HOW I QUILT FROM START TO FINISH

Pro tip: Bookmark this page as a remedy for those tough sleepless nights! If you're more of a picture book type of person, I've got your back. Scroll down for a quick, visual run-through.


01: Quilt pattern and color design. Most of my quilts use a pattern I’ve purchased from a designer and are noted on the product listing. They’re a talented group of designers and quilters whom I admire and support. I highly encourage you to check out their work and perhaps even make your own quilt (I realize this is not a good sell for my shop but then again, I’m all about #creativelifehappylife. Have fun and make!). From there, I play around with colors -- mixing solids and prints and placing colors together that catch my eye.

02: Materials. ‘Cause we are living in a material world and I am a material girl… Now that I’ve got that song stuck in your head (sorrynotsorry), materials cost money. Good, high-quality materials cost even more! (How about that!) Most of my quilt tops are fabrics from local shops and small businesses because they got the good stuff! I also use 100% cotton Aurifil thread for piecing and stitching.

03: Cut the pattern template and cut the fabrics. Many people pre-wash the fabric for good reasons but I’m on team wash-it-after-the-quilt-is-finished. Why do I wash after it's complete? Check out step 25.

03A: Did you say step 25? Oh, my friend, we’re just getting started!

04: Pin and sew two pieces of fabric together.

05: Press seams.

06: Repeat steps 4 and 5 dozens or hundreds of times, depending on the pattern! Netflix and podcasts come in really handy at this time.

07: Trim the fabric. Fabric, by nature, stretches and shifts. On the matching picture below (use that scroller!), I trimmed all 256 squares one by one.

08: Pin and sew one block with another block.

09: Press seams.

10: Repeat steps 8 and 9 several, dozens, or hundreds of times, depending on the pattern. (Are you still with me?)

11: Ta-da! All finished, right? Nope! Now it’s time to do the actual quilting! When my listing indicates long arm quilted, this means I sent it to a professional quilter. They have a special sewing machine, a long arm quilting machine that, you guessed it, executes the actual quilting stitches (these are the very visible stitches that connect the 3 layers that make a quilt: top, batting, backing). If I send it to a long armer, I skip steps 14-19.

12: Trim all loose threads.

13: Piece the backing.

14: Tape the backing securely on a flat surface.

15: Place the batting and tape securely on the flat surface.

16: Place the quilt top on the top and make sure the surface is smooth.

17: Baste! This means, pin the 3 layers together every few inches apart. I typically use between 100-200 pins per throw-sized quilt. This is required so the layers don’t shift when it goes through the sewing machine. This is also the time when I whip out my trusty ice pack from the freezer for this back-unfriendly but necessary step.

18: NOW it’s time to quilt. Keep in mind that as it goes through my machine, I have to unpin all those pins!

19: For straight line quilting, repeat several or dozens or hundreds of times through the sewing machine.

20: Is it finally done? NOPE! It’s time to bind.

21: Cut the binding strips.

22: Sew the strips together, fold in half, and press seams open.

23: Machine bind the top.

24: Hand quilt or machine bind the back. I machine bind my quilt because after 23 steps, you get why I do, right?

25: Machine wash in gentle cycle and tumble dry low. This ensures the fabric colors don’t bleed, that all stitches are intact and to provide you with better dimension estimates.

26: NOW IT’S FINISHED. If you made it this far, kudos to you. You’re my kind of person.

01 and 02  Color Design and Materials

01 and 02 Color Design and Materials

03  Cut template and/or fabric

03 Cut template and/or fabric

04  Pin and sew

04 Pin and sew

05 and 06  Press. Repeat 04, 05, and 06 A LOT

05 and 06 Press. Repeat 04, 05, and 06 A LOT

07  Trim every piece

07 Trim every piece

08, 09, and 10  Join blocks. Press seams. Repeat A LOT

08, 09, and 10 Join blocks. Press seams. Repeat A LOT

11 and 12  Trim all loose threads

11 and 12 Trim all loose threads

13-17  Piece backing and baste

13-17 Piece backing and baste

18, 19, and 20  Quilt!

18, 19, and 20 Quilt!

21 and 22  Make binding

21 and 22 Make binding

23 and 24  Sew binding

23 and 24 Sew binding

25 and 26  Wash. YAY! All done!

25 and 26 Wash. YAY! All done!