I finally finished another quilting project using Little House on the Prairie fabric & quilt kit! I decided to complete Craftsy’s Learn How to Quilt class series with Amy Gibson’s Colorful Bed Quilt. This quilting class teaches you how to quilt a large (queen size) quilt with triangles and hexagons. The pieces are quite large so cutting them out and piecing them is a fairly quick process, and you can complete this class quite quickly. To keep with the simplicity of the quilt, I decided to stitch in the ditch for my quilting process. A double binding adds visual interest to the boarder.
I made this quilt for my mom, so I chose somewhat traditional floral fabric. I also chose non-directional fabric so I could complete the cutting and piecing quickly without worrying too much about placement accuracy.
Hexagon quilts are a classic design but because they feature clean, simple lines they can look quite modern. Crafty has good resources on learning to make a hexagon quilt.
I am very happy with my huge queen size quilt! The craftsy class was good, but perhaps a tiny bit rushed in spots. I think I feel ready to tackle a quilting pattern on my own now.
It has been a loooong time, but I recently finished my latest quilting project! I made another one of Amy Gibson’s quilt patterns in the Learn to Quilt Series on Craftsy, the Cozy Throw Quilt. I couldn’t be more happy with the online video class or with my finished throw quilt.
This Craftsy class teaches you how to strip quilt. Strip quilting allows you to build you quilt blocks in a quick and efficient way. Although the individual blocks themselves look complicated to make but because they are actually cut from strips of fabric sewn together, the process is easier and faster than you might guess. It took me a long time to finish this throw quilt, but only because various family emergencies and baby sleep regressions made this easy quilt pattern into a rather drawn out process. It was hard to find a block of time to actually sew, and whenever I tried to, someone wandered over to unplug my sewing machine or push all the buttons on my sewing machine.
Amy Gibson gives very clear instructions and is a very good teacher. She teaches you how to accurately measure and cut strips of fabric for strip quilting. Then she teaches you how to make quilt blocks from those strips. My quilt is far from perfect but I love it.
Craftsy offers a pre made quilting kit for this class. It is a beautiful set of bright, feminine quilting cotton solids. I chose to make my own mix of muted colors in kona cotton quilting solids from fabric.com. If you don’t want to cut fabric strips then you can buy pre-cut jelly roll quilting fabric.
Now that my baby is a year old, he is starting to sleep through the night. Sometimes when he doesn’t wake up in the middle of the night, I have been able to wake up early. This change has given me the opportunity to start sewing again.
For my return to sewing, I wanted a simple but useful project. I felt like I barely remembered how to thread my machine! The first class in the Craftsy Learn to Quilt series was a perfect fit for me. This “charming baby quilt” online sewing class featured a simple baby receiving blanket quilt using square charm packs of fabric. No risky measuring and cutting for those unsure of their sewing skills! The quilt is even self bound, so there is no need to worry about binding the quilt.
I loved this quick and easy quilting project. The instructor, Amy Gibson, did a great job of answering all the basic and common sense questions I had while sewing. The instructions were clear and perfectly detailed. This class was a great foundation for moving on to any other sewing projects.
I used Cool L’s Modern Basics by Lecien for my fabrics. I wish I would have realized that Craftsy has a super cute baby quilt kit that coordinates with this class. It would have taken all the guess work and waste out of buying my own fabric.
I liked this class so much that I have already signed up for the next class in the series: Learn to Quilt: Custom Table Runner.
Let’s face it, one of the negative aspects of sewing as a hobby is the ironing. I hate ironing. Especially ironing entire yards of fabric on a tiny postage stamp-like ironing board. Its hard to get started on a project knowing that I will have to spend an hour moving and repositioning fabric on the ironing board before I can start to actually sew anything.
Recently my ironing board broke and I had to throw it out. Instead of just buying a new one I decided to make a large ironing mat. I also decided to fully commit and make a huge one. I followed the ironing mat tutorial on Little Birdie Secrets.
The ironing mat has four layers:
- Therma-Flec Fabric: The silver (sometimes tan) surface that you actually iron on. AKA ironing board fabric.
