Making a Quilt: Cut, sew, iron, cut

Okay so at this point you’ve either designed your quilt, found a pattern online, or decided to use mine. Time to get to the making!

You obviously first need to pick out whatever fabrics you’ve calculated for in your design. My pattern required five fabrics. In terms of picking fabrics, its mostly personal preference. The biggest mistake people make, though, is picking fabrics that are too similar. It is tempting to just grab a few fabrics that all go together, but then you won’t be able to see your pattern! When in doubt, go bold. Note: When I’m picking out my fabrics I pin a note on them indicating which color on my pattern they go to so I don’t get confused.

So now you have your fabrics and your pattern, time to start cutting! You’ll need a cutting mat, a big clear ruler, and a rotary cutter. Seriously don’t try cutting an entire quilt with scissors. Seriously.

For my quilt I need to cut three of the fabrics into seven 3″ strips each, and two of them into six 4.25″ strips. Aren’t they pretty?

Now we’re going to sew all of the fabrics into strips according to if they’re in block A or B. For the three fabrics that will comprise block A, sew them all into long strips. Then do the same for the 2 fabrics for block B.


Please excuse my weird looking fingers… and also make sure that the right sides of the fabric are together!

Once all of your strips are sewn together, its time to iron. A lot of people skip this step, but it is really important to help your fabrics lay flat when you’re cutting and sewing them. Quilting is all about making blocks line up and working with wonky un-flat fabrics makes that 10x harder.

What you want to do is place the fabric right-side down and iron the seam to one side or the other (doesn’t matter). When you’re done it should lay very flat.

Now that all of the fabric is ready, we’re going to cut it into squares. Lay each strip out onto the cutting board and make sure that one edge is straight, and then begin simply cutting 8″ lengths from all of them. You’ll then have all of the secondary squares you need for the quilt!

Trust me on this one… doing it this way takes significantly less time than if we’d cut out each individual piece of fabric for each secondary square then sewed them all together. I forgot to take a picture of this stage… but you’ll see lots of pics in the next post: deciding on a layout!

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