Quilting has become a popular craft over the years, especially patchwork quilting. It gives a person the chance to create a work of art using fabric and some thread. The practice of quilting has been around for centuries and comes in many shapes and forms. Patchwork quilting is where small pieces of fabric, called quarters, are sewn together to create a design. Quilting can be one of the more stressful crafts, but the end result is a reward worth boasting about.
A quilt is made of three layers – the quilt top, batting and then the back piece. Then you put it all together in the fine craft of “quilting”.
Let’s look at each of these:
The quilt top is the part of the quilt that will have the patchwork on it. This part of the quilt is made from small blocks of fabric which are sewn together. Each piece is designed to fit together with a pattern that creates a bitter picture. When you are just a beginner at patchwork quilting you will start with a basic four patch square. This is where you take four pieces of fabric and sew them together. Similar to the way a folded piece of paper has four sections, each fabric is one section.
Lay two fabric squares together with the good side facing each other. Pin with straight pins on one side. Next you will want to sew the pinned side with ¼ inch seams. Once sewn, remove the pins and repeat this step on an adjacent edge with the other two pieces to form a square. Continue to make four piece squares until you have enough for your entire quilt project.
The backing for the quilt should be approximately six inches longer and wider than the quilt top. This will account for three inches on each edge of the quilt top. The quilt back will wrap around the front of the quilt. You will want to start by placing the two right sides of the quilt backing and the quilt top together and pinning two adjacent edges. Next, turn the fabric so the right sides are facing outwards. Use a large table for this part of the quilting process. Place a low-loft batting in between the wrong sides of the two fabrics. Next you will pin and sew together the other two sides to begin the final quilting phase.
This is the soft, fluffy middle of the quilt that provides the wonderful comfort feel … and keeps you warm. When you first start quilting you will want to start with a low-bulk batting to make it easier to sew.
Patchwork Quilting – the final step in the process
Patchwork quilting actually gets its name from the process of sewing through the item and giving it a quilted effect. If you do it with a sewing machine (my granny would turn over in her grave!) then you will need your sewing machine on a large table for this part as well. There are many different ways to quilt. The easiest for a beginner is to start by running a quilt stitch along the edge of the quilt, approximately two inches inside. You can then sew other square sections inside that space. As your skills as a quilter improve you will be ready to take on more detailed quilting techniques such as sewing a flower pattern onto the quilt.
And, some day … when the bug has really grabbed your needle crafting soul, you should try your hand at a handmade patchwork quilt. Start with a baby quilt … then work your way up to the masterpiece of your dreams.