quilts | Sewing | Sewing Inspiration

My First Quilt! (plus lessons learned…)

A quilt for my daughter’s room has been on my “to-do” list for a long time.  But a full size quilt just seems like a huge project for a beginner with no quilting skills.  I’m still very intimidated by the thought of making one. (I have done just about everything I can to avoid starting on her quilt.)

I’ve done a few simple fabric piecing projects like this patchwork tunic top and shorts.  Then I moved on to actual quilted projects like my quilted table runner and tablet cover.

Recently, I stumbled across a super-cute fat quarter set from Riley Blake.  (Sew Cherry, and on sale, of course!).  The fabric set just screamed summery vintage picnic quilt and I had to buy it.  I thought it was perfect for a very simple picnic-sized patchwork quilt and would be good practice before I cut into my daughter’s quilt fabric.


Here is the crazy part…  After cutting up all of the fat quarters, I realized I had enough for two quilts.  So, you guessed it!  I made 2 quilts and will give one away to a lucky reader.  Giveaway details will be at the bottom of the post. Give away over -sorry!


Bias binding for two quilts?  Yep, it was a bunch…

She caught a baby frog here.  Little frogs are so cute.  I have a tutorial coming for her dress in the next day or two…

Everyone has been enjoying the quilt, including the neighbors cat!


A few things I learned while making these quilts (that I wish someone had told me):

~A walking foot will make your life so much easier.  (Thank goodness I already had one.  It is great for bias binding!)

When quilting, use a new appropriately sized Quilting needle.

~I used a flat sheet from Wal-mart for the back of the quilt.  I was experiencing some skipped stitches on the back of the quilt and had to spend a significant amount of time picking out those stitches and redoing them.  I did a little Google-ing on the subject and found a bed sheet is not always the best idea.  Some sheets are woven very tightly and will cause the needle to flex and it won’t be able to catch the bobbin thread, causing a skipped stitch.  The Walmart sheet is definitely woven very tightly in comparison to an Ikea sheet I have… (A twin size flat sheet from Walmart is $5 and a twin white flat sheet from Ikea is under $4.)  Has anyone used one of the Ikea sheets, I am wondering if the batting shows through.  Does anyone have tips or knowledge to add on this subject?

~You can use a differnt color bobbin thread so the threads on the top and bottom of the quilt will blend better.

~Start your pinning and quilting from the center and work your way out.  (Helps keep puckering to a minimum.)

Iron the backing and use spray starch.  (You may be tempted to skip this step, but don’t!)

~505 basting spray…  Get some, ’nuff said!

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  1. This is definitely my style of quilt. Thank you for sharing!!!! Hopefully soon I can try one too.

  2. I know this is probably too late, but I used an Ikea sheet for my son's quilt, and it has been great. It's going on 3 years old now, and still looks excellent. It is really dark blue, so maybe that's why. I haven't tried a lighter color, so I can't vouch for them.

  3. I know this is probably too late, but I used an Ikea sheet for my son's quilt, and it has been great. It's going on 3 years old now, and still looks excellent. It is really dark blue, so maybe that's why. I haven't tried a lighter color, so I can't vouch for them.

  4. My future granddaughter-in-law found this quilt and fell in love with it. She and my grandson are planning a March 2013 wedding and it has a " Picnic" theme. She asked me if I could make this for them to display at the wedding. It took some doing but after MUCH Internet searching I found every piece of fabric that you used…

  5. Great website! I'm so glad to have found you through The Gunny Sack. I have "make a quilt" on my list of things to accomplish. It's been on the list for a long time, but after reading your post and seeing the photos of your beautiful quilt, I think I'm ready! Thanks for sharing all your great insights. Wish me luck!

  6. Jamie — for your first quilt — you did a WONDERFUL job ! Congratulations ! The fabric choices and the layout are perfect. It is very stunning — and a bias binding at that ! Way to go !

    Word to the wise — never use a sheet at all for backing — if you're at Walmart to buy a sheet you are better off purchasing some of their inexpensive fabric for the back of the quilt. The fabric is most often heavier and wears much better than a sheet. Now, best choice is to purchase fabric online — somewhere cheap (Great prices at thousandsofbolts.com — I have no connection to them).

    Ever in a jam? E-mail me… I would love to help if I could…

    Great work !

