I got my first sewing machine a few years ago and started re-learning how to sew. I made some simple pajama bottoms and things, but I still wanted to learn how to quilt. So, I went to a quilt show hoping to learn something, but it was a bit overwhelming. I didn't really know anything, but I bought a pattern that seemed simple and thought I'd figure it out. I made the quilt top, but then it took me several more months to get brave enough to figure out how to do the actual quilting. But, in the end, all it takes is a little determination, some equipment and time to watch a few youtube videos!
I love quilting because as a busy stay at home Mom, it's something that can be worked on in short spurts if you need to. It's easy to cut fabric or sew for 30 minutes (or even less!) if that's all the time you have at any given moment, and then it can easily be picked up again the next time you have some free moments. And, in the end you have something really wonderful and special to give to someone. You can make other things, too, like purses, wall hangings, placemats, or whatever your heart desires. Here are my suggestions on how to get started.
1. You need a sewing machine, and you need to know how to use it. Classes are often offered at craft stores or sewing machine stores. My first machine was a very simple one my Mom me bought me at Wal-Mart for Christmas one year. I took a class to learn the basics, and then my 7th grade memory kicked in. But, when I started actually quilting, it didn't work so I upgraded to a nicer machine and classes are offered at that store to learn the machine. I haven't been able to take one yet, but I got a quick overview when I made the purchase. Also, the user's manual has been helpful! You can hand quilt, but I don't know anything about that, so youtube videos and books may be your best friend!
2. Supplies: You'll need some basic supplies like a rotary cutter to cut fabric, a cutting mat so you don't damage your table, some quilting rulers so you cut straight and an iron. It's important to iron fabric so the fabric is cut straight. Seams also need to be ironed flat. You can pick up other supplies for quilting and cutting as you learn. It's very addictive, and amazon is a great way to avoid a trip to the store if you know exactly what you need.
3. Books: I think books are a necessity. I like to look at pictures, color combinations and ideas. It's also nice to have a few reference books for when you aren't sure what a word means or if you need a quick reminder on how to do something. I'll link to a few of my favorites below.
4. Youtube videos: If you can't take classes for whatever reason, youtube videos are great! I learned how to bind my quilts via youtube, and it's really helpful to watch a demonstration of exactly what you need at that moment. I've been quilting and stopped to watch videos in the middle to make sure I'm doing things correctly. Missouri Star Quilt Co. has an amazing tutorial collection online as well as a fabulous website. Start searching and you'll find many great resources.
5. Fabric: It's easy to lose yourself in fabric. There are so many beautiful fabrics and possibilities! I like to buy precut fabric packs and then use a pattern that is made for pre-cuts. There's a great book I'll link to below that uses precut fabrics for quilts. I think it's a great way to start because it's a little less intimidating. Plus, you know all the fabrics match when you buy precuts. You can then buy several yards from the same fabric line for the backing. And, it's very simple to shop from home from any online fabric shop! There aren't nearly as many options in the local shops around where I live.
6. Desire: If you want to do it, you can do it! It's not as hard as it seems! I can barely do the simplest free-motion quilt pattern, but the more I practice the better I'll get - at least that's my hope! It's also really fun to attend a quilt show or join a guild. Guilds offer many interesting workshops and classes. Plus it's a great way to meet people and see lots of quilt styles! There's probably one in your area or close by, so just google it!
If you're a quilter, I'd love to see a photo of your favorite (or first!) quilt you've made! Also, I will post some links to my favorite quilting books that I have and use frequently. I highly recommend them as great references in your library!