I have been quilting for years! There are some wonderful Facebook groups where I see some seriously amazing quilts made by some very talented people! I recently asked them for their best tips and tricks and I was astounded by the amount of amazing responses!! So I decided to compile them all here so you can hear all the great tips from real life quilters of all levels. Here are all of the things these quilters thought you should know!
Iron every seam. Ironing is the difference between handmade and homemade – Nancy
That pressing is as important as they say it is – at every single step, not just the end! And that unpicking is something you’re just going to have to get used to. – Naomi
Press the fabric, do not iron, this means press the iron straight down on fabric. Pick up iron and put down into the next spot, do not move the iron like ironing. Press your seams to one side to the darkest fabric. Know what pieces are going to be pieces together and make one go in one direction, and the other go the other direction. That will make the seams go together, and make the seams be even. Good luck to you. – Pauline
The scant quarter inch seam cannot be overemphasized. Master it. Starch (I like Mary Ellen’s Best Press) and/or steam press your fabric before cutting. I like to do it a couple of times, so my fabric is crisp, almost paper like. Your cuts will be better. Use a dry iron to press seams as you piece units together. No steam after the pieces are cut. Just press, do not iron back and forth. – Marta
Want more tips on pressing, check out THIS post.
I use this Cricut EasyPress 2 for my pressing. It is 6″ so it is a great size for pressing small blocks, and the square makes it super easy!
Take breaks, when you keep going you make mistakes. – Dottie
Relax! – Beth
Don’t expect perfection. Fix the mistakes you easily can, don’t sweat the small stuff. That’s what makes your project unique. Critics don’t deserve anything you put your heart and soul into. If it’s causing you stress, put it down and come back. Do stuff you enjoy doing. It’s ok to tell someone “no, I won’t do that for you”. I sew for fun and to do gifts for family and friends. I will not do “commissioned “ work because I can’t perform under that kind of pressure. Start easy and increase skill level as you are comfortable. I know my limitations. Have fun! – Doreen
There are no Sewing Police. They will not be coming to your door. Relax. Don’t be too hard on yourself. It all comes together with practice! – Sheila
Buying good quality fabric is an excellent investment. – Jennie
It’s expensive and that’s just the way it is. – Cheryl
Start simple, but buy the best sewing essentials you can afford to begin with, I bought cheap to begin most didn’t last or work correctly started to hate quilting, but my Mom showed me it wasn’t me. I invested in some better scissors, thread, pins, rotary cutters, and Wow I fell in love with quilting. Pick a small easy first project that can be finished quickly but just finish it. I suggest going to a quilting store and taking a few beginner classes. Start by buying fabric you love in collections not single yardage because I wasted money in single yardage if I didn’t have a project in mind, now it just doesn’t seem to fit in any of my projects. But most important is to have fun and enjoy the process, I try to never put myself on a time line. If things start going wrong take a break, quilting is a beautiful expression of who we are and what we can do, we need to be able to look at our accomplishments with pride and wonderful memories. Quilting is a legacy – Elizabeth
Put your old sewing needles back in the the case and put a black marker line thru it. Will save you when taking out the garbage. – Linda (Joyce uses an old medicine bottle to hold old needles.)
Patience. Read instructions. Listen to others. Buy quality products. Experiment. When you get frustrated- walk away – Nichole
If you are new to sewing/quilting check out this post with all my MUST HAVE sewing supplies.
Success doesn’t always come over night. Whether it’s sewing a garment or piecing a quilt it takes practice and lots of patience. We’ve all been there. – Cherie
Practice on scraps before cutting the good fabric for your project. – Lisa
There is more than one way to do something, I like steam! Some prewash, and some don’t. Do what works for you! – Pat
Patterns sometimes have mistakes or are confusing. If you don’t understand, get someone to help. – Judy
When sewing, open the pattern up and read all the instructions before doing anything else. I have found that I have had to research a term or skill that I did not know and practice that before feeling comfortable with it. – Karla
Spend time with quilting directions prior to getting into a project; every time I read the directions before I start, I catch something that makes me glad I read them again. I usually read through directions 3-4 times prior to starting, esp. if there is a big technique change for me. Be meticulous with your measuring, cutting and sewing and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Most quilt designers have email addresses and are eager for you to be happy with their pattern. Join a guild or quilting group, be active in the group. Start conversations in the quilt shop: What are you making? How will you use that fabric? Quilters are eager to share. And be prepared for total addiction. have fun. – Denise
Looking for a few quilt patterns? Find all my post and patterns HERE.
Measure and cut accurately. Double check your blocks for placement. I’m still working on that one. Lol! Be consistent on your seams. Take your time and enjoy. I make the most mistakes when I rush a project. – Doris
Accurate 1/4 inch seam, accurate cutting, squaring your blocks, ironing vs. Pressing, nesting seams, measure via ruler vs. mat, buy the best fabric you can afford, learn your machine…intimately… – Cynthia
Before you cut anything, talk to someone who has made many quilts. Press seams as you go. Do not make a whole block, or a whole quilt and then press. Trim. One of the things I did when I was first starting was that I would not trim anything. Every single shred of fabric was going to be in that quilt. I paid for it! I wasn’t throwing anything away! But over the years I learned to trim and things go much better. – Barbara
Learn to sew a consistent 1/4 inch seam. Square your blocks. – Mary
Just because you have a 1/4 Inch Presser Foot, do not assume your seam is 1/4 inch perfect. You may have to adjust needle placement to perfect your 1/4 inch seam. – Linda
Perfect 1/4 inch seams. Press, don’t iron. Square your blocks. Imperfection is perfection. It’s hand made afterall. Don’t stress. – Sandy
Use a scrap piece of fabric under the needle at beginning of a row of stitching helps keep the corner of the fabric from getting caught in the feed dogs. – Dawn
When doing points like the points on stars. Right sides together stick pin in point of top star put pin in point of star under that one push pin all the way straight ahead pin on either side then remove first pin. Your points are aligned and when you sew your 1/4″ the points will match. – Portia
Do you have a tip that isn’t in this post? Share with me in the comments and I will add your name and tip to the post! Happy quilting!