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How To Make A Quilt By Hand

If there’s handiwork that’s worth spending hundreds of hours completing, quilting is never out of the list. Sure, it is time-consuming and might even blow your patience away. But a determined quilter deeply knows how rewarding this endeavor is.

You’re not only given a chance to show off your unique craft. You get to have those gorgeous pieces on the wall. Design your own blanket to curl up beneath a frosty night. Moreover, make an heirloom quality quilt to pass down for generations. Sounds tempting enough? Don’t worry, quilting is beginner-friendly.

Learn the exquisite art of hand quilting. Here’s a step by step guide to starting your journey!

How To Make A Quilt By Hand?

Start by cutting the thread and then tying a small knot towards the end. Be sure to keep the stitches short – around six stitches every inch. It is the most crucial part of quilting by hand. Lastly, load the stitches so that you won’t pull the thread throughout. These are just some pointers, though. Below is a detailed guide.

What Do I Need For Hand Quilting?

Before your excitement pulls you up, prepare all the tools and materials you will need. Fortunately, you don’t need plenty of supplies to start making a quilt. Some of them are nearly available in your room.

Below are the essential tools:

  • Thread
  • Backing fabric
  • Binding fabric and batting
  • Regular scissors
  • Ruler
  • Rotary cutter
  • Safety and straight pins
  • Iron
  • Seam ripper

Hand sewing also requires the use of a thimble. It allows a comfortable needle grip using your thumb and fingers. It also offers a driving force on your middle finger.

Not sure how much fabric you need to buy for making a simple block? Try to find the block’s dimension first. Then, decide the number of blocks you will need to create the size of the quilt. If this process is still tricky, you can ask for some help from an experienced quilter. There’s also an online quilt fabric calculator you can rely on.

Step By Step Guide To Do Hand Quilting

Machines may be a dependable option for doing fast and excellent sewing jobs. However, sewing a quilt by hand is still mostly desirable. It offers a soft finish that no high-end machines can achieve. It emphasizes the value of your handmade quilt.

Of course, you have to practice specific skills. You additionally need to get familiar with each equipment and tool. If you’re looking for a new hobby, this one can satisfy your interest. So, here we go!

Step 1: Pick a Quilt Pattern

In the world of quilting, you are not limited to what you can design. Creativity is the battle of the game. A simple pattern is ideal if this is your first time to make a quilt. Go for a basic block pattern, such as half-square triangles.

Baby quilts are usually suggested for first-timers since they are smaller. Otherwise, purchase a pre-cut square stack. It’d be so easy pulling them out of the packet and sewing them together.

Step 2: Prewash and Iron the Fabric

While this is optional, most seasoned quilters recommend pre washing the fabric. It does two crucial things: cleanse excess dye and shrinks the fabric. Practice care when washing the material, though. You don’t want to ruin the momentum of making a quilt. But generally, higher quality fabrics won’t let you deal with this issue.

Combine similar colors when washing fabrics. Machine wash using warm water. Use less amount of detergent. Allow to machine dry on a medium heat setting. Next, use the steam setting of your iron to dry it and remove creases altogether. It will make the cutting of the fabric much smoother.

Step 3: Measure and Cut the Quilt Blocks or Patchwork

Work towards the back to measure the size of each square. Use an acrylic ruler. Consider having a seam allowance – adding 1/4 inch for every side. For example, cut the squares to 3 ½” by 3 ½” when making 3” by 3” squares. Be sure to be very accurate with cutting each piece. Use a good quality rotary cutter.

Step 4: Piece Them Together

Now for the most fun part. It’s where you see your hard work is starting to pay off. For this, lay out your quilt as per your desired finished output. Move pieces from pieces. Now, switch prints in various places. It’s completely up to you.

When you are pleased with the overall design, it’s time to pick the patches in a string. Work from left to right, or inversely. Again, whichever sounds comfortable to you.  ­

Step 5:  Stitch the Patchwork Into Rows

It’s important to stitch a seamlessly straight layer. Doing so will avoid uneven seams or wrinkled-finish design. Sew individual rows altogether. Also, make sure to be accurate in the ¼ inch seam.

After completing all the long rows, press the layers so they will rest flat. Flip on the wrong side up to make the unfinished side upward. Iron flat the seams while moving between directions. Iron the seams underside to the right side in the first row. Then, iron flat to the left side on the second row. And so forth.

Step 6: Sew Your Quilt Together

Don’t forget to use a precise, consistent 1/4 inch seam. Take the first and second rows, then turn them inward. Sew with a straight stitch. Just repeat the process until all the rows are perfectly lined up and sewn together.

Step 7: Baste and Stitch the Quilt

For quilt basting, you will need quilt backing fabric and quilt batting. Cut the backing at least five inches wider per side than the quilt top. Batting is the middle of the quilt. Make it also one or two inches wider than the top layer.

There are two methods for basting – pinning and spraying. As for stitching, either go for a meek, rowed pattern or straight line. If not, get as fancy as you want.

Step 8: Binding

Start with a quality fabric that can withstand years of use. Sew an excess piece of fabric to the exterior of your quilt. Fold in half, bring the binding to the other side, and hand stitch. You have several binding options. Let your creative side decide how to finish your product.

Hand Quilting Tips

  • When making a quilt, level the needle size to the thickness of your thread. Thicker thread requires a bigger needle. While for small quilt stitches, a finer weight thread will do. A tiny needle is always preferable in this case. It removes the tension when embroidering and allows smooth stitches at a time.
  • Choose a color thread that’s no lighter than your lightest fabric.
  • Mark the pattern when hand sewing a quilt. You can use the traditional pencil or marking pen or go for the convenient use of tape.
  • Choose a fragrance-free, dye-free liquid detergent to wash the fabric.
  • Do not wash your new creation more than necessary. At least hang it outside for a few hours. It will promote a longer lifespan.
  • Natural fabrics require enough air to breathe, and thus putting it in plastic is never a good idea. Use a pillowcase instead.
  • Sandwich a tissue paper between the folds to prevent permanent wrinkles.

How Long Will It Take to Make a Quilt by Hand?

It depends on various factors. Some can rustle up a quilt earlier. Others can use up several weeks or months before relishing the fruit of their labor. Size is generally a huge consideration. But to give you an idea:

  • Baby quilt – twelve hours
  • Twin-sized quilt – two weeks or less
  • Queen-sized quilt – eight weeks or more
  • King size quilt – up to one year

What Is the Best Fabric for Quilting?

You should only use 100% cotton fabric. A home decor weight (cotton) fabric is one of the most popular options. Its heftier weight prevents potential swathing, plus it boasts a nice-looking satin finish.  Besides, quilter’s weight cotton is another good-quality alternative. It tends to shrink less compared to low-priced cotton varieties. You may also love quilter’s linen or the lightweight cotton voile.

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