Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Quilting 101 - How to cut the material.......

First let me say, I AM NOT A PROFESSIONAL, what I am going to show you is how I was taught. I have taken a couple of lessons on the basics and the rest I have picked up along the way. There are so many more talented people out there who are super quilters. Two whose blogs I visit on a regular basis are Carol and Catherine. I know Leah through another site and her tutorials are spot on.

Anyhow, someone asked me to show them how to cut material and so here is my tutorial on that. So you've been to the quilting store found a lovely piece of material, now what? Well first wash it, some people skip this step, but just pretend you have made a black and white quilt and you never washed the material. You finish the quilt, its beautiful and then you spill some coffee on it so it has to be washed. Well out of the washer comes this dirty grey quilt, as the colours have run. Plus its now a wonky shape.

Pre-washing that material would have made the material colour fast and if there had been any shrinkage, it would have occurred at this point, before you cut the material. As I said some people don't wash their material, it doesn't take long, so why not do it? I don't use fabric softener, just laundry detergent. Here is my piece of material that has been washed and ironed.

The basic pieces you need for cutting are a self healing cutting board, a rotary cutter, a square ruler, mine is 6 1/2 inches square and a regular quilting ruler, oh and a pair of scissors.

So you lay the fabric on the cutting board with the selvedge edges touching one another, and the edge which was cut off the bolt of the fabric to your left (if you're right handed). The folded edge of the fabric closest to you.

Next place you're square ruler on the bottom edge of the fabric closest to you (see photo).

Place your long quilting ruler next to it (see photo).

Remove the square ruler and cut along the edge of the fabric.

You now have a piece of perfectly square fabric to start cutting from. Don't throw that scrap of material away as you can use it for a string quilt!! I have to say I just picked this material from my pile and it was actually not badly cut off the bolt, most times they are way off.

So your pattern is telling you it needs 2 1/2 inch strips. You place your quilting ruler on the material to the 2 1/2 inch line and then cut.

From that strip it is easy to cut out 2 1/2 square, or 5 inch rectangles, or what ever you need.

Its really important to have that perfectly square piece of material, as if that's off the rest of the material you cut from that piece will not be square.

Now I did find another link on how to prepare fabric for cutting, which you may find useful, here is the link

Don't try to run before you can walk with quilting. Here is a great site that takes you through the step by step.

Remember you need to use a 1/4 inch seam allowance in quilting. I have a special foot for my sewing machine, sorry about the poor photo.

You also need a walking foot for the actual machine quilting.......this is one of the most expensive pieces of equipment I had to buy. Mine was $90, but I have a Husqvarna machine and the accessories are more pricey than other machines. You cannot machine quilt without a walking foot. You of course can hand quilt, but that's not my idea of a fun time!!!

I hope that has answered a couple of questions. Let me know what else you want to know, also PLEASE let me know if I have missed anything out OR have made a mistake....

(as always click on the photos for more detail)


Catherine said...

Great tutorial!! And thanks for the link!

Anonymous said...

Oh this is my dream.
I'm years away...if I ever reach it!

Gaynor said...

So that is selvidge means lol.
Many thanks..I am very greatful and thank you for putting the links in lol

Niki RuralWritings said...

cutting is the most difficult part of quilt making for me. Great tutorial, thanks Gill.

In your spare time ;) I'd love to see how that walking foot works. I also have a husqavarna machine and would like to buy that foot one of these days...although I didn't realize they were so dear!

Have a great day

Niki RuralWritings said...

Thanks for the info Gill. I certainly will check with my store, for used walking feet. My husband gave me my machine this past summer for my birthday, so I'm still becoming familiar with it. I'm very happy with it so far.


scrappy quilter said...

Great tutorial. You can also use a darning foot for quilting. It's not quite has expensive. Just make sure you get one that fits your machine. One other suggestion I would make is use good thread to quilt with. It makes all the difference when it comes to quilting a quilt.

Sandi McBride said...

I haven't quilted in years...I'm getting the itch now...first Sweetie, now you...yes, I may have to pull out the rag bag soon...I'll keep you posted

Rudee said...

