Start Here – Quilting 101

New to quilting? Looking for some help with the basic skills and terms? Start here! Quilting tips tricks and little bits of inspiration for the newbie to intermediate quilter.

  • 5 Things I WISH Someone Had Told Me As A New Quilter

    Are you a new quilter? Then make sure to read this post for some words of wisdom that you might not be hearing enough!

    If this is your first time here, I’m Christen and I love sharing tips, tricks, and tutorials for the modern quilter. Here you’ll find everything I’ve learned from my own quilting mistakes and disasters, so you don’t have to make those mistakes yourself. 

    Here are my top 5 tips for brand-new quilters. 

    Tip #1: Doing is your best teacher

    Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that if you watch YouTube videos and do a lot of research, you’ll learn all you need to know and skip the beginner stage. It’s not going to happen. You have to do the work and make mistakes in order to get better at your craft. Sadly, there are no shortcuts. 

    Tip #2: You can’t avoid making mistakes

    The only way you are going to learn and get better is by making mistakes, undoing them, and then doing things correctly. After the third time you’ve made the same mistake, you’ll learn how not to make it a fourth time. 

    But even then you’re not done, because it’s highly likely you’ll make the same mistake sometime in the future. It’s always a land of the unknown when you start working on a new quilt pattern.

    Tip #3: Don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle

    Don’t compare the beginning of your journey in the quilting world to the middle of another experienced quilter’s journey. They’ve dealt with things you haven’t seen yet, and they know how to do things because they’ve done them many, many times (and made their share of mistakes too).

    Keep quilting, keep going. Eventually, you’ll leave the frustration of the beginner stage behind.

    Tip #4: Don’t have too many teachers

    There comes a point when you can have too many teachers because there are many ways to do the same task. If you’re learning from YouTube or you have a group of quilters in your neighborhood, they might all be teaching you different ways to do the same thing. 

    It’s awesome to know there are different ways of doing things, and it’s good to figure out which way works for you, but you don’t have to know absolutely everything to do one task. Once you’ve figured out what works for you, follow that. 

    Find the 10-15 people that are most like you and what you want to be, and gain knowledge from them. 

    Learn their tips, tricks, and methods they use, and stay focussed on them because that’s going to get you closer to your end goal. Let the others fall into the background. 

    Quilters are generous with their advice, but while all that knowledge is good to have, too much information can be overwhelming. You don’t need to know everything all at once. 

    Choose to learn piece by little bitty piece. The rest will be there whenever you’re ready for it.

    Tip #5: Accuracy is in the details

    I know there are a lot of moving parts to a quilt, from choosing fabrics to cutting and everything in between, but accuracy is crucial. Paying attention to the details like a quarter-inch seam or ensuring your pieces are cut accurately makes all the difference to the end product. 

    When I first started quilting, I couldn’t understand why my piecing was off when I came to the end of the quilt. But when someone explained it to me, I realized I wasn’t being 100% accurate with my seam allowance and cutting. Even a tiny bit of extra fabric can add up when you have multiple pieces. 

    If you’re struggling with accuracy, practice on simpler patterns to get those skills under your belt before moving on to bigger ones.

    Quilting can be a daunting task, but with practice and these tips, you can become a confident quilter. Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty, make mistakes, go at your own pace, focus on the quilters you want to learn from, and pay attention to the details. Happy quilting!

    Next steps

    Make sure your first finished project stays looking as beautiful as the day you completed it with our Quilt Care 101 Guide. Download this FREE resource at

    Are you a new quilter? Then make sure to read this post for some words of wisdom that you might not be hearing enough!
  • Are Walmart Fabrics Worth it for Quilters?

    I’m often asked, “Are Walmart fabrics worth it for quilters,” and I know I’m going to get flack however I respond. So, I’d like to begin this article by saying I want this to be a friendly conversation with you.

    Readers ask — what types of fabric should I buy? Is it okay to spend less than $15 a yard on fabric? Is it okay to buy the cheap stuff? What if I find something on sale? — so, I want to know what you think, and if your opinion is different from mine.

    If this is your first time here, my name is Christen. I love modern quilting and sharing my tips, tricks, and tutorials.

    If you’d rather watch than read, I have a short video on this subject as well.

    My Pioneer Woman/Walmart fabric purchase!

    The first thing you need to know is I’m from Texas. I love being Southern and country, and I also really love the Pioneer Woman. I love her recipes, and now she has a whole new line of fabric at Walmart that I had to take a look at.

    Since I have been making quilts with the intention of them being high quality and lasting longer than myself, I have always gone for the more expensive fabrics. When I buy cheaper materials, I typically use those on zipper pouches or smaller projects.

