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.
Since I am going to have another baby in a month and a half, I have to get some baby supplies together. Most of my old stuff is still perfectly good, but I need more burp cloths! I decided to sew myself a little stash of soft, absorbent burp cloths for the new baby. This turned out to be a quick and easy sewing project for a baby! Plus it is very cost effective considering the cost of burp cloths from a store.
I used the burp cloth tutorial from Dana Made It.
I used flannel fabric for the backing and chenille fabric for the absorbent layer of fabric. Of course the minor problems I ran into were related to the burp cloth fabrics. The flannel shrunk and the edges shredded when I pre-washed it more than I expected. The soft chenille stretched a lot when I was sewing it AND it made an unholy fluffly mess all over when I cut into it.
As a result the sizes of my burp cloths are a little inconsistent. In the end I decided that the burp cloths might not be perfect, but they are good enough to be puked on.
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).
I was pretty excited about my latest project: a simple but fantastic quilt! It would be soft and comfy, and sturdy enough to hold up to many years’ abuse. It would be first in a long line of increasingly advanced (and stunning) quilts. I bought my cotton quilting fabric and charged ahead with a downloadable pattern.
Instead of my perfect quilt, I now possess a quilt top so uneven that I don’t think it is at all salvageable. Here is a fun fact: if you continuously mess up the seam allowance, your quilt will turn into a trapezoid.
I am pretty stumped on how to fix this mess of a quilt. I might just throw it out. I have tried trimming it to square it up, but at this point my heart isn’t in the effort. I guess I will keep it and see if I develop the skills to somehow fix it later. I am not picking out the stitches.
Where it all went wrong
It all started off badly when I cut my fabric pieces the wrong size. I decided to string them together anyway, in the true spirit of quilting. Ultimately, my first quilt project failed because my seam allowances were inconsistent. Instead of always sewing the quilt pieces with a 1/4 inch seam allowance, my seam allowance got bigger over time. I needed to have a quilting foot to make sure that my seam allowance was always the same. I can’t really see the quarter inch mark on my sewing machine, so I marked it with a piece of tape. As it turns out this technique did not work for me. I did order a quarter inch foot for my sewing machine online, but it did not fit my machine. Soon I will be off to my local sewing machine store to get a foot that will definitely fit my machine.
Even though this quilt project was a complete disaster, I am excited to try again. Yes I wasted some fabric and money, but that happens with any hobby, right? I still have most of my uncut fabric for my sashing, boarder, and backing. Maybe I will have better luck next time.
It’s funny that now that I sort of know how to sew I feel a big obligation to make presents for people. I already promised to make one of my friends an apron, and I would like to make something for my boyfriend’s mother. This got me to thinking about all the other people I could make aprons for, and my stress levels started to rise. If I make an apron for one person, shouldn’t I make one for everyone? But, I realistically do not have the time. It takes me at least a week to do the simplest projects.
Luckily, my local fabric store had a 60% off fleece sale, and I went in to buy some fleece for a fleece jacket I am eventually going to make. Remembering that my pajama pants pattern (Simplicity It’s So Easy 2040) also includes a blanket pattern, I came up with a new plan: blankets for nearly everybody!
It’s an easy and relatively inexpensive way to show I care, and everyone can always use another blanket.
As written, the blanket is more of a throw or lap blanket. I added a yard on for the men’s blankets to take care of their extra height.
Making the blankets is easy, if a little time-consuming.
You just cut in 4 inches at one inch intervals around the blanket, and knot the resulting fringe at its base. The corners are a little tricky- you cut off the three fringes closest to the corner, so the blanket is rectangular and has one fringe at the corner. I can’t really describe the technique well, but is easy to do if you are careful and think about what you are doing.
This is one project where linear designs make things much easier. I was able to use the design of this blanket to make sure I was cutting evenly, and to make sure that the blanket was rectangular (instead of a parallelogram) before I started making the fringe .
Yay! I would like to have my blankets done by Thanksgiving, so I will have time to get a few sewing projects done for people in time for Christmas.