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.