Learning how to make a quilt. Please help!

Lately, I've been making some major changes to my sewing studio.  But, I'll talk more about that later - I'm not finished with it yet!  The reason I mention it, is that while re-organizing all of my things, I found this picture:

My first quilt
My First Quilt!
Pictures of the very first quilt I ever made!  I didn't even remember that pictures of this quilt existed!  I made it back in 1994, when I was in my last year of college. It was for the first friend my own age that was having a kid.  (It took all my other friends a LONG TIME before they had any off-spring!)

I don't even remember who's sewing machine I used to make this, but I do remember that although I didn't have much trouble with the piecing (yes, I'm sure I cut this out with scissors!), I really struggled with the over-all quilting.  I know I originally thought I would hand-quilt it, but decided on machine quilting, so I'd have it finished before the kid was in college himself.  It almost didn't happen!  The batting was a puffy polyester and I hadn't ever heard of a walking foot before.  It was so frustrating and such a struggle to get it finished.  The lines weren't straight at all and the stitch lengths were all over the place.  I was annoyed and disappointed and I don't think I made another quilt for about 4 years.  (The next one took years to finish as it was all hand-quilted!)

Now I quilt all the time.  And I just wish that back then, I had someone telling me all the tips and tricks to make sewing and quilting more fun and not so frustrating.  With that in mind, I'm starting a new class, held here in Berkeley (sorry, it's not web-based) called Home Ec 101 to help new quilters, or anyone struggling with sewing.  It's also for anyone who just wants some dedicated quilting time and some fun peeps to hang out and quilt with!  It starts next Tuesday, October 4th and will be held on the first Tuesday of every month at New Pieces Quilt Shop

Here's where I need HELP!!!

What I'm wondering is, if you're a new quilter, what are you struggling with?  And, if you're an experienced quilter, what are your words of wisdom?  I would LOVE it if you would leave comments and let me know! 

If you'd like more information on Home Ec 101, you can check it out here: http://onthedesignwall.blogspot.com/p/quilting-classes.html


  1. When I first started quilting I was very nervous about making mistakes and "wasting" fabric.

    I would advise newbies making a quilt with specific fabrics to buy a little extra. That way if/when they make a mistake, they have enough fabric to fix it.

    Now that I have been quilting a while, I see using fabric as part of the creative process and am less worried about "wasting" it. I'll use it all eventually (although I may have to live to 90 or so :)).

    Great name for the class - good luck!

  2. I made a couple of quilts using my regular presser foot thinking it was a 1/4" foot. Not a big deal for the squares. A bit more of one for piecing triangles and the like! Another thing I learned was to sew slowly. Even if they're "only" straight lines, i find that I wobble if I start going too fast. When I slowed, my accuracy improved. And finally, don't use steam when you press what you've just pieced. I only just figured that out, after 10+ years of quilting.

    Love the idea of your class - I would've loved something like that as a beginner.

  3. Thanks for those great tips! Keep 'em coming!

  4. Seams - seams - seams -- I feel like they really never want to meet with me at the right time and place....like missed connections on craigs list. In fact I am thinking of doing a value quilt with my scraps just to beat this un-seamly beast!

  5. This post brought back some memories! I also made my first quilt in 1994, when I was pregnant with my youngest daughter. I had no clue what I was doing and when it came time to layer the top, the batting and the fabric all together, I did it like a pillow, with right sides together, stitching all around, and leaving an opening. (Thinking I would quilt it after the sides were all sewn in.) If that wasn't clueless enough, when I went to turn the "quilt" right side out, I discovered that the batting was now on the backside, as I had placed it in the middle, (which is where I thought it would stay) before sewing. So by comparison your first quilt could win a blue ribbon!

    Have fun teaching this class, I think you will be a well appreciated resource of knowledge and guidance!