The intimidating thing about starting to sew is the sheer number of decisions that need to be made at each step of the process. And because you are unsure of how each choice affects your desired outcome, there is a greater pressure to “make the correct choice.” With experience, those decisions get easier to make. I am a new quilter, and by golly, there A LOT of decisions to make when planning a quilt.
I have tried to get started on a quilt for my son for almost a year now. I seem to finally be getting started. First off, I made the test blocks above just to see if I could do the curved seams of the “Roads” pattern. I am very happy with how it turned out. It will definitely be more time-consuming than a simple block quilt, but it is definitely doable. It just requires fussy cutting and pinning. (Oh no! Not pinning! hehe.)
I am looking for suggestions on how to quickly cut up these curved pieces. Any fancy tools or tricks? I am going to have to cut up literally hundreds of these little things. :-/
Then, there is the fabric. I’ve only sewn one quilt before and it was a small crib sized one. This one will be twin sized, and I hope treasured for a long time. The amount of fabric needed to make a twin sized quilt is astounding, and I don’t have a quilting stash to work from. It means more expense, and more shopping, but it also means I can go in any direction. I searched around Etsy and bought some yardage from the “Traffic Jam” Collection by Allison Jane Smith. Cute, no?
I am trying to find other complimentary fabrics at my local Joanns, but it is harder than I thought it would be. The colors in Traffic Jam are really rich and intense and I didn’t think about how patterns might clash. I am not sure about the fabric below. Maybe I should stick with more geometric patterns? Am I being too picky? Perhaps the more different patterns I use, the last glaring the difference is? Thoughts?
One last question. Once I pull all the fabric together, do I pre-wash it? I keep going back and forth on this one. I love the look of a wrinkly shrunken quilt, but I was hoping to use old sheets as the backing and I don’t know if it would work to mix shrunk and new fabrics. Anything else I should know about pre vs. post washing?
And don’t even get me started on the actually quilting process. That is a whole other list of decisions to make. 🙂
Hooray! You’ll do fantastic.
Yes, to pre-washing of all fabrics! Especially for a quilt for a little fellow but really, for any quilt.
No, to the use of an old sheet for the backing. I’ve made many quilts and never used an old sheet till I was making a t-shirt quilt for our youngest. She’s the ‘greenest’ of our daughters so I patted myself on the back when I realized I could use an old sheet for the backing. ugh! Because of the tight weave it was not! fun quilting. I did part hand-part machine quilting. I just don’t recommend it at all. You can either piece the backing or do a ‘search’ on the net for extra-wide fabric. You shouldn’t have any trouble finding choices.
You’re right about many, many decisions to be made. Ha! That’s the fun of sewing! But I suspect you already know that. Make sure to post pics of completed project.
Thanks so much for the quick reply! I’m happy to have found a quilter on twitter. 🙂
And I think sewing decisions get more fun with experience. I first need to get over my “what if I make a poor choice and waste all my time and money” fears. 🙂 I need to remind myself that mistakes are a valuable part of the learning process and dive on in.
Very impressive sample! Wow!
Sorry, no actual quilting tips. However, maybe try testing out your colors on the computer first. Take pictures of the materials, and use paint to put together the combinations. I love doing this for yarn projects before I buy the yarn. Well, back when I didn’t have so much yarn and still was buying yarn..
That’s a really fun idea, Beth!
Karen @ TheJuneBride says
I don’t have much advice, but I can’t wait to see the final quilt! Your fabric choices are lovely, and I share your fears of failure with expensive/time-consuming projects. But you are right… it’s a valuable lesson that you won’t learn if you don’t try. I have never quilted with curves, and I love how it looks… it’s going to be FABULOUS!
Thanks for the encouragement. I really have no idea how long this thing will take, but it is exciting to have some of the pieces come together.
DO wash all of your fabric first. The front can pucker a lot later if you do not.
Please do not use a sheet as the backing. The tight weave makes quilting difficult, plus if you use an old one, well, it looks old. You want something that compliments the front.
Dreamz Happen Quiltz says
Okay, here’s the other side of the coin! I do NOT pre-wash unless it is an art quilt or modern look I’m going for. Most batting will shrink some, check the labels for how much but usually not to the same degree the fabric does. Second using sheets as backing? After all the work you put into the top why skimp? Is it a 100% cotton sheet? What is the thread count? Is it the same as the fabric? What is it the quilt is intended for? The sheet is intended to NOT shrink, how will that effect your quilt sandwich? I have used sheets, for dog quilts, yes quilts for dogs, they have to be washed alot and yes prewash you fabric in that case. prewashing is a personal choice. Your fabric choices are lovely.. you need no guidance there.. go with your gut. Just my opinion.
Apparently, sheet backing is quite the controversial topic. 🙂
Jan Gornik says
Hannah was showing me her Google Reader list and I had fun looking at your blog. I agree with the gals above about preshrinking and the sheet backing. Even muslin would be a better backing . If you don’t preshrink the fabrics, they may shrink differently and the shrinkage tightens the quilt top fabrics putting more stress on the quilt top. The puckering you like happens from washing the whole quilt, as the layers separate and resettle.
As for choosing fabrics, the most important thing is the value (grey scale) of each fabric and how those values interact. There is a quilt tool – red see through plastic, that allows you to see the fabric values easily. To get an idea of how it works, drape your fabrics next to each other vertically on one side of a big room and walk as far away as you can. Blur your eyes a bit and see if you can tell which colors are lighter and which darker. When I look at your first photo through a value finder, I only see 2 values. The second photo adds more value range.
If you get this and then look at some quilt books you’ll see how artists play with value first, then color.
This may seem like a lot, but I’ve found this actually makes things easier to plan.
Blessings on you and yours!
Hi Mrs Gornik! Thanks for that info on color values. Interesting stuff. I’ll have to find that tool.
You can do it! I know you can. Just think of how great it will feel to stitch the last stitch and clip the last thread. Keep up the good work!
You really are the best sewing cheerleader, Stephanie! 🙂
crafty penguin says
i’ve just found your blog, and love this quilt idea. Definitely wash everything, a lot of fabrics have a starch kind of thing on them and can be difficult to cut and handle unless washed and ironed. However if I was making something that would never be washed (like a wallet or wall hanging) then not washing would be ok.
Thanks for your input! I have washed the fabric and am almost done cutting out all the pieces!