Even though everything can be sewn with a sewing machine, a hand-made quilt provides an incomparable finishing. That is why hand-quilting is one of the most popular sewing-related activities nowadays. People always claim their favorite quilts to be hand-quilted. Something which makes us proud is that quilting is now not just limited to our grandparents; teenagers are finally realizing the creativity in quilting—and we would do all we could to help. So, this article is all about telling you how to hand quilt grandmother’s flower garden by yourself.
Now, let’s make one thing clear: hand quilting is a bit ancient technique, but it’s worth it—and you will realize it when you are done with your fine job. Yes, I used the word “ancient” there because quilting is probably a couple of thousand years old, at least. Researchers claim that Egyptian pharaohs used to wear quilted cloaks. However, we don’t exactly know how they quilted their clothes; we know how to hand quilt our own—it’s a pretty straightforward process.
What Do You Need to Learn How to Hand Quilt?
You need the following things to get started with the quilting process.
When it comes to quilting, there is a wide variety of needles available. Your choice of needles depends on the type of material you are going to use for quilting. However, to be safe, you should start with a larger variety of needles—that means size 9 or size 10. These sizes are best for beginners and allow them to be quilt without complications.
As your technique improves, you can gradually switch to smaller needles.
For quilting, cotton threads are the best. Cotton is also the most common choice when it comes to quilting. Make sure that you are using 100% cotton threads—not mixed. However, if you plan to use your quilt back to back—and wash it regularly—you should consider polyester threads.
Polyester threads can be a better choice in case of rough use because polyester is not as delicate as cotton; it can sustain through washing.
Which fabric you want to use is up to you. Natural fibers are the most common choice among quilting enthusiasts—and they work best, without a doubt. As for knits, they stretch a lot. Knits can make it a bit difficult for you to work with them. When knits stretch and your fabric is loosely woven, it will lose its shape. But as you are a beginner, you can give knitting a try and see how well you can work with it.
4. Regular Accessories
Apart from needles, threads, and fabric, you would also need regular sewing/quilting accessories. That includes scissors, pins, a ruler, and clips. Apart from these mainstream sewing accessories, many quilting-special tools can help you in your quilting project.
These tools are thimble, rotary cutter (something used as an alternative to scissors), seam ripper, quilting hoop, cutting mat, and iron.
Usually, all quilting tools are not available to beginners—especially a quilting hoop—because of which people ask, “How to hand quilt without a hoop.” Well, a hoop isn’t necessary. People use it because it adds convenience, a lot—it can carry the weight of quilting for you, so you don’t necessarily have to bear the weight along with quilting.
But, yes, if you are willing to quilt without a hoop, you can. However, as a beginner, a hoop is recommended.
Later, when you get considerably better at quilting, you can ditch the hoop and learn how to hand quilt with a frame.
How to Hand Quilt—5 Steps to Ideal Quilting
When we talk about quilting, there are no limitations. Everyone chooses a different technique and different style to hand quilt. However, as a beginner, the only thing you need to worry about is that you would have to sew through 3 layers of the quilt, and we have made it easier for you to do that—in just 5 simple steps.
First, cut an 18-inch long thread, approximately, and tie the know at the one end. Insert the needle, not through backing and batting, but through the top—do it at the inch or two from where you were going to start.
Now, give a little tug to the knot to make it pop through the quilt. At that point, your knot would be hidden inside the quilt.
In this step, you are going to make your very first stitch. Keep your sewing hand above the quilt and the other beneath. To start the stitch, pierce the needle into the quilt layers, and keep piercing until you feel the sharped side of the needle touches your hand that is beneath the quilt.
But don’t completely push the needle through; pull it back again from the top. Now, with your finger underneath, push back the needle up. Now, push the needle through.
Voila! Your first stitch is done.
The correct way to sew/quilt is to do multiple stitches at a time, typically. When you push back the needle up the quilt, you shouldn’t push all the way through. If you just push out the required length and pierce it again into the fabric, you can do more than one stitch at once.
Hand quilting becomes complicated when you focus on the stitch lengths. Even though we all like our stitches small, it is tough to maintain the evenness of them. It is recommended that you start with 6 stitches per inch, roughly, and maintain this frequency throughout the whole project.
As your quilting skills get better, you can try to improve the frequency too, aiming for 8 or 12 stitching per inch. Remember, if the stitches are packed and closed, your quilt won’t be woven loosely.
When you are done with your stitches, tie the know, and follow the same pop-and-tug and technique.
Congratulations, now you know how to hand quilt easily. Good luck with your quilting project.
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