Bib
  2. Nature's Palette Patchwork Bed Topper
  3. Storybook Twin Size Tied Patchwork Quilt
  4. Kissing Booth Cuddly Lap Blanket with Fleece Backing
  5. Beautiful Baby Quilt in Maman & Nursery Basics from Cloud9 Organic
  6. Piped Pillow with Diamonds 'n' Tufting
  7. Xtra EZ Nine-Patch Pillow
  8. Jelly Roll and Honey Bun Strip Pillow
  9. Patchwork Placemats
  10. Layer Cake Dresser Cloth with Button Accents

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Comments (4)

Jenna Burke said:
Jenna Burke's picture

What kind of quilt block is the flower graphic on all of the Quilt Basics photo links? I really like this pattern, and would like to see how that is done. 

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ Jenna - as you noted, that is just a drawing - not a block we've actually used in a project. However, it is simply a modified star block. There are dozens and dozens of star block options. A quick search on the internet will give you lots from which to choose. In the meantime, we'll add your request to our You Asked 4 It list. 

DebS said:
DebS's picture

I've only ever made quilted pillows and placemats - I haven't felt confident enough to make anything larger. I have a feeling that by the time part 5 is posted I will be tempted to start a larger project. Love all the tutorials!

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ DebS - all five articles are live now - so you can start learning right away!