Monday, March 26, 2012

Finishing your quilt ~ lots of links

Wow, I can never believe how far you guys come in 8 weeks. From not knowing how to thread a sewing machine or which colours go together, to having the skills you need to finish a quilt. In eight weeks, that’s pretty awesome. Very well done to all of you and I hope that this is just the beginning of your creative journey with fabric.

Patchwork and quilting is probably a lot more technical than many of you had hoped. There’s a new language to learn (reverting to inches!!), lots of tools to buy and tricky techniques to learn. You don’t need to remember every lesson in each of your quilts. You could decide to only make machine pieced quilts or that applique is now your passion. I hope that by showing you all the possibilities you can go forward confidently and at least know where to start next time you want to make something or tackle a pattern.

I am wary that there was a lot of information in last night’s class. Someone mentioned we actually need two lessons on finishing your quilt but then which other lesson would I cut out? I think that with last night’s tips, the notes I gave you and a few well documented online tutorials you should be ok but if you’re not, please feel free to contact me.

Hope to keep in touch via our mailing list and can’t wait to see all your finished quilts. I’d love to post photos of them here on my blog so send me the piccies.

Here’s one that was put together last night. Using the nine patchwork blocks, 3” sashings and corner stones this is now a 40” quilt top. By adding 5” borders that brings it up to 50”, or you could add more if you want a bigger quilt.

student quilt

Only we quilters know how much effort and time goes into making these precious first quilts so give yourselves a big pat on the back ~ What a fantastic job!

Here are the links I mentioned that I believe will be helpful as you finish your quilts:

Great binding tutorial with step by step photos on how to achieve neat mitred corners and smooth joins. 

Want to give hand quilting a go? This tutorial has lots of photos as well as explaining the tools and materials to use : 

Quilt too big to fit under your domestic machine? Quilt as you go is an option: 

There are lots more links here from preparing your quilt top for quilting to how to label your quilt: 

Good luck and stay in touch xx Lorena

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Bigger layout options for your sampler quilt

So you want a bigger quilt? I usually don’t recommend that beginners work on very large quilts as they are difficult to quilt on a domestic sewing machine. It’s probably better to make a small project first, to understand what’s involved and to learn all the techniques. Having said that my first quilt was 88” (224cm) so I understand the compulsion to make your first quilt for your own bed!

Every quilt after that was smaller until I found I could get my large quilts machine quilted by a professional. This is always a possibility for special quilts, when you’re in a hurry or if you just don’t like quilting a large quilt. Machine quilting can be expensive however, a quilt 80” x 80” can cost upwards of $180 to have professionally quilted.The cost depends on not only how big the quilt is but also on the style and density of quilting. The most economical is edge to edge quilting where a pattern is repeated across the quilt.

You can contact the NSW Quilter’s Guild for a list of machine quilters or search the internet for machine quilters in your area. You could also check out this Directory of Machine Quilters.

So you still want to make a bigger quilt, here are your options:

1) Make lots more pieced blocks! For a quilt that finishes at 82” you will need 25 pieced 12” blocks. With sashings cut at 3.5” and a border cut 5.5” wide you will get a quilt that looks like this


Lou made one like this but didn’t have enough of the border fabric for a continuous piece. Her solution was to piece the border strips.This a great option if you only have a small piece left and your fabric has a big pattern that makes matching seams difficult.

Louise Quilt

2) Alternate your pieced blocks with some plain fabric blocks to stretch it out.


Leslie did this with the quilt for her nephew using a vintage toy themed fabric:

Leslie's quilt

thanks to Amy for this photo!!/2011/11/yesterday-i-popped-up-to-north-side-of.html 

3) Alternate your pieced blocks with simple pieced blocks that you can whip up quickly. You can find cutting and piecing diagrams to some simple 12” star patterns in the blog post by Piecemeal Quilts.


I used a Variable Star block alternated with pieced and applique blocks in this single bed quilt to give it some uniformity and make it a little bigger.

Fia's Single bed quilt

Next we’ll talk about wadding and backings and how to put the quilt sandwich together.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Quilt Layout and Cutting Diagrams

Here we are approaching Week 8 of our Patchwork and Quilting Course. By now you have determined the size of your finished quilt and need to know how much fabric you’ll need for the backing, sashing, corner stones and border.

You have various options for making some more quick blocks to make your quilt bigger. You can mix in some simple four patch or star blocks or even a plain block.

Sashings and borders can always be made wider too! Make sure to adjust your measurements before you cut your backing when you do this.

I’ve mocked up some sample quilts with the cutting instructions for these previously.

Baby (Cot) Quilt

Using six 12” blocks for a finished size of 37 1/2” x 52”

Square Lap Quilt

Using sixteen 12” blocks for a finished size of 67” x 67”

On Point Lap Quilt (9 pieced blocks)

Using nine 12” blocks for a finished size of 66” (just noticed there’s a mistake on that diagram. It says you need 12 pieced blocks. Please ignore this!)

Here is a new diagram for the Twin (Single) Size that some of you were interested in.This is a generous width but making it with only three 12” blocks across looks odd!


Twin Size Quilt

Finished Quilt measures

62” x 76”

20 x 12” blocks

Cutting chart

Sashing strips (red strips)

Cut 31 12.5” x 2 ½”

Cornerstones (yellow squares)

Cut 12 2 ½” x 2 ½” squares

Border Strips (blue strips)

Cut 2 4 ½” x” 68 ½”

Cut 2 4 ½” x 54 ½”

Border Corner Blocks (green squares)

Cut 4 4 ½” x 4 ½”

Backing fabric

3.4 m x 110 cm width fabric.

Choose a fabric with a busy pattern, nothing too light or it will get dirty and need lots of washing!

If you select a fabric with a directional print or large pattern you may need to purchase extra to allow you to match the pattern. Alternatively insert a pieced strip between your backing fabrics to break it up.

To piece your backing fabric: Cut length in half, cut away the selvedge and sew pieces together horizontally like this


(Allows some extra on width and length for slippage and shrinkage)

** Always measure your own finished quilt before cutting the backing!


1/2 m cut into 7 x 2 ½” strips, sewn together end to end to fit the perimeter of your quilt + 6” extra



You will need batting (also called wadding) 4” longer and wider than your finished quilt.

Batting is available in a range of materials: Wool, cotton, polyester, bamboo and in different combinations. Steer clear of battings that are very thick for your first quilts as they are difficult to machine quilt. I recommend 100% cotton or wool 80%/ poly 20%. The wool/ poly batting is lighter, softer and warmer. The cotton needs to be quilted closer together and can shrink a bit. That’s not always a negative, it can give your quilt a lovely crinkly look too.

Other quilting supplies needed:

Sewing machine with a walking foot or alternatively quilting thread, needle and a thimble.