    The image below is similar to what I bought from the Pioneer Woman’s fabric range. 

    These stacks of Southern fabrics, featuring pretty flowers and vibrant colors, are absolutely beautiful! 

    Let me do a quick calculation here. If you buy a collection of 30 fat quarters from this range, the price comes out at around $1.25 apiece. This is really inexpensive when you consider that quarters from a higher quality fabric shop run between $2-3 apiece.

    Are Walmart Fabrics Worth it when you're looking to create a high-quality quilt, or is it better to pay a little more to get the quilt shop quality fabric?

    Potential issues with lower-cost quilting fabrics

    The first thing I must say is the quality of fabric and dyes have come a very long way. However, there is always the possibility of color bleed.

    Of course, this could be prevented by pre-washing your fabrics. Although some people feel very strongly about this, I personally don’t pre-wash … ever. To be honest, I’m lucky to keep on top of the regular laundry without adding fabric pre-washing to my list of chores — it’s just not one of my priorities.

    Instead, I rely heavily on the Shout Color Catcher Dye Trapping Sheets when I wash my quilts and try to make sure I use high-quality fabrics that aren’t going to bleed.  

    When I look at the range of fabrics in the Pioneer Women stacks, I notice there are some very strong colors alongside fabrics that are essentially white. There is potential for these strong dyes to leak into the washing machine water and get absorbed by the paler fabrics. The end result might not be exactly what you envisioned!

    This is the exact reason Color Catchers are so important. If I had a quilt with a deep magenta fabric next to a light floral, I might use up to 10 Color Catcher sheets on the first wash.

    Durability & longevity of quilts made from affordable fabrics

    I have nothing against buying cheaper fabrics if that’s what allows you to enjoy quilting and do what you love. But you might notice cheaper material is less tightly woven and not as thick as more expensive cloth.

    Will a quilt made from Walmart fabric last a long time? I don’t know. Time will tell.

    When I’m creating a quilt from more affordable fabrics, I’m probably not going to create a quilt that’s the most amazing I’ve ever made. With cheaper material, the pattern I choose might not be super-complicated, and it might be the type of quilt we use outside for picnics or at the beach, guilt-free. The quilt is still handmade with a lot of love, but it’s designed to take more of a beating from the weather and the kids’ dog.

    If I’m going to invest 600+ hours into making a quilt, I’m going to buy the best quality cloth I can afford to ensure the quilt will wash well and last a long time.

    Perspectives on low vs. high-quality quilt fabrics  

    I would really love to know your thoughts on this subject.

    ·         What is your budget per yard of fabric? Do you spend $10-12 or $3-4?

    ·         Do you like a bargain or go for the highest quality available?

    ·         Do you stick to your budget or do you fall in love with a color/design and think about price later?

    ·         Is there really a difference between lesser and higher quality cloth?

    ·         What do you think about the Pioneer Woman line?

    Please let me know in the comments. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

    I know everyone’s opinion is different, but if we’re all nice, we can have a polite discussion about this interesting topic. I’m looking forward to hearing from you.

    Are Walmart Fabrics Worth it when you're looking to create a high-quality quilt, or is it better to pay a little more to get the quilt shop quality fabric?

    Next steps

    If you’re looking for more quilting tips, tricks and tutorials to improve your work and increase your confidence, be sure to check out my Quilty Tutorials playlist on YouTube.And if you really want to get better in the quickest time possible, have a look at my foundation skills quilting course, Modern Quilting Made Easy designed especially for people just starting out.

  • How to Sew Your First Quilt Project: Tips for New Quilters

    Quilting is one of my favorite creative hobbies and my favorite way to express love to my family and friends. When you’re first starting out, it can feel overwhelming. In this blog post, I will teach you everything you need to know about sewing your first project. From start to finish, I’ve got you covered! Follow these tips and tricks to make your first quilt!

    Tips for New Quilters:

    The first thing you’re going to want to do when you decide to make your first quilt (or even second or third – Quilting take practice!) is to choose a pattern that is simple.

    I have several free pattern downloads available for you on my website. Check out some of these patterns down below for easy beginner patterns:

    Choosing Your Pattern:

    The perfect pattern is going to be one that feels a little bit scary and overwhelming but not utterly impossible to work on.

    If you pick a pattern that is TOO complex for your skill level, you can guess what is going to happen, right? You’ll be in over your head and you’ll just spend time being frustrated… possibly wasting money on fabric too.

    It’s not worth it!

