Thursday, February 16, 2012

What I learned from sewing my first quilt

In creating my first quilt I learned many new things… a lot of which were just dumb mistakes in my part, but I will know better for next time!  So today I will share with you the very important things I learned.
1.  When deciding how much fabric to purchase, make sure to account for ALL of the fabrics you are thinking of using.
                I thought I was soooo smart when I was in JoAnn’s buying the fabric for the quilts.  I had decided I wanted to make a 6x6 quilt with each square being 6”x6”.  So I did some mental (and written… and calculatored) math and figured out that I needed about a yard and a quarter of fabric.  I made sure to add in the seam allowance (I guessed about ½” on each side to I would need each square to be 7”x7” before any sewing).  I was right about that part… however, I completely failed to realize that I needed a yard and a half (hey I wanted a little leeway) TOTAL between the two fabrics I wanted to use.  I bought fabric for (in my mind) two quilts, a boy one and a girl one.  Well I really ended up with (according to my new calculations) enough fabric to make at least 2 to 3 of each the boy and girl quilts.  That is a LOT of extra fabric.
2.  When deciding (and making sure you have enough fabric) how big to make the squares make sure to take into account how many other fabrics you will be using.
                Yes.  This was the moment I realized I had bought that super huge amount of fabric that I didn’t actually need.  I measured and was sad because I didn’t buy “enough” of the fabric to make the 7”x7” squares that I wanted.  So I decided I would be okay with a 6”x5” square and I started using my fabulously new cutting mat.  Shortly after the bf walked by and asked why I was cutting them at 6” when it should have been 7”.  I explained my dilemma and he slowly (not because he is dumb but because he didn’t want me to get mad at him) mentioned how I had the other set of fabric.  And Ta Da!! My ah ha moment.  So I now have a nice little pile of 6”x7” squares that I can not use for these quilts.
3.  When deciding how to cut the squares for a quilt, really think about how many you have to cut out.
                As I mentioned above I bought a self-healing cutting mat from JoAnn’s.  I watched Ellie use one when she made the bf’s quilt and I was hooked.  I am so glad I bought one too because even using the cutting mat it took FOREVER to cut out 3 yards of fabric (remember I over bought what I needed by a yard and a half.  So I suggest deciding if you want to cut out all of your fabric with scissors or use a coupon and buy the mat… I vote mat!
4.  When sewing the rows of fabric together be very careful to line up the pattern correctly when pinning.
So here are my rows of fabric laying in the order they should be sewn in (I was going for the stripes to go opposite of the row before).
Well somehow in pinning them I got two of them mixed up and ended up with this:
So I sewed the two double rows together that were correct, seam ripped the wrong one, and pinned it onto the now 4 row piece.  Well, I was not very happy with myself when I realized after sewing them on that I pinned them wrong again!
After more seam ripping and very careful pinning I finally managed to get the rows right.
5.  When sewing the quilted lines make sure not to run out of bobbin thread.
                So I was about half way through sewing the quilted lines when I realized that I ran out of bobbin thread.  So I had to restart the thread and it ended up not looking so nice.  But that was the only time I ran out of thread because I made sure to completely fill the bobbin.
6.  When sewing bias tape find a good way to end one piece and start a new one.
                I have yet to figure out how to fix this problem, but I have some ideas.  I will make sure to do some experimenting when I sew my next quilt.
Thanks for reading!

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