How To Be Successful and Spend Less – New Quilter Tips. Here’s my beginner quilting advice, the things I wish I would have known when first starting out. This is real life advice for someone who has never touched a sewing machine before but wants to make a quilt.
Let me start at the beginning, I got this wild idea that I wanted to make quilts but I didn’t know how to sew. So wild right?! Crocheting was getting a little boring. I have recorded quilting shows on PBS (Public Broadcasting Station) for the past 6 years and every weekend would watch people making these cool quilts. I really wanted to try quilting but I owned nothing that I was watching on those shows. Not one single item, nada, nothing…..so I knew I had to start from scratch. But where to begin?
New Quilter Tips – 5 Quilting Tips for Beginners
- Start Small – buy the basics.
- Sewing Machine – learn how to properly use your machine.
- Homework – watch tutorials, study your subject.
- Shop Sales/Use Coupons – don’t pay full price.
- Fabric – buy in person.
New Quilter Tips – Start Small & Buy The Basics
How To Be Successful and Spend Less – New Quilter Tips. Here are the basics to get started.
- 45mm rotary cutter (blades are included)
- Small cutting matt
- 6″ x 24″ straight ruler
- Iron/Ironing Board
- Sewing machine
I tried to use scissors instead of buying the rotary cutter and cutting matt but don’t recommend it. You have to have really sharp scissors and you need to cut in straight lines.
New Quilter Tips – Learn How To Use and Clean Your Machine
How To Be Successful and Spend Less – New Quilter Tips. Sewing machine – learn how to properly use and clean your machine. Whether you borrow or buy your own machine, learn how to use it, clean it and care for it. I’m not going to lie, this part was scary and intimidating to me but you need to learn how to use the tools to take areas of the machine apart in order to clean it, oil it and then put it back together. Sewing machines no longer come with a written manual. Manufacturers direct you to their website to find and download the electronic manual for your make and model. All sewing machine brands have YouTube tutorials on how to set up the machine including threading it, loading the bobbin and adjusting the tension so it stitches correctly.
New Quilter Tips – Listen to your machine, it will talk to you
By the way, you need to use your ears because your machine will tell you what’s wrong with it too by the sounds it may make. The needle may need to be changed, you may need to take apart the case and clean out lint or thread. You also need to have an eagle eye and pay attention to sewing with 1/4″ seam, making sure that seam is really accurate and to sew in straight lines. You need to use your eyes to make sure the stitches look correct and your tension and presser foot is adjusted correctly as well. Bottom line, use all your senses to help you sew.
My very first sewing machine
Even if you are able to borrow a machine from a friend, eventually you will need to get your own. My first sewing machine was this Singer Start. I actually wore it out trying to quilt a queen size quilt on it, not recommended for quilting anything bigger than a table runner or small baby quilt. This machine was around $100.00. It’s perfect for a beginner machine to sew clothes.
New Quilter Tips – My second sewing machine
My second machine was this Singer Heavy Duty 6380 Sewing Machine and it comes with an extension table which I really liked. This machine was around $300.00. You can quilt on this but the throat is very small. The throat is the section where your rolled up quilt would go and needs to slip through when you quilt your item. The smaller the throat, the harder to quilt.
New Quilter Tips – Shop Sales & Use Coupons
How To Be Successful and Spend Less – New Quilter Tips. Always buy your sewing supplies on sale or with coupons. I regularly use the Jo-ann Stores app on my phone and they always have sales. This store has 50% off one regular priced item at least once a month and that’s when I go and buy one of the more expensive supplies items like the cotton batting or a ruler or rotary blade refills. I prefer going to a craft store instead of buying online because it’s instant gratification and I don’t have to wait for it to ship to me. I typically buy my batting and sewing supplies at the craft store and buy fabric online or at a local fabric store.
New Quilter Tips – Watch Tutorials, Study Your Subject
How To Be Successful and Spend Less – New Quilter Tips. Do your homework, study how they are doing things and then try to do it too. Here are the channels I watched when I taught myself how to sew.
New Quilter Tips – Buy Fabric in Person
How To Be Successful and Spend Less – New Quilter Tips.