    Choose a pattern that is going to give you the confidence boost you need and get started on your quilt! The sooner you start, the better. You will be so proud of yourself when you finish AND if this project goes well, then other bigger projects are sure to follow soon… 🙂

    The second step to getting started on your first quilt project is to pick out the right fabric! This can feel like a daunting task, but don’t worry – there are plenty of resources to help you out!

    Each quilt pattern should give you the exact fabric requirements you will need in the instructions. These are the measurements that you take with you to the fabric store!

    If shopping for fabrics is rather new for you – try to find a pattern that uses “precut fabrics” or a selection of fabrics that are already designed to go together.

    I love the fabric bundles that my friends over at pineapple fabrics have going on! I usually already have an idea in mind for my quilts, but sometimes it is really nice to just skip the phase of deciding which fabrics I like the best and just start sewing!

    Click here to shop the Pineapple Fabrics Website.

    Cutting Your Fabrics

    Once you’ve chosen your fabric, it’s time to start cutting. The most important thing when cutting is to make sure all of your pieces are the same size. You can do this by using a quilters ruler and a rotary cutter.

    Precise measurements will ensure an even and precise quilt top. Trust me… all the little details matter when it comes to the finished quilt! Take your time to get this step right!

    These are the tools I recommend and use for cutting my fabrics.

    Rotary cutters/blades work really well with quilting rulers! A good pair of scissors – There’s nothing worse than trying to sew a bunch of pieces together and then realizing you don’t have sharp enough fabric scissors… trust me, sewers worst nightmare! Here are my other recommendations for quilting tools.

    Piecing Your Fabric

    The next thing you’ll need to prepare your first quilt is to piece the fabric together!

    This is what gives your quilt top its design and shape.

    There are a few different ways to sew your fabrics together. You can opt to hand sew or machine stitch your fabric together. Most of my tutorials and videos are machine piecing. I find this works the fastest and most accurate for me.

    So there you have it! The steps to sew your first quilt project. I hope this was helpful and gave you the confidence boost you need to get started.

    Looking for more help?

    My most important advice when sewing your first quilt project is to TAKE YOUR TIME. There is no rush, this isn’t a race! Enjoy the process and be proud of every step you take. You’re well on your way to becoming a quilter!

    Also, do not give up. Find a friend who sews that you cal call on if you run into any issues. It makes all the difference in the world to have someone to call when you run into trouble! If you don’t know anyone else who quilts – use the contact me form on my website. I’m happy to help!

    Happy Sewing!


    You can find more free quilt patterns on these blog posts:

    Want to make your own DIY quilted floor pillow? I had such an overwhelming response to the fun pillow that I made, I created a pattern to share for FREE!
  • 6 Habits That Make More Time For Creativity!

    How is your schedule feeling lately?

    Are you running around crazy busy or are you feeling settled, happy and balanced?

    Every year I fall into the trap of thinking that “once summer break is over”… “once the kids go back to school”… “once I get caught up on all the things I put off over the summer”… THEN I’ll have more time to play and create.

    Yes, it is allllll good for about a day and then I start to feel the pressure of after-school activities and strict schedules to adhere to and you know what?… the holiday season is just around the corner too… I had better start thinking about getting organized for that! 🤷‍♀️ It is an endless trap

    Don’t let yourself get trapped!

    Start re-evaluating your thought process today with these 6 steps. If you can’t FIND time for creativity… you have to MAKE it happen 🤩

    6 Habits To Make More Time For Creativity

    1. Decide which area of being creative brings you the most joy.

    I love to dabble in a lot of different areas of crafting. I do. But it makes it really hard to be successful in any of them if I get to them only a few times a year. I suggest picking a few main areas of focus and occasionally subbing in a new interest every now and then.

    2. Get to bed early.

    I’ve had my fair share of super late-night creativity parties! That used to be my “power hour”. They’re wonderful when you’re in the moment and inspired and having a blast… but morning eventually comes and your next day going to work or dealing with errands/chores can feel like it drags on and on. – Get your rest so that creativity time doesn’t cause such an interruption to the rest of your life.

    3. Schedule a regular date with yourself.

    Mark it on your calendar and treat it like you would any other important appointment. This can be a weekly evening sewing hour or a Friday afternoon after you’ve picked up the house. Don’t cancel it. 

    4. Take 5 minutes to clean up your space before you get all creative.

    Creating in a messy zone is something we’ve become accustomed to, but it can hinder your energy and ability to reach your full productive self! Check out: How to quickly clean your sewing space

    5. Really encourage your friends and family to do things that matter to them.

    Be that cheerleader. Encourage them to take care of themselves and practice self-care. The more you see the need for it in other people, the easier it is to see the need for it in yourself.