Great tutorial Gill. You make it look so easy, yet the work you've shown looks so lovely and intricate.

Winifred said...

Thanks for this Gill it's really useful. I'm hoping to start machine quilting as I've only ever done patchwork by hand. I've never made a quilt by hand I might add. I'll have to see whether they make a walking foot for my ancient sewing machine.
I was wondering about the fabric. As you know it's very expensive here in the UK. I can't find anything under £8 a metre/yard.

I was rummaging in the drawers (as you do) the other day and found a lovely plain pale blue cotton double M&S continental quilt cover that I've never used and also a pair of beautiful satinised cotton white sheets. This set me thinking. I'm going to look at buying really good quality cotton flat sheets as you would get 2 yards length and a yard and a half width (more if you buy king size). Even good quality flat cotton percale sheets are pretty reasonable. Then I'd only have to buy the patterned fabric.

mommanator said...

I have figured out how you have so much time to be so creative. The weather keeps ya inside!

Tess said...

I wanted to try quilting, its just so impossible right now with my two kids at home and making dolls and bags, my schedule is full. You must be so good at quilting. Hope to see some of your finish quilts sometimes. Thanks for stopping by and leave a very nice comments.

fizzycat said...

A very informative tutorial. I'm going to read the recipes in your other post now ,they look very appetising.

cheshire wife said...

The results are beautiful but when do you get anything else done? It looks far more complicated than the Blue Peter method that I picked up years ago.

Caroline said...

Hi Gill
Thanks for playing Wednesday's Word I have yours & everbody elses meanings on my new post. Yours is linked back to you of course!!

Old Lady Lincoln said...

It's wonderful that you have a hobby like this. My Mother has made many quilts, the old fashion way. Pieces them all together by hand, then has these huge quilting frames she hooks the material to, and slowly but surely makes all the little stitches and ends up with a beautiful quilt. Several years ago, she put the frames away and said she's done making quilts. The old frames took up most of her one living room. Her fingers would get so tender and sore, even using thimbles. But the finished product was beautiful. For my 50th. birthday she gave me a huge quilt, large enough for a full size bed. She didn't ask what pattern I might like, and she made one called (I believe) the Bow Tie. It's very colorful and nice, but she also had one that looked like tulips and had a scalloped edging I liked very much, but I still love the quilt I have. And some nights when this old body is aching, I make that quilt into something like an envelope and crawl in and get myself all nice and snugly warm and it seems the old body stops aching. I hope you will show us a finished quilt.

Gill - That British Woman said...

thanks for all your lovely comments on today's post and thank you for taking the time to visit me.


Mean Mom said...

I very much admire patchwork, but I don't think that I will ever make anything of my own. I had a fascination for patchwork fabric sites, when I was making things for my dolls' house, as they were a very good source of cotton fabric. Did you know that people make one twelfth scale patchwork quilts for their dolls' houses?

scrappy quilter said...

I've noticed that Winifred mentioned sheets for quilting. I've use sheets for backing all the time. I've never used them for the top of the quilt, however a friend of mine owned a quilting store. The lady who lived over top of the store used sheets to make her quilt tops all the time and made beautiful quilts. My friend was always amazed at what she did with sheets to create beautiful quilts. She used sheets because she found the cost of material was quite expensive. Here we pay $12.95 - 17.95 a metre for material.

I think it would depend on the quality of sheet. When I use them for backing, I try to use a top quality sheet, just like I like used top quality material. There are definitely different qualities in material. I've seen some so flimsy and thin I would never use it in a quilt. It's the same with sheets.

Quilting is all about being creative. If using a sheet helps in the finances then I'd say go for it. Have fun being creative. I can't wait to see what Winifred creates with using sheets.

btw - Winifred, if you need any help, drop a comment off at my blog. I'll help anyway I can.

Betsy from Tennessee said...

You are a great teacher, Gill. I don't quilt--but I love to wrap up in one and look at them. Does that count??? ha

Thanks for helping so many rookie quilters with this wonderful tutorial.

Linda said...

Thank you Gill. My daughter has received some of those items and we don't know how to use them.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the article was very useful.