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“Quilting 101” Quilt-Along: Quilt Diagram, Choosing Fabric & Cutting Fabric

Today we begin our "Quilting 101" quilt-along where we will look at a quilt diagram, choose fabric for our quilt, and cut the fabric for our quiltToday we begin our “Quilting 101” quilt-along where we will look at a quilt diagram, choose fabric for our quilt, and cut the fabric for our quilt.  If you’ve never made a quilt before, or if you have limited time but you’d like to participate, this is a great quilt-along to join.  The quilt design that we will be making is simple –a skilled quilter could finish this quilt in a few days.  If you haven’t yet joined, it’s not too late, the more the merrier.

Here are a few photos of the quilt we will be making:

custom made quilt and quilting 101 quilt-alongcustom made quilt and quilting 101 quilt-alongcustom made quilt and quilting 101 quilt-along

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Please read through this entire post, before you begin.  As you can see, we are dealing with a very basic quilt design, made up of stripes and a border.

Here is a diagram of the quilt:

quilting 101 quilt-along quilt diagram

And here are a few more photos:

quilting 101 quilt-along 2011 a handmade custom quiltquilting 101 quilt-along 2011 a handmade custom quilt

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Choosing Colors and Fabric:

As we quilt-along, I’m going to be using “relationships” as a metaphor to describe the parts and/or steps of making a quilt.  Today, I want to talk a little bit about coordinating fabrics since your first assignment is to gather supplies and purchase fabric.

In my eyes, coordinating fabrics is similar to how two peoples’ personalities might complement each other in a relationship.  If two people are exactly the same, the relationship might lack depth and seem bland.  Instead, I think it’s better when two peoples’ differences compliment the other’s personality.  For example, I am a very passionate person; I feel deeply and strongly about everything.  My husband on the other hand is more logical, more of a thinker.  I can not tell you how often this difference compliments our marriage and the decisions we make everyday.  Do I need to go more in depth, or do you get what I mean?

Coordinating fabrics and colors for a project is similar.  The fabrics you choose need to go together, but they also need to have an element that makes them different or makes them compliment each other in someway. Instead of recreating the wheel, here are a few helpful links I found online:  Color, Rule of Thumb & Color Basics for Quilting.

Once you’ve found your fabrics, I encourage you to use the diagram above like a coloring page to help you decide how you want the certain colors and patterns to coordinate and play together.

Ordering Fabric:

I order most of my fabric online because I love the selection online shopping offers.  My favorite online shops include Fabric Worm, Fabric Shack, and Above All Fabric.  I also think it’s great to support local quilt shops, if you’re lucky enough to have a good one in your area.

Fabric Amounts:

The quilt we are going to make for this quilt-a-long is approximately 48″ x 82″ in size.  This does fit the top of a twin size bed, but with very little hangover.  Ideally this quilt would serve as a throw or a blanket you fold up on the bottom of a bed.  It would be easy to make this quilt a bit wider by making the border a bit wider if you desire a bigger size, or smaller by taking some of the strips out if you want a smaller quilt for a young child.  Here’s how much fabric you’ll need to order:

  • Fabric A – 5/8 yard
  • Fabric B (large print optional) – 1 yard
  • Fabric C – 3/8 yard
  • Fabric D – 5/8 yard
  • Fabric for quilt binding (stripes, solids, or small prints work best) – 1 yard to be safe although 3/4 would work if you’re careful
  • Fabric E (border of the quilt & backing of the quilt) – 4 3/4 yards
  • Note:  if you want your border and your back to be different, you’ll need 2 3/8 yard of fabric E and an additional 4 3/4 yards for a solid back or 2 3/8 yards for a pieced back.  Let me know if you have any questions.

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Note:  I realize the above amounts changed a little from a comment I left a while back.  If you already purchased fabric and this is causing you problems, please let me know and I’ll help you work it out.  Basically, you’ll need to widen some of the strips and shorten others to balance out the fabric amounts you have.  If you have more than 4 fabrics that you’re wanting to work with, you could also add those in to make up the difference.  Sorry for the inconvenience.  I didn’t like how two of the fabrics I ordered looked and so I altered the pattern a bit.  I do hope you understand.  If you’re struggling, please email me and I’ll email you a diagram of the original quilt pattern, along with cutting instructions. Here is a diagram and the fabric amounts for that quilt…
quilting 101 quilt-along quilt diagram 2
  • Fabric A (large print) – 3/4 yard
  • Fabric B, C, D, E & F – 3/8 yard
  • Fabric G (border of the quilt) – 2 and 3/8 of a yard
  • Fabric H (binding) – 1 yard
  • Fabric I (back) – 4 3/4 yards for a solid back
  • Email me, or leave me a comment, if you would like a larger picture of this diagram.

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Washing Your Fabric:

I do NOT wash my fabrics before I use them.  The overall quality of fabric has increased significantly in the past decade and it seems that many people do NOT wash fabric before they sew anymore.  I took a twitter and facebook pole today and only one person reported washing before sewing.  It’s completely up to you, but I don’t wash before I sew and I’ve never experienced problems.

Cutting Fabric:

My biggest piece of advise is to measure twice and cut once!!!

If you have never used a rotary cutter before, here is a great Rotary Cutter Tutorial.

Cutting width of fabric, or from selvage to selvage, make the following cuts:

Fabric A:  A1 – 4.5″ x 41″, A2 – 6.5″ x 41″, A3 – 4.5″ x 41″, and A4 – 2.5″ x 41″

Fabric B:  B1 – 6.5″ x 41″, B2 – 10.5″ x 41″, and B3 – 14.5″ x 41″

Fabric C:  C1 – 2.5″ x 41″, C2 – 2.5″ x 41″, C3 – 2.5″ x 41″, and C4 – 4.5″ x 41″

Fabric D:  D1 – 4.5″ x 41″, D2 – 6.5″ x 41, and D3 – 8.5″ x 41″

Set fabric E, backing fabric, binding fabric, and/or border fabrics aside for later use.

If you have any questions or comments, please leave them for me in the comments section so that all participants can learn from each other thoughts.

I’ll post step #2 next week sometime –stay tuned and good luck!

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5 observations on ““Quilting 101” Quilt-Along: Quilt Diagram, Choosing Fabric & Cutting Fabric
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  3. Sheree

    OK–I am officially playing along, er, ah, 2 weeks behind. I decided to prewash because my fabrics are dissimilar, a couple of broadcloths and a couple of nicer polished cottons. And I am bummed out because the fabric I wanted is discontinued and not available anywhere, but I got it’s brother fabric and all will be well. Cheerio then.

     
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