    6. Don’t feel guilty.

    Don’t do it. You can’t let yourself go down that path of feeling like you’re not cut out for it. If you have a calling to be creative and it brings you joy… ENJOY IT! Don’t make time for it and then feel guilty that you did it. That’s a harsh cycle to fall into, isn’t it?   … This brings me a great video that I created 🥳 It’s a good one!

    I hope that these 6 habits to make more time for creativity are helpful to you! I hope that you work your schedule around so that you have more time to be creative!

    Leave me a comment down below if you have more ideas to add. I would love to hear them!

    I’ll talk to you soon!


  • Free Quilt Projects: Jelly Roll Precuts

    Do you love quilts? The vast majority of us do! It’s not hard to see why either. They offer a quick, easy way to create something beautiful and cozy. In this blog post, I’m going to share some of my favorite free patterns for quilt projects made with jelly roll precuts. This includes links to 11 different tutorials that are both easy and beginner-friendly!

    What are Jelly Roll precuts?

    A jelly roll is a type of precut fabric grouping. They come in many different colors, sizes, styles, or themes. In most cases, they measure 2.5″ x 42″ (or the width of fabric).

    My favorite Free Jelly Roll projects!

    1. The Jelly Roll Race Quilt

    The easiest and most straightforward Jelly roll project is a Jelly Roll race quilt. It is a traditional quilt pattern that is usually made with two or more jelly rolls.

    I love using this random pattern for a palette cleanser between larger quilt patterns. Why? because it is a quick sew, but also… there is so little tedious work within this quilt!

    You don’t have to worry about corners matching up or where you’re going to place your fabric… you just have to trust me on this one and get yourself a few Jelly Roll Precuts to play with! This quilt flows together effortlessly!

    I have a full video tutorial on youtube here.

    2. Jelly Roll Throw/Floor Pillow

    This is a great beginner quilt pattern and is really easy to make. This beginner-friendly tutorial for making a quilted throw pillow/floor out of jelly roll strips.

    Bonus: The texture of this pillow is SO comfy.

    This started out as just a play project that I made for fun, but I had such amazing feedback that I turned it into a free download Pattern for you. (yes, that’s one of my puppies. His name is Butters and he loves to find all the soft things to lay on!)

    Want to make your own DIY quilted floor pillow? I had such an overhwlemling response to the fun pillow that I made, I created a pattern to share for FREE!

    3. A Jelly Roll Rug

    I have another tutorial post on this for you. I absolutely LOVE the way this project came out and I don’t know that I will ever be able to replace the rug in my bathroom with something I love more.

    This is the progress I've made so far on the Jelly Roll Rug pattern. Has it been a fun pattern? yes. Has it given me challenges? Yes! I'll fill you in on my learning mistakes here...
    These are the 5 Mistakes that I made while working on my jelly roll rug quilt project. I'm sharing in hopes that you'll learn from seeing my mistakes and jump into making your own jelly roll rug quilt!

    4. Another popular pattern

    This video has been super popular on my YouTube Channel (are you subscribed yet? Click the subscribe button so you know when I post really great new things!)

    I LOVE this pattern because it is super easy and really fun to sew. – It also might be one of my favorite baby quilt patterns out there…

    So when you’re looking for something fun and beautiful to sew with minimal effort and cutting, start with Jelly Roll precut strips, pick a pattern and make something beautiful!

    If you want to browse through some of my favorite fabric sites, check out these stores below. I love their selection and range of fabrics!

    So… what is your next Jelly Roll project going to be? Tell me down in the comments. I would love to hear about what you’re working on next!


    Quilting retreats are a great way to quilt in a group, learn new quilting techniques, and meet quilters from around the world. In this blog post, I want to provide 8 reasons why quilting retreats are important for any quilter who wants to improve their craft.

    I’ve been quilting for a number of years now. What started out as something that I could play with quietly in the hours after my kids went to bed has now morphed into a hobby that I share with the rest of the world and has become my full-time job.

    I love quilting and the creative outlet that it has given me.

    I have met so many quilters and people who are wildly talented.

    It has challenged me to step outside of my comfort zone because I always want to see what else is out there and new in the world of quilting: from patterns to fabrics and all the crazy different techniques and tools too.

    It definitely isn’t my first instinct to sign up and take a “sewing vacation” with a bunch of people I hardly know – But I can tell you that never once have I ever regretted doing it!

