Avoiding Quilting Mistakes

Mistakes are part of any learning experience, and it is not different when starting to quilt (and even when one has been quilting for a while). Trying to avoid some of the obvious mistakes makes the quilt making experience a more pleasant one and ensures that the quilt project gets completed and provides the satisfaction a quiltmaker feels when seeing a finished quilt.



Pick a project according to your quilting skill

Perhaps the most important mistake to avoid is to choose a pattern that is not keyed to your skill at the time you start it. It can be tempting to attempt to start a quilt when we see a pattern that appeals to you without taking the time to read and understand every step in the instructions, if they are available. When starting a quilt without a pattern, figuring out every step before setting out to even buy the fabric.

It is best to start small and work up to a full size quilt, more so when trying a technique that is new to the quilter. That is probably the one mistake every quilter has made at one point or another. And in that sense, a quilter must if not mistakesmaster, at least feel very comfortable applying the basic techniques before embarking in a new quilt. Learn how to work with fabric, understand the fabric you are using for the quilt projects. Start every project feeling confident in the skills needed to see the quilt through from start to finish.
Learning how to use a rotary cutter properly to speed cut the pieces for a quilt, having a sewing machine that works properly, with an accurate quarter inch seam are the basic blocks to successfully starting a quilt top. Learning the sewing technique that will be applied when piecing or appliquéing the quilt top, learning how to properly press seams or appliqué patches will help you avoid mistakes when making the quilt top. Then, once the top is made, learn to quilt whether by hand or machine and to bind the quilt properly. Remember, there are classes available at quilt shops, online and don’t forget quilters are generous by nature and most times, will be glad to help you figure out a project if you get stuck.


Don’t skimp on materials or time

A quilt is worth the best fabric and materials you can afford. Starting by skimping on the quality of fabric or notions might become a mistake that will make you regret the savings. It’s not really about buying expensive, it’s about mistakesbuying smart. Take advantage of sales and discount coupons to buy the best quality fabric and tools you can afford.
Good quality fabric, the appropriate thread, fresh needles and sharp pins will make sewing the top comparatively easier than it would be with fabric that doesn’t iron well or needles that are dull or bent. A good quality thread will be extra insurance for the durability of the seams through the years.
A good set of rulers, and a mat that’s not warped with a rotary cutter with a fresh blade helps cutting accurately. If the quilt pieces are cut properly, the easier it will be to sew, and if the blocks are accurate, piecing the top will again be easy and successful. Ask other quilters about their favorite tools and see if you can try them before investing in them.

Buy quilting books and magazines that will help you learn techniques and build a reference quilting library that you can go to when you need a refresher or when you notice yourself making a mistake before it becomes frustrating. Take your time cutting, piecing or appliquéing and quilting your quilt. Shortcuts can become delays when quilting. Make sure every step is accurate, build on accuracy before moving to the next step. It will save you time ripping out stitches. A beginner quilter might think making a quilt is a race event. It’s not. Take your time to enjoy the process and make memories while making the quilt. Start a quilting diary. You will be surprised when you read it years down the line.


Don’t be a quilt fashion victim

Like with clothing or home furnishings, fashion dictates quilt styles and fabric availability. But you must develop mistakesyour own style when making quilts just as you develop your own style when buying your clothes or decorating your home. It’s a mistake to fall for the latest trend just because it is trendy. Remember that for the most part, a quilt will last a long time. And making a quilt is not a two-day affair. Don’t make the mistake of picking a color scheme or a quilt style because it is fashionable. A quilt is a very personal affair, it should reflect your style and personality.
Although to a certain extent, a quilter is limited by the fabric choices available to him or her at the time they start making a new project, online shopping and building a stash of “classic” fabrics might help to avoid the fashion pitfall. Build a stash of fabric you love and pull pieces from it. Stay true to your style and your choices and you will end up with a finished quilt.

Most importantly, learn from your mistakes. Remember that we grow in our quilting journey, just like we do when we learn any other skill. Enjoy what you do, and in the years to come, you will see your quilting evolve and mature. A simple, well executed quilt is better than a badly pieced or quilted king sized blanket.


For more information on making a quilt click here!


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