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).