    8 Reasons Why You SHOULD Go To A Quilting Retreat

    I believe everyone who loves quilting should give it a try at least once… because just once is all it takes… 😉

    1. Time away

    The first reason is that a quilting or sewing retreat will give you time away from your everyday life so you can focus on quilting without distractions.

    Let me make this crystal clear – no laundry piles to cycle through, no cooking, no dishes (except your own, of course), and no work distractions… except for the fabric and projects that you bring with you!

    You just have TIME to focus on yourself, your quilting friends, and your fabric/crafty projects!

    2. New friendships

    The second reason is that it’s an opportunity to make friends with other people who share your passion for quilts!

    Do your family and friends wonder why you’re always going to the fabric store when you have so much at home?

    The new friends that you’ll meet at a quilting retreat can relate! Chances are that they will not only understand but become your new quilting friends and even send you an email when they see a good sale. 😘🤩 I mean, we all need good friends like that, don’t we?

    3. Be surrounded by people who get you!

    No one will be able to understand you or your passion for creativity and quilting… except for another quilter!

    My guess is that every single one of us gets all geeked out about fabrics and thread colors. We all take moments to pause and ooh and ahh over fancy stitching and perfect binding corners.

    I mean, I could be wrong, but so far… I haven’t met a quilter who doesn’t have an absolute obsession with quilting (or if they’re brand new… a budding obsession in the making!)

    4. To-do list… check check check!

    Another reason to go on a quilting retreat is for the quilting!

    If you’ve lacked the time to finish up some wips and ufos (works in progress and unfinished objects) – Bring them with you!

    You’ll get to quilt a whole bunch of progress toward projects that have been hanging around unfinished! Then you can take them home with you when your quilting retreat is over.


    5. Vacationing is part of your retreat!

    Another reason that I love taking quilting vacations or going on quilting retreats, is because it’s just so relaxing! All work and no play makes me feel like a dull girl… which doesn’t sound very good at all 😉

    Plus, if you’re anything like me then you know how much stress there can be in life – this isn’t a bad way to escape from everything and just relax a little.

    There are times where we need reminders about why it’s important to slow down every now and then. Quilty people often forget because we like to take on the world and then some.

    6. You can keep it simple.

    It doesn’t have to be a huge event. You can keep it simple. You can also make it wildly crazy and fun too!

    Planning a quilt retreat can be as simple as hopping in when someone else is doing the planning!

    Or if you’re the one doing the planning, choose to make it as complex or as simple as you would like. As yourself what is going to make you enjoy this time that you’ve set aside?

    I’ve been to retreats where we were each paired up with a partner and were responsible for one meal to feed the whole house over the weekend. I’ve been to retreats where you were responsible for your own meals (but sharing snacks was encouraged). Or you can check out the local restaurants after a long day of sewing if you’re in a new town!

    This game for instance (it’s a free download!) is an amazing and fun icebreaker to pull out at a quilting retreat or even just your Tuesday night quilt guild meeting!

    Never Have I Ever! (Sewing edition) - A super fun game to see just how experienced you are! Great to pull out at meetings or retreat weekends! -- What is your score?

    7. You don’t HAVE to travel far

    though there are retreat houses that are perfect for quilting retreats!

    I’ve also been a part of a small retreat where it was just a big slumber party and we all stayed at a friend’s house!

    The point is to keep the focus on having a fun retreat and enjoy the time you’ve set aside to quilt, right?!

    8. Perspective and Inspiration

    Another reason to plan a quilting retreat is a fresh perspective. I find that I get really inspired by being surrounded by other quilters!

    Retreats help quiltmakers get out of their regular sewing space and see different quilters’ points of view.

    I find that when attending a retreat, there is so much inspiration around me, which can be hard if you’re just sitting at home working on projects all day long. Plus it helps you keep up with what’s new and trending for quilts and supplies as well as ideas for designs we never would have thought of otherwise.

    If you’re feeling like your inspiration is failing you, check out my course on how to pursue your most creative life! Cut to my favorite tips to give quilters to make the most of their time and brain – even when you feel like it is running low!
    The main point I want quilters to get from this post is that quilting retreats are a lot more than just quilting and sewing!

    They can also be really fun, inspiring, surrounded by talented people who share your interests in quilts!

    When you give yourself time to relax and enjoy life, your stress levels decrease, you become more at ease and less harried.

    Quilting retreats are a great way to do just that, but with the added bonus of being surrounded by other quilters who share your interests and create amazing relationships while you’re there!

    I hope this blog post was helpful for quilt enthusiasts out there on whether or not it’s worth attending a quilts retreat for you!

    I’d love to hear any comments from someone who has attended one before as well so feel free to leave them in the comment section below 🙂