  7. Your quilt is beautiful! I love the fabrics you used–some bright and cheerful! I really want to make a quilt–now I feel inspired!

  8. Hello Jamie,
    The quilts that you made are amazing. I love the colors that you choose to use for the fabric. Thanks for sharing your tips, I am currently working on a quilt for my daughter.
    Smiles, Paula

  9. Thank you for the chance! It really is beautiful. I would love it for my little girls room. ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. Your first guilt is sure a pretty one. Love all the patterns and colors. Thanks for all the tips. Thanks for sharing you white creative inspiration at Sunday's Best!

  11. Stunning I have been dying to make another quilt with big blocks like this – what a great inspiration and photos! ๐Ÿ˜‰ so if you cut the fat quarters into fourths your blocks were 9×11" correct?? I might have to do this with a fat quarter set I have been eying. I find for the back I like to do cotton fabric with left overs to piece the solid fabric together because I have had the missed stitches too due to tight woven bed fabrics ๐Ÿ˜€

  12. That quilt is delicious. I love the patterns and colors … hope to win it! What an awesome prize! Thanks for linking up this week!
    Stacey of Embracing Change

  13. Love the colors!!! I sew a lot, have made many quilts and I've never used a sheet for a back. Now I know why! I just piece fabric together to make the back.

  14. I think I've entered for the giveaway. I love the quilt.
    What is the size of the blocks?
    I have a big group of coordinated fat quarters and might put them together this way. You've inspired me.

  15. BEAUTIFUL quilt! And that was your first one? Wow! You are very talented! I just found your blog and now I'm following you by email. Thanks for sharing!

  16. What a beautiful quilt. I tried a quilt years back and ended up with my grandmother finishing it. I think I will try again. You've inspired me. ๐Ÿ™‚

  17. That is a gorgeous quilt! You chose stunning fabric. I have a couple of quilts on my "to-do" list… but I've never quilted before, so I just bookmarked your tips. Thanks! ๐Ÿ™‚
    Wish I could enter your givaway. Oh well. Someone will adore your quilt non-the-less.

  18. You did a great job – love it! Binding fabric is lovely. Thanks for the great giveaway ๐Ÿ™‚

  19. That is so beautiful, I have been wanting to try and make a quilt for long time now as one would look prefect on my bed in my 400 year old flat, I fancy something vintage looking, but I have been too unsure to try, you've inspired me to give it a go, I just need to collect the right fabrics. Your tips are very interesting and I'm sure will come in useful

    I've entered your giveaway as well of course – who could resist the chance to win such a pretty quilt?

  20. I just found your blog on craftgawker, and love this post! thanks for sharing your first time quilt, I recently made one from my sons old tshirts… its not the prettiest thing but he loves it!

  21. What a beautiful quilt! Too bad I'm in Canada & can't enter the give-away. ๐Ÿ™‚ I would love to win. I guess I'll just have to make myself one, hey? Beautiful photos as well. I'm your newest follower.

    ~Steph @ Silver Boxes

  22. this is incredible! new follower and DEFINITELY entered the giveaway. Now to go get lost on your blog ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ Happy weekend!

  23. That quilt is stunning! I love the colors! If you have time, I would love for you to link up to the Pomp Party going on now!

  24. Beautiful! I just got my first sewing machine. Scouring the net for easy beginner projects!

  25. What an adorable little girl and her cat. ๐Ÿ™‚
    I LOVE your quilts…and I really REALLY hope to win one. Thanks so much for the chance.
    xo bj

  26. What an AWESOME giveaway and beautiful quilt!!!!!! I LOVE it!!!! Great tips too, I want to make my first quilt this summer, I'm so excited! I loved this post!

  27. That quilt is gorgeous! I love it ๐Ÿ™‚ I came over from freckled laundry after she featured your shirred sundress!

  28. Great job! Your first quilt looks a whole lot better than my first quilt did!!

    I wanted to address this tip: "You can use a differnt color bobbin thread so the threads on the top and bottom of the quilt will blend better." While that is true, you have to be careful to keep the tension completely perfect, otherwise the bobbin thread will show through on the quilt top and visa versa. If the thread colors are close in color it doesn't matter too much, but if you're using black and white it can get a bit tricky.

    Can't wait to see more quilts from you!

