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Quilting for Beginners

"One Way to Start"

Do you have the drive and desire to start making your first quilt?  

Quilting for beginners will show you how to get started.

We'll walk you through the first steps of starting your quilt.

Before we move on though, if you already have a quilt finished share your story with us.

Have A Great Story About Your First Beginner Quilting Project?

Do you have a great story about your first beginner quilting project? Remember the questions you had and how you found out the answers? Share your story with your hard-earned knowledge and add your best picture to with it!

Your First Quilting Stories

Click on the links below to see first beginner quilting stories. They were all written by other visitors to this page.

Pooh Bear Quilt 
So, I’m actually am from South Africa and I moved to Cold Lake Alberta right after getting married to my husband 25 years ago. At the same time, I was …

Making a Quillow? What was That? 
I learned something new at my church. I made a Quillow, (a quilt that is also a pillow). I had never made a quilt before and the sisters in the …

The First Time I Quilted Not rated yet
Here is my story about the first time I quilted. There I was at my local crafting store in awe of all the pretty fabrics. There was a display overhead …

Click here to write your own.

Now to begin sharing our knowledge with you.

Refer to Quilting Terms if any of the language is confusing.

I remember when I first got the “quilting bug”.  I saw the most beautiful fabric that came in two different designs and I had to have it.  I was going to make something out of this that would contain memories and be passed down.

The only thing was I didn’t have a sewing machine.  I didn’t even have a pattern/thread/or knowledge of how to start piecing together a top.  Let alone how to quilt.

Thoughts started running around in my head.  “Is there a place to learn quilting for beginners?  Is there even a book on beginner quilting? Like Quilting for Dummies?”

I was able to find a very thin book with 7 quilting design patterns.  It had simple directions and some easy patterns that I thought I could do.

I read the book and made a list of what I would need to get started to work on my masterpiece. 

I couldn't afford a sewing machine and I wasn't sure I would like quilting.  So, I made a promise to myself. If I still like this art form after I finished making one full size quilt by hand, I would save up and buy one.

This is a picture of the first quilt I made over 15 years ago.  See how well it's held up.  Completely made by hand!  Beginners can quilt with a little basic knowledge.

Quilting for beginners will give you the skills to complete your first quilt.

Having the right tools to start with is the most essential step.

First you'll need to choose how big you want your quilt to be.  

I made my first quilt a full size, but if that seems like too much for you it’s ok. 

You can start on a twin or crib size.  Of course, you can make a wall hanging that can be any size, even a 10” x 10”.  It’s up to you.  

These are the typical bed quilt sizes you’ll find and I recommend:

Bed Size






California King

Suggested Quilt Size

36” x 54”

65” x 86”

80” x 88”

86” x 93”

104” x 93”

104” x 110”

Standard Batting Size

45" x 60"

72" x 90"

81" x 96"

90" x 108"

120"x 120"

Use king size batting

Please note that most these sizes are subject to a short hang (the amount that hangs over the edge of the bed).  The California King however, has extra width and length.  This is because I happen to sleep in one.  I hate having to steal the covers back after my husband has cocooned himself.  I usually lose.

Get your batting in the proper size.  

Batting is made out of different types of material. Usually they are cotton, polyester,  bamboo, or a combination.  Since we are just getting your feet wet in the quilting world, I suggest a polyester blend.  Mountain Mist is the easiest/lowest costing batting to find.

Next you will need the fabric of your choice.  I recommend the typical cotton blend for your first time.  It's made with quilting for beginners in mind.  

It's what most newbies use because it's easy to find.  The cost tends to be lower too.

Choose how much fabric depending on the size you picked for your quilt.  We will go over this with each Beginner Quilting Pattern.

I typically buy a yard more than I think I’ll need because if I make a mistake, I can correct it right away.  There is also nothing like having to go back and try to find the same fabric, but it’s out of stock.  Ouch!  

Make sure you wash/dry your fabric using the temperature you will use when you have your finished product.  This is usually the Permanent Press setting on your washer and dryer.  Then iron the fabric.  This makes the fabric cut better.

You can use fabric scissors for cutting, but I don't recommend it.  It's a common mistake for those that are starting to quilt.  

For ease and perfection, I prefer a rotary cutter, self-healing cutting mat, and a square quilting ruler.  They are more likely to give you better shaped pieces with less headaches later.

Piecing together your top only allows you to have a ¼” grace.  Meaning you will be sewing ¼” from the edge on all your pieces.

You'll need a quilting hoop too.  I prefer one about 14 inches wide.  Smaller than that will be frustrating and bigger tend to lose their grip.  I'll elaborate in Basic Quilting.

A thimble that fits nicely on your middle or pointer finger is a must.  Whichever finger you prefer.  I prefer my middle finger.

Pick out the sewing needle in the size you prefer. I recommend one that shorter rather than long.  A long needle is sometimes harder to work with when you are just learning.

Make sure the thread is in the color you want.   White is standard, but this is your creation.  Have some fun with it.

Now you're ready to begin by moving on from Quilting for Beginners to Basic Quilting.

Other Topics For Beginners

What the heck are y-seams?  Don't worry.  We'll explain.

Already have everything set in your hoop?  Ready to skip forward to Beginner Hand Quilting.  This is where we'll guide you through the basic steps of hand quilting. 

Quilting Borders will guide you through how to put borders on your quilt as well as quilting them.

Already have your quilt quilted?  Just need to learn ways to bind it?  Classic Quilting Methods walks you through every step of the way.

Are you having problems with pain while hand quilting?  Learn a quilting technique that is pain free.

Quilting Labels explains the ways to add your signature to the quilt.  This is for quilting beginners and pros alike. 

In Whole Cloth Quilting we'll also show you this quick method of making a quilt without piecing together a top.

Want to learn quick and easy ways to piece your top?  Block QuiltingStrip Quilting, and quick and easy quilting are perfect techniques to guide quilting for beginners.

Ready to start progressing from basic beginner to a more advanced quilter?

Check out Channel and Foundation quilting.  They are perfect methods to learn as you grow to be a pro.  Even paper piecing quilting will show you what patterns work with these techniques.

Learn how to make your own plastic templates.

Then how to quilt with templates and get a free template pattern.

Ready to start stitching curves?  Check out sewing applique circles to build this valuable skill of advanced quilters.

When you are ready we have some free easy quilting patterns or a quilt kit to hone your skills.  Don't worry. They really are easy just like this owl pattern.

How about a free pattern to use up all those pieces of scrap fabric?

Quilting around pets will show you tips on how to keep up this wonderful hobby while being around your best friend.

Quilting Panels will teach you how to make quick and easy home decor, whether it be for a wall hanging or a bed.

Try out your first project or just have fun by using the Mini Quilt method.

You'll be several steps closer to being the quilter you want to be after learning how to apply all of these techniques.

This is what quilting for beginners is designed for.

Until next time.

Happy quilting,

› Quilting for Beginners
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90% Faster Than Rotary Cutters