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Top Ten Tips for 1st Time Quilters

1. START SMALL

small baby quilt
For a first quilt it’s great to work with a small size. One of the challenges of quilting is simply working with large pieces of fabric, so keeping to a small sized quilt makes everything much easier. Baby quilts are the perfect size to make quilting enjoyable without getting overwhelmed.

2. SIMPLE DESIGN

simple quilt pattern
For your first quilt it’s great to stick with a quilt design that’s not too complicated. Whether you design it yourself, or purchase a pattern, keep it simple!

3. FAMILIARIZE YOURSELF

basic quilting instructions
Understand the basic process for making a quilt. Itty Bitty’s Quilting 101 section is a great primer that breaks down the steps.

4. GET YOUR SUPPLIES

basic quilting supplies
Before you get started, make sure that you’ll have everything you’ll need. It’s no fun starting a project only to find that you’re missing tools or materials. Whether you use an Itty Bitty quilt kit or decide to shop on your own, make sure you have everything you need to cover the details such as thread, marking tools, bias tape, etc.

5. PURCHASE THE RIGHT AMOUNT OF FABRIC

quilting fabrics laid out
When planning your quilt, be sure to calculate exactly how much of each fabric you’ll need, and don’t forget about the edge binding for your quilt. You’ll need to keep in mind the bolt width of the fabric you’re purchasing. Typically, the standard bolt width for quilting fabrics is 44-45”, but it does occasionally vary. We know calculating fabric can be a bit challenging, so our Itty Bitty quilt kits come with pre-cut to size fabrics.

6. GET THE RIGHT FABRIC

folded quilt fabrics laid on table
Use the proper quilting fabrics. You’ll want to make sure that your fabrics are preshrunk, feature a tight weave, and are colorfast. We think 100% cotton makes a great choice, so we’ve chosen this material for all of our kits. Synthetic fabrics and blend fabrics are usually a bit harder to work with and you may want to wait until you have some experience under your belt before working with these.

7. MEASURE TWICE, CUT ONCE

measuring quilting fabrics
If you choose to cut your own fabrics, take your time double checking your measurements before you cut any fabrics. As the saying goes, “Measure twice, cut once." It’s easy to make sure your measurements are correct, but it’s hard to fix any incorrect cuts.

8. BASTE WELL

quilt basting
Take your time to make sure that the layers of your quilt are secured properly before you sew so that the layers don’t shift. It can be really frustrating sewing an improperly basted quilt because you’ll start to get puckers and unevenness as fabric layers start to move relative to each other. Itty Bitty kits use a glue basting technique. We love this method because it’s non-toxic and holds the layers together incredibly well so that sewing is a snap.

9. MANAGE YOUR FABRIC

rolling a quilt
One aspect of quilting that first-timers can find challenging is dealing with the large pieces of fabric. Rolling the parts of the quilt that you’re not working on is a great way to make large sections of fabric feel much more manageable. Rolling your quilt can be helpful both when sewing, ironing and storing your quilt.

10. HAVE FUN!

This one is so important that maybe we should have made this the number 1 tip! Have fun with the quilt. Don’t sweat the small stuff. You’ll be surprised by how many of the details you might have felt were slightly off really aren’t noticeable in the end. Enjoy and remember, there’s always another quilt to make!