How to Make a Patchwork Quilt
How to make a patchwork quilt top using a sewing machine
Sewing a patchwork quilt top is very easy. The process is very easy: Cut. Repeat: (pin, sew, iron). If that explanation is detailed enough for you, go forth and make your very first quilt! If not, a more detailed explanation can be found below.
Choose an easy design to start off with. The simplest pattern is the Four Patch block – it’s what I used for my first quilt and we’re going to be using it in the tutorial. First, download the Four Patch block pattern. It’s basically a 3 inch square with a quarter inch seam allowance (the standard in quilting). This square will be what you’ll cut around so that every square of fabric is the same size.
Choose your fabrics – you may want to use just two different fabrics, or you may want to use lots of different ones. Cotton (or polycotton) is good for patchwork. Don’t use stretchy fabrics – things like t-shirts will be hard to sew. And try and use similar types of fabric – sewing material from a pair of jeans with material from a silk tie won’t work.
Next, lay your pattern on top of the fabric and cut out your squares. Be as neat and precise as possible. A good pair of sharp sewing scissors will help you do this, or if you want an easier way, use a rotary cutter – they’re extremely useful!
Once you’ve cut them out, arrange them on a table, floor or bed. You may want them in a particular order, or just randomly placed. Have a look and smile. This is what your finished quilt is going to look like. How lovely!
Take the two squares from the top left of your quilt.
Each type of fabric has two sides. One side is patterned.
Place them with the patterns facing. Pin them with the pin head (the circle bit!) nearest you, and the bulk of the fabric on the left. This is sew you can take out the pin easily, pulling away from the sewing machine needle (safety first!), and so you can see and use the measuring plate on your machine to keep a consistent seam.
Set the stitch length on your machine to 3 or 2.5. You don’t want long stitches because the wadding might try and escape through the holes! Sew it. Do a few stitches backwards and then forwards at the end to reinforce the seam. Beautiful!
Next, it’s time for ironing. Iron the seams flat – one to the left and one to the right.
Place the finished rectangle back with the rest of the quilt.
Take the two square below that and repeat the pinning and sewing stages.
Now you have two rectangles done. And if you sew those two rectangles together you will get a four patch square. This is known as a block. Yes, you will have made your first ever quilt block!
Lay the two rectangles together, with the patterns facing each other and pin with in the middle where the seams meet (a quarter inch in of course!). Now, have a cheeky peek to see whether the seams in the middle are lined up – if not re-pin.
Once you’ve sewn it, iron the seams flat.
Repeat until your quilt is made of 4 patch blocks.
The last step is to sew your 4 patch quilt blocks together. I like to do this in rows. So, sew your first quilt block to the second. Then the second to the third, until you have one big row. Repeat this down the quilt, until it’s just one big row party.
Finally, sew your rows together. Pin on each seam. And sew until your heart’s content… and you’ve completed your quilt. Sew flat and voila! Your very own patchwork quilt top.