Buy fabric in person. This is a no brainer for beginner quilters. Of course you want to buy fabric in person so you can get started right away. The fastest way is to grab fabric at the craft store or your local fabric store. I bought a fat quarter sample pack at Jo-Ann’s when I started because I was clueless. I seriously had no idea what I was doing. Just winging it all the way.
The sample pack had maybe 5 small sheets of fabric that all went together. It was cheap, poor fabric but that’s exactly what I wanted. I wanted to practice, I just wanted the basics, I suggest the same for you. Now that I am a little more experienced, I would suggest finding your local fabric store and go exploring. However, be warned, you will spend at least an hour browsing. It’s so funny how fast time fly’s when your in a fabric store!
New Quilter Tips – Shop in store for fabric to learn about the different types
I also suggest buying fabric in person until you become familiar with it. Quilts require 100% cotton but not all cotton fabric is the same. Also, some fabric for new quilters looks and feels like pure cotton but it may be a cotton/polyester blend and you don’t want that fabric. I had to re-do a quilt border 3 times because I thought two different fabrics were pure cotton only to find out they were cotton/polyester blend. I only discovered my error when I was making my quilt sandwich and my quilt top would not lay flat. Instead, it kept curling and you cannot quilt a quilt that won’t lay flat. Side note: I was gifted fabric from someone so didn’t purchase it myself and to me it looked and felt like pure cotton.
New Quilter Tips – Buying fabric online can be disappointing
Also, when cotton fabric has patterns or prints on them, they sometimes don’t feel soft or feel right for your quilt. I bought Halloween fabric online from fabric.com and was very disappointed with how the fabric looked and felt in person. The glow in the dark fabric was awful. I learned this one the hard way.
Once you have practiced and done a few basic charm pack quilts (2 packs of 5″ charm squares), quilted it and completed the binding a few times then you can buy fabric online through places like Fat Quarter Shop and Missouri Star Quilt Company. When you find designers you like on either of these sites you can google that designer in Amazon and they have pre cuts and fabric packs you can get that typically cannot be found yet in your local fabric stores at slightly discounted pricing.
New Quilter Tips – Was wanting to quilt a wild idea?
How To Be Successful and Spend Less – New Quilter Tips.
Was wanting to quilt a wild idea? Heck YES it was, but I’m so glad I did it.
A few years ago, I got this wild idea that I wanted to make quilts. The idea was wild because 1) I didn’t know how to sew, 2) I didn’t own a sewing machine, 3) I lived in a small house and 4) I had no idea where to start except that I had to get a sewing machine.
Fast forward almost 3 years and now I want to try sewing clothes but patterns scare me and zippers are still tricky (hahaha). I don’t know why but now that I’m over 50, I’m afraid of more things, I procrastinate like nobody’s business and really have to push through those feelings and try it.
New Quilter Tips – Learning a new skill is so rewarding!
My advice is go after the things you want to try, don’t let fear our doubt stand in your way. Don’t give up, stick with it and I promise you it will be fun and you will have your machine dialed in and purring like a kitten. Once that happens, sewing and creating quilt blocks and then turning those blocks into curtains, quilts, pillows or maybe even an outfit will be your new passion. Sewing and quilting should come with a warning label though because you won’t be able to drive by a fabric store without stopping! You will appreciate sewn items more, knowing the amount of time and energy that goes into making handmade items. I hope you try it, have fun and don’t forget to laugh often because it’s way better than crying when you get stuck or frustrated!
New Quilter Tips – Additional Beginner Quilting Supplies
Here are some quilting supplies that are great for quilters that I use and highly recommend. See items below.
45 mm Rotary Cutter with Sharp Blade (start with this one)
45 mm Rotary Cutter Replacement Blades (start with this one)
4.5″ Quilting Square Ruler for half square triangles
12.5″ Quilting Square Ruler for quilt blocks
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Sew Nikki Resources – How To’s and Free Patterns
About Sew Nikki
If this is your first time stopping by, welcome! My name is Nikki. I’m a weekend quilter, have a super small sewing space and taught myself how to sew and quilt by watching YouTube videos! My blog has How-To’s, Free Patterns and Pattern Reviews. Read more about me here.
Check out my log cabin block that has written and step-by-step PICTURE instructions here.
Want to try crocheting instead, then check out my how to make a baby blanket from start to finish here.
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Sew, quilt, crochet and repeat!