As I have said previously, all my patterns encourage you to be precise in making your ¼” seams and to press well as you go along. My patterns also give specific instructions on how to press.
In the quilt pictured here, these elements are important. Each row on the quilt has 20 squares and there are 16 rows. This means you are juggling 320 squares of fabric, so precision in sewing is mandatory. Knowing how to press so that the seams “kiss” when they come together is also important. It takes forethought which means it takes time. But that’s ok, speed is for race car drivers, not for quilt-makers.
These elements are vital for quilting at any level. Hopefully all quilters learn these things from the get go. Feeling as I do, here is the story of how my granddaughter made her first quilt:
I recently gave fourteen-year-old Tillie her first quilting lesson. It took place during a lockdown period in Ohio as COVID-19 swept through our region. Since we live in separate homes, we conducted our lessons via FaceTime, meeting twice a week with “homework assignments” given at each session.
The first thing I did was to have Tillie listen to me sew. Placing two pieces of fabric under the needle, I put the pedal to the metal and let the machine roar as I sewed the fabrics together. When finished, I told Tillie that was the first and last time she should hear that sort of a sound because it’s hard to guide the fabric that way, hard to make a perfect ¼” seam. Next, I sewed another two pieces of fabric together using a steady clack, clack, clack of my machine, as I easily guided the fabric to create my consistent ¼” seam.
If you wonder about Tillie’s first quilt, she used a jelly roll. First, she chose seven of the strips to hold aside for a variegated binding and then she sewed the remaining 33 strips together to create a 42” X 66” quilt top. Tillie chose to sew the strips together in the order they were placed in the jelly roll proceeding as follows:
- She used her ¼” presser foot and was careful to align the fabric with it.
- She pressed after each strip was added, always pressing the seam “up” so the top would be flat.
- She only added six strips to the quilt at a time. A bigger homework assignment might have caused her to sew F-A-S-T just to get done! This leisurely pace was intended to make the project doable and pleasurable.
By the time the quilt top was finished, Tillie had control of the sewing machine and the iron. After making her quilt sandwich with top, batting, and backing, her sharply pressed seams made it easy for her to stitch in the ditch to create the completed quilt.
Please visit my Etsy shop. You will find six quilt patterns for sale. (I also offer lots of quilt-related giftware.)
And, just for the record, here is Tillie’s quilt. I couldn’t convince her to be in the photo except for her hands and feet, but look at what a great job she did! The rows are straight! It’s a perfect rectangle! It is flat and not lumpy! And it has that adorable multi-colored binding! I am one proud Marmel (that’s what my grandkids call me)!