Hey! If you are just starting out with quilting and find that you’re overwhelmed with the sheer talent of almost everyone else around you, it is totally ok! I know exactly what you’re going through and I can help you get down some of the basics! Today I’m sharing my favorite Beginner Quilting 101 tips!
The first thing you’ll need to know is that a lot of quilters use shorthand in their patterns and it can almost look like another language if you’re unfamiliar with it.
I’ve put together a short video that goes over the most common terminology. If you’re still lost, check out this post, It has a long list of terms to help you out!
Quilting 101 Tips
1. Work within your skill level
The first thing you’ll want to do is make sure that you’re working with a pattern suited to your beginner skill level.
I know! Ther are so many amazing quilts out there and such CUTE patterns! I promise you will get to those someday really soon, but you’ll find them much more of a joy to work on if you get your basic skills down first.
You don’t want hours and money wasted on fabric that will leave you frustrated and wanting to pull your hair out or crumple it into a ball and throw it out the window. (but if you do, this post has some really good suggestions for what to do if you do hit that moment…)
What should you start with?
Start with patterns that are going to be easy to understand. Not complicated. Quilts that are going to give you that wonderful feeling of accomplishment and are going to make you giddy to start your next quilt!
I have several patterns that LOOK like you spent a lot of time and LOOK like they are really “fancy/artsy” but are actually really simple to make.
The quilt image below is a really fun and quick playmat sized quilt to make and it is a FREE download in my shop! Click here to download it for FREE.
I also have a FREE triangle pattern that you can download here.
2. Give yourself Grace
Experienced quilters know a thing (or 2) more than beginner quilters, but do you know what the most important thing to keep in mind is?
It is totally ok to mess up.
Just get out your seam ripper. Make a fuss and frown if you have to. Rip out those stitches and try again.
It’s ok. Really.
3. Make sure you have at least a few “made-for-quilting” tools on hand
Quilting can seem really expensive and overwhelming right at first. Don’t go out and buy everything you see unless you’re ready to spend a fortune!
Work on accumulating these important tools first! It’ll help you be a better quilter and save you hours of frustration in the long run.
4. Do push yourself to try new things.
The only way you’re going to be an amazing quilter is if you push yourself to try new things.
Do not go out and buy the hardest pattern you can find. This will end in frustration.
Gradually build your skills and your confidence as you work on slightly more difficult patterns and designs each time.
5. Make time to play
Especially when I first started quilting… I had big dreams of making everyone in my family quilts. My kids and my cousins etc etc… It was going to be grand!
Quilters are kind and generous people. We love to create and love to see the joy on other people’s faced when we give them a beautiful handmade quilt tailored especially for them!
All work and no play makes for an overworked and burnt out quilter!
Make time for something fun and small in-between your big projects. A wall quilt with your favorite fabric?
Maybe a new set of coasters for your living room? Perhaps you’ve admired hand quilting but a big quilt is overwhelming? Try out your curiosities on a smaller project to dip your toes into new waters!
6. Do not commit to a big project because it is what someone else wants!
Ok so I’m kind of adding in this one because of experience…
Live and learn, kids!
You don’t want to be cursing the name of the person who asked you to make a king-sized quilt for Christmas when it is October, right? Learn that it is ok to say no thank you to projects that you’re not ready for!
For more Quilter self-care tips, check out this post that I wrote…