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Basic Quilting

"Build a Good Foundation"

Piece the top before basic quilting can begin.

Now that you have the basic ingredients, aka supplies, you can begin.

Find a relaxing clean place to sit down and organize.  You’ll need space and a table (hardwood floors do in a pinch). 

Place your cutting mat on your hard surface.  Fold your fabric so you can cut more than one strip at a time.  I usually do this by folding in half, width wise then several times along the length. 

Measure your fabric according to your quilting pattern.  Most cutting mats and quilting rulers have measurement guides to help you along your way.

Once you have cut out your pieces, you are ready to piece together your top.  

Match the right sides of your fabric together. 


The easiest way to sew without having a sewing machine is weave your needle and thread in and out of the fabric along the side to sew. 

Basic quilting tip:  You can make more than one stitch at a time with this method.

Once your piecing is done.  You can add boarders or move on to getting your backing ready.  This depends on the look you want the top of your quilt to have.

A note about boarders: 

It is best if they are cut no wider than 4 ½ inches.  This is because most batting is not stable when quilting more than 4 inches apart.

Now that you have completed your top, it’s time to have your backing ready.

Quilting 101:

Backing fabric is usually made out of broadcloth.  Broadcloth is just cotton blended fabric that is one color and usually wider than prints.  Typically it’s 65” wide.  It can be found up to 108” wide.

Broadcloth is so wide, most of the time you don’t need to piece together the backing.  This is very helpful in basic quilting.  We will talk more about using broadcloth in Whole Cloth Quilting.

On my first quilt I had to piece the backing together.  I didn’t know about broadcloth back then. J 

If you need to piece your backing together, it’s best to take two sections of fabric the same length.  Just sew them together with the right sides touching.  As seen here.

As long as the backing is 4 inches wider on all side than your top, you’ll be alright.

Now lay your backing down on a wide area, usually a very clean floor. Make sure the wrong side is facing up.

Then unfold your batting along the backing. Make sure it is smooth.  Bumps will just cause you a migraine later.

After that, Place your top that you pieced together.  You want the right side facing you.

Everything should be lying flat and smooth.

It’s best in the beginning of learning how to quilt, that you use masking tape to tape the backing edges to the top.  Roll the backing edge as you do this to keep the batting out of your way.

This is when we are going to baste the materials together.


Basting can be done several different ways.  For now we are just going to use our needle and thread. 

Thread your needle leaving the string nice and long.  Tie the thread together at the end of the strings. 

Guide your needle from the center of your materials.  Make huge stitches from center to end of your items.  Do this from each of the four sides.

Now is the time to separate your hoop.  Slide the bottom hoop in the center under all your fabric.  The bottom hoop is the part that fits on the inside of your quilting hoop when it’s together.

Then straighten out your fabric. 

Make sure that you’ve loosened the top hoop.  You don’t want to have a fight with it when you place it.

Place the top hoop over everything with your bottom hoop underneath fitting snug in the center.

Smooth out any bumps of fabric or batting.  This should be minimal if we avoided headaches.  That’s where I have several problems my first time.

Now tighten your hoop.  The fabric should be smooth and loose.  In fact it shouldn't feel so tight that you can't move the materials.  You need the movement to weave the stitches.

This is where basic quilting really starts. 

Begin quilting in the center of your hoop working outwards.  We'll go over stitches and hand quilting in Beginner Hand Quilting.

Each time you are done with a section of hoop, lay your quilt on the floor. Adjust your hoop to a section that is next to the section you just completed.  This should be done in a circular pattern.  Doing so ensures that your quilt will have a professional look.

Patience will be your guide.  Remember to take frequent breaks and don't get discouraged.  The hard work will pay off.

Until next time.

Happy quilting,

› Basic Quilting
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