  29. I'm so impressed! Thanks so much for the backing and spray starch ideas. I never thought of that. And start from the middle.:) I don't do that either.:(

  30. You did wonderful for your first quilt and I love the colors. How many fq's total did you use. I sure hope I win.

  31. Congrats on your first quilt! I am a big quilter and the first one is ALWAYS the hardest. I love your fabric choices. I am trying to think if I have any tips that changed my life… Hmm. I guess it would be to stay accurate with your cutting, and ALWAYS set your seams with the iron before you iron the pieces open and it will keep everything straight!

    Since it is was a project that you are "finally completing" I would love for you to link up to my "UFO" Challenge! I am actually about to post about a quilt I have been putting off and putting off as my own entry into the challenge. The party will open on May 1. (Normally I wouldn't spam you, but you specifically mentioned it!) he! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Oh and thanks for the giveaway! That is great too!

  32. First of all, I have a tip to share. There is an awesome you tube video out there about basting quilts using two pieces of wood. I used this method my last two times and I'll never go back. Y'all should check it out. Secondly, from one quilter to the next… I love your quilt. I want one!!! Can I have yours? (I hope I win) and lastly, you should check out the quilt I just made my daughter. You can see it at mamajillof2crafts.blogspot.com. And please, post a comment. It's hard when you are only blogging to yourself.

  33. Adorable quilt!! I love the colors!! Amd thanks for the tips!:)
    Your daughter's dress is super cute!!

  34. I'd never seen the rafflecopter before, that is pretty cool…..your quilts are beautiful. I use bedsheets all the time for my own "quilts" (2 sheets with batting sewn in between) and don't have problems. Could it be a difference between 100% cotton and a blend? But I do need a walking foot for my machine…..

  35. This girly quilt is adorable, but can I be sincere… I can't wait to see your tutorial of this amazing dress! I want the same one for my baby girl Anna ^^)

  36. That is just precious! I love the fabrics you used! I would love for you to share this (and any other creations) at Pin It & Win It Wednesday

  37. This quilt is beautiful! Thanks for sharing your tips and giving one of the quilts away. I would like to make a quilt, but I am a little afraid to try as well. Guess I need to just jump in!!

  38. Thanks for the beginner tips. I, like you, have had fabric purchased (even cut!) and still have not started the quilt! How long did it take you from start to finish? Maybe it's the time commitment that keeps me from getting started?
    So awesome of you to give one away. Thanks for that!

  39. Wow, looks great for your first quilt! I've never made one because they looked to complicated but this has given me a bit more confidence – thank you ๐Ÿ™‚ Wish I could enter the give away because I love the quilt but I'm from the UK ๐Ÿ™

  40. Beautiful! Perfect for an afternoon picnic. We were just talking the other day about how nice it would be to have a picnic quilt. I have pieced a couple of quilts but never actually quilted it, so they are sitting there, all the pieces in place but not quilted! Good job on this, love the fabric.

  41. This is gorgeous! I want to make a quilt one day, but I guess I should start by learning how to use my sewing machine! Thanks for the giveaway, I'm crossing my fingers! ๐Ÿ™‚

  42. This is so beautiful – I am a wannabe quilter and you have inspired me to go for it!! I am not sure why quilting scares me, but it does. I am excited to make a quilt like you did – Thanks!

  43. Hi Jamie!
    I love your quilt, it turned out beautifully!
    I have been quilting for years but I haven't tried machine quilting yet. I just got a new embroidery machine though so I am getting ready to take it on! Thanks for the inspiration!

  44. I am right there with you on the quilting intimidation! I love quilts and would love to have one that I could brag about. Maybe someday I will get up the nerve (and free time) to get one started.
    I love your blog and get some many great ideas from it. Keep up the great work!

  45. Your quilt looks beautiful! I, too, am very intimidated by quilting. This design looks like it would be a great place to start. Did you just make it up as you went, or did you follow a tutorial?

  46. This is lovely! I have never thought about making a quilt and you've now got me thinking!!!
    Pleased to be following your blog. Thanks for sharing.

  47. After all of the hard work you put into this quilt, it's amazingly generous of you to offer it as a giveaway. Thanks for the opportunity to win.

  48. What a gorgeous quilt, I can't believe it's your first one, the points are perfect!

  49. Beautiful quilt!!! I'm trying to learn to quilt, my teachers both passed away recently, I don't know when I'll be sewing again.. but I'm sure I will.

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