Quilts give your bed a fantastic look! Trying to make them the first time, however, can be somewhat overwhelming. Where do you begin? How do you achieve that much detail in one sewing project? Even more, what do you need? Well, how about you take up a simple task and have a beginning point. I promise it’s going to be entirely worth it in the end. The best part, it will get easier and much quicker with time.
A quilt is made up of quilt blocks, which are in turn made up of quilt squares. Each block comprises nine squares that have been cut from different fabrics. Contrasting fabrics certainly give a better look. Measure four by four inches of each and sew them together, leaving 0.25 inches seam allowance on each edge. Suppose you don’t have a sewing machine, no need to worry. You can hand sew your quilt.
How to Sew Quilt Squares Together by Hand?
There are several procedures you can use to sew a quilt. The most preferred is the nine-square method, where you combine nine squares to form a quilt block. It provides freedom of design, and you can create various designs with the technique. It depends on the placement and colors. You can use different kinds of fabrics to make the block, and you can also use color patterns of your choice.
Preparing to Assemble the Quilt Squares
1. Selecting the Fabric
For quilts, the best material is cotton and 100% cotton, for that matter. However, there’s no harm in doing a scrap quilt. For this, you’ll get materials from any cloth remnants you have. The material doesn’t matter. It will still come out great.
If your intended pattern will use two colors or more, or even fabrics, calculate how much of each material you’ll need before purchasing.
One yard of fabric will produce 90 squares, each measuring four by four inches.
2. Cutting Squares
Cutting squares needs to be precise. If your material is wrinkled up, iron it before cutting to ensure more accurate lengths in the square pieces. You could cut your fragments by using:
A Rotary Cutter:
A rotary cutter makes the cutting process relatively easy, and if your blade is new, you can comfortably make it through four layers at the same time.
Besides the rotary cutter, have a cutting mat and a clear ruler to help you in measuring.
An easy way to do this is to cut a four-inch-long strip and then cut that into four-inch squares. Ensure to straighten the left edge while cutting the ribbon. You can remove the rough tops and bottoms while cutting the squares.
A Pair of Scissors:
You may not have a rotary cutter, but you can have scissors readily. Draw a square grid on the wrong side of the fabric with the squares’ measurement taken into account. Take your scissors and cut the fabric as you follow the grid faithfully until you have your squares. You could also use pinking shears or dressmaker’s shears.
Count and stack the number of squares you’ll need and move to the next fabric. A quilt block only requires a minimum of four exams.
3. Patterns and Color Combinations
Following the nine-square method, if you make your quilt with two colors, every quilt block has 4 of the same color and 5 of another.
To bring contrast, you may go for;
- Two contrasting solid colors like blue and orange
- One solid color and one patterned piece
- One patterned piece and one solid color that matches one color in the pattern
- Two distinct patterned pieces like stripes and dots
Getting an Even Seam Allowance
When sewing quilt squares together, you need to leave a seam allowance while cutting the material.
Since you are using four by four-inch squares, leave a seam allowance of a quarter an inch on each side. Your squares will hence measure 3.5 by 3.5 inches on the quilt.
Several tools exist significantly to help you ensure that your seam allowance maintains at the same length. These include a quilting foot, a magnetic sewing guide, and masking tape. Yes, masking tape. It makes the easiest and cheapest alternative.
While sewing by hand, however, It’s much more comfortable. Make clear pencil markings on the intended seam edge and make sure you follow them as you stitch. Small stitches will go a long way in helping you do this.
Steps to Sew Quilt Squares Together by Hand
- Needle – Use the smallest needle that you are comfortable with operating. Big ones might pose a problem in pulling them through the fabric.
- Thread – Use quilt thread as it is thicker and hence more potent than regular thread. When using a thinner thread, double up the thread to prevent easy breakage. Try to use the color of the thread that matches the color of your fabric. If you are using different colors, you may want to keep changing the thread for a much neater finish. Another option is using a neutral shade of thread, for example, black or white.
If you are a beginner, maintain your stitch below 18 inches to avoid tangling the thread while sewing the quilt.
Sewing by hand is a very peaceful and relaxing way to spend your time. Below are the steps to combining your squares into quilt blocks
Step 1: Lay your cut squares in the pattern you’d want to have on your quilt. It prevents the error of sewing the wrong squares together.
Step 2: Pin the squares together.
Step 3: Tie a knot on your thread and begin stitching a quarter and inch from the edge. Throughout the process, you will sew at the same distance away from the edge. Make small stitches to improve the strength of the binding and to give a neat finish. If you are a beginner, however, a longer stitch is better. As you get the hang of it, you can vary your length depending on your project. To create the quilt block, sew the squares into rows, then sew the rows together.
Step 4: Make a backstitch after pulling the needle through to aid in tightening your stitches and make a secure seam.
Step 5: At the end of a square piece, make several backstitches to secure the thread and then change the thread if need be. You could do this either by cutting and threading another or knotting and going on.
Step 6: Once you complete making the rows, press the seams open with your fingers.
Step 7: Stitch the rows together in the same way, ensuring that the seams lay flat and that they line up. Pencil markings will help you with this. Mark half the pieces as you will be sewing through double layers of fabric.
When you have stitched all the squares together, give it one last pressing. Heat the iron to the correct temperature for the material and press on the joints. It is where the squares meet.
Why Are My Quilt Blocks Not Square?
While cutting up the squares, if you are not keen to cut the correct size of squares or in the right direction, then the block will not be square. You may want to mark the edges on the fabric before cutting and confirm that they make perfect squares before proceeding. The quilt block echoes whatever shape the squares make when brought together.
What Do Quilt Squares Symbolize?
Quilts are more often used to tell stories for a very long time. The different patterns, pictures, and colors in the squares that make up a quilt are pieces of history that have been documented in fabric. Families use them to tell their future generations of their struggles and their pride, to preserve history. These may include war, poverty, or victory in different spheres of life.