Things I learned the hard way learning to quilt.

This quilt is named Trials and Tribulations…my first quilt for someone else(my son) no 2 blocks are the same size. The sashing around them are how I made them fit. Those are different sizes also.

I am a totally self taught quilter. I have sewed since I was about 9 or 10, and when I decided to make quilts I thought it would be a piece of cake. Read a pattern and follow it. Nothing to it. WRONG…. These are things I learned over the years by trial and error. Here are the most important thing I learned in the last 3 years(after 20 years of frustrations, ripping and many start overs)

  1. Needle… use the same size and type of needles. I thought with the exception of the size of the needle they are all the same. Just use the same size. NOPE brands may differ. NOW I start with a new package and use from that package all the way thru. Or if there are 3 needles in the package then fine, but I stick to the same brand for all my sewing.
  2. Rulers….I found out not all rulers measure the same and not only that not all rulers by the same manufactors are the same. I Always use the same ruler all thru that quilt process.
  3. Lining the ruler can make a big difference. I never thought where on the rule I put the edge of my fabric to measure the cut. I heard someone say how they put tape where they line the ruler up to cut, now I do this. It can add up to being wonky.
  4. When everyone says to press PRESS!. They didn’t tell me this because they liked to iron.
  5. Trim blocks to the finished size. There are some short cuts, but not all short cuts(like not trimming, or eyeballing the block) are good.
  6. When putting rows together make sure they are all lining up together as you go.
  7. Purchase at least 1/2 yd more than the pattern says just incase you measure wrong. You may not be able to find the same fabric you are using..
  8. Seams…This is where I have had the hardest time until I got my 1/4″ foot. I tried taping a marking on the machine, marking the regular foot. Using the 1/4 ” foot it is easier to keep them consistant.

I hope this makes sense as I was explaing this to a friend who wants to learn how to quilt. Do you have any suggestions to add to this? These are things I never thought about but in the end drove me crazy trying to fix.

I am glad I am still learning everyday.

Published by onecreativefamily

We are a multi generation team. We create different things and a lot of times we have fun creating with 3 generations of people. That is how we came up with our name because as you will see we are "One Creative Family". Please feel free to join us :)

14 thoughts on “Things I learned the hard way learning to quilt.

  1. A useful list and there would be lots of other tips I could add if they would only come to me 🙄. I am very good at learning tips and tricks and then immediately forgetting them. Which is why I could also say I’m still learning 🤣


  2. If something comes out too small by 1/8” or less you can fix it by moving it over a little so the raw edges are offset a little; i.e., put ot where it would be if it were the right size rather than lining up the raw edges even.


  3. This is a good list…I’ve learned several of these the same way – trial and error :-/ A few others for me: I now clean the lint out of my sewing machine after each project (don’t wait for it to start acting up!). If my machine starts skipping stitches I remove both top and bobbin thread, put in a new needle and rethread. Too many times I’ve tried just one of these and only doing all three fixes my issue 😉 And lastly, I’ve learned to embrace the ‘wonky’…I’m not submitting any of my quilts to be judged in shows so there’s no need to worry about every seam lining up or every block being perfectly made. I aim for ‘good enough’ and I’ve gotten raved reviews from the recipients of my quilts 😀


  4. A good list! To #1 I would add REPLACE your needles every 10 hrs of sewing. Skipped stitches, shredding and breaking can also mean your needle is dull. People try to go cheap using their needles too long and can cause themselves a lot of heart break for a 25 cent needle. I would also add to take a photo of your layout. You can spot a block laid out the wrong way. And if you get lost later, you have a reference photo of the correct layout.


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