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Quilting 101

New to making quilts?   You’ve come to the right place!  Here’s the basic set of steps required to create a quilt. 

A quilt is very simply a piece of batting (the fluffy stuff inside a quilt) sandwiched between 2 layers of fabric that are quilted together.   While sewing a quilt does take some time, with the right techniques and tools, making a quilt can be simple and fun. 

FRONT FABRIC PANEL

panels for quilt pattern
The front of a quilt can be as simple or as ornate as you want to make it.  The front fabric panel of some quilts is made using just a single piece of fabric, while others may use hundreds of pieces that are sewn together into intricate patterns.  Quilting initially got its start as a completely practical way to make use of fabric scraps.  Piecing these scraps together created the patchwork look that you see in quilts today.

BASTING PANELS

basting a quilt with pins
Basting is a term used to describe a method of temporarily adhering the front and back of your quilt to the batting so it easier to sew together.  Basting these panels together will keep the layers from shifting later when the layers are sewn together.  It’s good to avoid shifting as shifting in the layers will create puckers in the fabric and make it difficult to keep the layers aligned.  There are a variety of methods that can be used to baste the panels.  Some quilters use pins or tack stitches, while others use spray adhesives or glues.  All of these methods work with varying degrees of success.  For Itty Bitty quilt kits we’ve selected a special washable (also non-toxic) glue because we’ve found it to work extremely well without adding any harmful chemicals.

QUILTING

sewing a quilt together, lines on quilt
Once the panels are basted together, it’s time to start quilting.  Quilting is the process of sewing the layers together so that they are permanently secured.  When quilting it’s important that there are enough sew lines to secure the layers together to prevent the batting from scrunching up in any section.  There are a variety of sew patterns that can be used to sew the layers together.  Some look like doodles, while others are more linear and geometric.  Itty Bitty quilts feature an easy to sew grid line pattern that’s perfect for beginners and complements the modern look of Itty Bitty quilts.

BINDING A QUILT

quilt binding
At this point with the quilt sewn together, there’s just one important step left, and that’s to bind the edges of the quilt.  Binding is the process of covering the raw edges of your quilt with folded strips of fabric called bias tape.  This ensures that there are no raw edges exposed on the final quilt.   Bias tape is made from thin folded strips of fabric where the fabric has been specially cut diagonal to the grain of fabric.  This unique directionality on the grain of bias tape gives it strength and allows it to flex better than standard cut strips of fabric.  The bias tape is applied to the quilt using a technique that keeps the raw edges of the bias tape from being exposed.  This bias tape is sewn around the edge of the quilt to create a final finished look. 

SIGNING YOUR QUILT

signing your quilt - closeup of handstamped label on corner of quilt
While this last step is completely optional, personalizing your quilt is a nice way to add a finishing touch that lets you “sign” your handiwork, or customize the quilt for a recipient.   Signing your quilt is a great way to retain the history of the baby keepsake gift you have created.  Most quilters typically either embroider their text directly onto the quilt, or attach a scrap of fabric that’s either written on or embroidered.  Itty Bitty quilt kits each come with a personalized cotton fabric label that’s hand-stamped for the perfect finishing touch.

That’s the basic rundown.  We hope you’re inspired to get started on your first quilt!