This is a good design for a beginning quilter. A lap quilt (58" x 74") is a good size to start with because it's not too big. I like to use 8 inch squares.
This size quilt has 72 squares. You may want to add another row if you are tall.
If you are cutting your own fabric, and you are using 8 inch squares, you will want to purchase 1/2 a yard of 9 to 12 different fabrics. 1/2 a yard will give you 10 - 8 inch squares of that fabric. This is a little more fabric than you will need, but it gives you some options when you are laying your quilt out.
If you have a hard time choosing fabrics that look good together, you can purchase a group of coordinating fabrics. They come in a package already pre-cut. For an 8 inch square quilt, I purchase 2 "Layer Cakes" (10 inch squares pre-cut).
To get a good look at coordinating fabrics, I like to go to fatquartershop.com. At the top left of their website, you will see "specialty cuts". Click on "charm packs" and scroll through to the end for a good selection of your latest coordinating quilting fabrics.
I do NOT like to wash my fabrics until my quilt is finished. Start by pressing your fabric, USE STARCH. I like Niagra non-aerosol spray starch found at my local Randalls grocery store. Its cheap and smells lovely!
Lay your fabrics over a chair after pressing.
You will need to cut your fabric using a rotary cutter, mat and rulers. I don't have a good on-line tutorial for cutting, have a quilting friend teach you or ask a happy person at your local quilt shop.
After cutting your 8 inch squares, lay them out on the floor. Move squares around until you have contrasting fabrics next to each other. If you have a figure in your design such as the scooters in the picture below, place them all right side up. Think about things like: do I want the stripes going in the same direction? do I want a pattern or randomness? are the darks balanced? are my focal prints balanced?
If you are struggling with the lay-out of your fabrics, leave it for a while, or ask another person's opinion. When you are happy with the placement of your squares, you can start to sew.
Decide ahead exactly what your seam allowance will be, I use 1/4". All seam allowances must be the same or your rows will not match up when you sew them together.
Begin with the top row, sewing the squares together. After you have finished the first row, press your seams in the same direction, then lay that row back down in it's place. After you finish sewing the 2nd row, press your seams in the opposite direction. Continue to the bottom of your quilt.
Sewing rows together:
Take your top 2 rows. Placing right sides together, pin at the intersections after butting those 2 seams together. If your fabric tends to shift when you sew, you may want to pin in-between the seams also.
I used my regular sewing machine to quilt this design. Day Style Designs has good basics on free motion quilting with your regular sewing machine. Here is a link to her motion free quilting designs on flickr.
Ready for binding? Follow this post. Stripes make a fun border. Scrappy borders are also fun, especially with the 8 inch beginner quilt.
Create a quilting file system:
As a beginning quilter, start book-marking the sites that seem to help you. Label your book marks in a way so you can find them in the future, for example: quilts I like, tutorials, blogs I like etc.
Here are some more links for beginning quilters:
Missouri Quilt Company - has a video tutorial on just about everything.
Cherry Pie is a beginner quilt by "crazy mom quilts".
crazymomquilts FAQ -great info there!
Oh Frasson has a post titled Quilt Making Basics with some great links to posts.
Strip quilts make good beginner quilts.
"crazy mom quilts" has a lot of information on her blog. Use her search engine to look for what you need help with.
WARNING: This disclaimer is to notify you that quilting, fabric, colors, designs, shapes etc, can become addicting. Remember moderation in all things is the best policy.
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