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This archived content is from Mary Wilkins’ sewing and quilting message board “Sew What’s New,” which was retired in August 2007. It is being provided by “Sew What’s Up,” which serves as the new home for many members of “Sew What’s New.”
From: Christine0329
Date: 02-21-2006, 02:35 PM (1 of 8)
I really need some basic information. I've attempted to make a few small quilts, two of which I trashed. Of the others, one looks real amateurish, another wasn't flat so could not be quilted, and another is with my MIL so I can't see it now to comment on how sorry it looks. Obviously I am doing something very wrong or leaving something out that is very important.
Directions tell you to make sure your fabric is straight before cutting, but I haven't seen directions that explain how you do that. So how do you do that especially on yards of a single fabirc?

Where do you start to cut the fabric? If you use the ruler/template to measure the width, you have to start with at least one edge that is truly straight. How do you do that if you shouldn't use the lines on the mat as a guide?

How do you get consistently sized blocks? I've worked on cutting the strips as accurately as I can, but still end up off a smidge or more. Sometimes my ruler will slip a little as I move up ruler with my hand to steady it. I put the nonskid dots on the back of one template, but don't like that because I then can't slide the template up if the fabric is longer than the template.

Should the template be longer than the piece of fabric that is to be cut?

When do you square up? I never seem to get a square block and squaring one up changes its size in relationship to all the others.

How do I consistently get 1/4 inch seams (or should they be a hair less than a 1/4 inch?)? I've used fabric guides but still get some inconsistent seams. I have a piecing foot but I've been under the impression I should use a walking foot so have been using that instead.

How do you properly press the seams without stretching the fabric?
Do you treat the fabirc with anything before cutting it-spray starch, regular starch, sizing, spray stabilizer, and/or fusible wash away stabilizer?

User: Christine0329
Member since: 01-23-2006
Total posts: 12
From: joannequilts
Date: 02-21-2006, 05:41 PM (2 of 8)
I have done this lesson on how the fabric comes out straight after the selvage has been lined up and cut:
User: joannequilts
Member since: 12-22-2000
Total posts: 3070
From: AdvaP
Date: 02-21-2006, 08:20 PM (3 of 8)
Joann's instructions are great :bluesmile
However, when I tried to learn the basics of quilting on my own, from books, it didn't work :bang: so I started taking classes.
It would be very difficult for me to answer your questions in writing. I highly recommend taking a beginners class(es), if available in your area.

Good luck
Adva Price
User: AdvaP
Member since: 10-15-2000
Total posts: 325
From: Magot
Date: 02-21-2006, 11:51 PM (4 of 8)
How are you doing? Nice to hear from you again after so long.
love and kisses, Jan
Cells a Speciality
DNA to order.
User: Magot
Member since: 12-22-2002
Total posts: 3626
From: joannequilts
Date: 02-22-2006, 05:00 AM (5 of 8)
Hi Jan, oh I'm hanging in there. Long road to recovery from complications.
User: joannequilts
Member since: 12-22-2000
Total posts: 3070
From: HeyJudee
Date: 02-22-2006, 07:41 AM (6 of 8)
Christine, Here is a site that has beginner video clips. Don't know if it will answer all of your questions. Have you tried googling for instructions. There are a lot of sites that have good beginner instructions. Basically whenever someone asks a question on how to do something, if I don't know of some instructions, I go to and come up with different sites. Hope this helps.
TTFN from
User: HeyJudee
Member since: 01-25-2005
Total posts: 1366
From: jenny-o
Date: 02-22-2006, 01:39 PM (7 of 8)
I have to say, the first quilt I ever made, I did pretty much everything the wrong, long and hard way (it still makes me cringe to remember). I had very nice books but for some reason the "real meaning" of what they were saying just didn't sink in. I took a beginner class after that and it was the best money I ever spent. I have quilted tons and tons since then (and all turned out beautifully I might add). There is something about making all the practice samples that makes the learning curve so great in a class. Don't give up!
User: jenny-o
Member since: 08-28-2005
Total posts: 132
From: Mariellen
Date: 03-03-2006, 09:07 PM (8 of 8)
Hi Christine,
My strong suggestion would be do take a beginners class. I just finished one and, if you don't look too closely at my points, my first quilt came out pretty nice. I would attach a pic but I don't know how. :) The pattern was Trip Around the World and I am already planning my next one. I was going to "teach myself" and after looking thru about 20 books was more confused when I started.
I took my class at my local Joanns and it was well worth the money. Good luck and keep us posted.
If I had known that grandchildren were so much fun, I would have had them first!!
User: Mariellen
Member since: 02-16-2006
Total posts: 58
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