- Insul-Bright Needlepunched Insulated Lining – 36″ x 45″
: Heat resistant material that reflects heat back so the iron can do its thing.
- 100% Cotton Batting:Cotton to protect what ever you choose to lay your ironing mat on top of (i.e., the table, floor, or bed).
- Backing fabric: Hopefully cute fabric to hold it all together. Sometimes 100% cotton home decorating fabric is recommended for extra heat protection.
The four layers are quilted together and bound at the edges (I used double fold bias tape). I also added ribbon at the edges so the ironing mat can be rolled up and tied to stay shut for storage.
You are not supposed to pin the Therma-Flec to the Insul-Bright or or other layers because the pins will damage the ironing material. Use basting spray to hold it in place for the quilting. I used Basting Spray for the first time, and I have been converted to a believer. Basting spray is the way to go for any quilting project.
The #1 thing I would do differently is sew on the Therma-Flec/ silver Ironing Board fabric last. Each time I attached a fabric layer to the therma-flec, it bubbled up and is no longer flat. Of course you want a flat surface for ironing on, so ugh. I think it will still work just fine but this is kind of disappointing.
I will say that sewing on the binding through so many layers of thick fabric was very difficult! There were a lot of broken needles and broken thread! Is this what quilting machines are for?
Now there is nothing stopping me from starting a new sewing or quilting project, except the tedious process of ironing itself.
Easiest Quilting Pattern for a Beginner
Although my first quilting project was a disaster, I still wanted to try to make a simple and easy quilt. After all, I had all the necessary materials at hand: somewhat coordinating fabrics for the quilt front and backing, and some cheap polyester batting for the inside of the quilt. I decided to make a fairly small baby quilt to make things easier.
For this quilt, I decided to make the simplest quilt possible: a 2 color quilt in a checkered pattern. I needed the easiest quilt pattern available. It seemed like 99.9% of all quilting patterns, even ones for beginners, were too complicated for me. Through simple logic I devised my alternating squares (checked) quilting pattern.
I cut out squares that were 4.5 inches by 4.5 inches. Using a quarter inch seam allowance would make the finished squares on the quilt 4″ x 4″.
What absolutely made all the difference between my first failed quilt and this quilt is accurate measurements! I made a template for my squares, and then double checked the cut out fabric on my self healing rotary cutting mat with a clear ruler. Any extra fabric was trimmed off, and several squares that were not accurately cut were tossed out. I then used a quarter inch foot to keep my seam allowances consistent.
I sewed that squares together in strips, then sewed the strips together. I decided to make the quilt a little bigger than I had originally planned, so I just made more strips and added them on. This seemed to work fine.
To get the strips aligned as accurately as possible, I sometimes basted the strips together so I could check how the squares were matching up before sewing them together permanently. The alignment of my squares is by no means perfect, but it is passable by my standards.
Pinning the quilt front to the batting and backing was a long and drawn out process. Every time I would get one side laid out flat and pinned down, I would check the other side only to see that it was horribly puckered and wrinkled. Only through constant smoothing and repining did I get both sides satisfactorily flat. There has to be some trick I am missing!
Next time I will definitely try to spray baste the quilt layers! This technique looks so much easier. I wish there weren’t nasty fumes though!
The actual quilting process of sewing the three layers together required a quilting needle (for sewing through the three thick layers) and a walking foot sewing machine attachment. I also had to adjust the tension on my sewing machine for thicker fabrics. Without doing this, I had several long lines of stitches that had to be torn out because the bobbin thread did not end up looking like stitches, but rather was a string of knots that was not properly attached to the quilt
To finish my quilt edges I followed a quilt binding tutorial. This quilting tutorial includes instructions for clean mitered corners. My quilt edges are a little uneven, but I don’t care: my quilt is still awesome. Next time I need to be more careful with the 1/4 inch seam allowance.
I found this Simple quilt tutorial which I may use for my next quilt. I think that if you decide to use fat quarters you should probably NOT wash your fabric before sewing your quilt. Prewashing shrinkage is what derailed my plans for my first quilt (in addition to stupid human error).