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Everything You Need to Know About Quilting

Posted by Fabrics Galore on

quilting fabric

A quilt is one of the most popular sewing and crafting creations, which is normally a combination of colours, shapes and designs in a patchwork form. Quilts last a lifetime and are the perfect gift for a loved one, and there are so many variations of style to experiment with - so creating a quilt is the perfect way to pass the time. 

We believe there is nothing better than creating a vibrant and unique quilt, but you may find quilting overwhelming if you are a complete beginner, especially because there are so many different techniques and terminology to learn. Therefore, the team at Fabrics Galore have put together this guide for you. 

The different parts of a quilt

Before you begin making a quilt, there are some different elements that you need to know about:

  • Binding

  • This is the outer edge of the quilt which is a long, thin strip of fabric. It hides and secures the edges of the quilt top, covering the raw edges and holding everything together. 

  • Quilt top

  • The quilt top is the outer layer of the quilt, which is what most people are familiar with when they see a quilt. This is the part of the design which is made up of smaller pieces sewn together, containing the design of the quilt, as well as a majority of the visual interest. These square units are pieced separately, then joined together to make up the quilt pattern.

  • Batting

  • This is the middle layer of the quilt which is normally made from a cotton or cotton blend, or polyester. The batting is there to add thickness to your quilt and add an extra layer of insulation. The thickness of your quilt depends on your own personal preference, but you need to consider that if you choose a thicker batting, it will be harder to sew your quilt by hand. 

  • Backing

  • This is the third, and bottom layer of the quilt which can be a piece of extra wide backing fabric or another fabric of your choice. The fabric panels must be pieced together to create a backing for large quilts, and it is advisable to choose a backing that coordinates with the top of the quilt.

    Essential equipment you need

  • A sewing machine or sewing tools

  • We normally recommend a sturdy machine which comes with an automatic thread cutter, which will make your life easier when moving in between different patchwork. However, if you are sewing your quilt by hand, just make sure you stock up on the right supplies. For example, if you choose to work by hand, your needle needs to be strong enough to handle a quilt's many layers.

  • Rotary cutter

  • This is essential if you are looking to cut straight, crisp lines for the top layer of your quilt. Scissors may work for simple projects, but a rotary cutter is easier on the hands and wrists and far more efficient. 

  • Cutting mat

  • When making your quilt, using a cutting mat will help protect your work surface from damage, and prevent your knife blade or rotary cutter from dulling quickly. If you do use a rotary cutter to cut pattern pieces, a full-size cutting table mat is ideal. You should also look for a mat that is graduated and fully numbered on all four sides of the mat. 

  • Ruler

  • Using a ruler comes in handy for ensuring complete accuracy when cutting your quilting fabric. You can even buy rulers with different coloured markings which can make your life easier when working on different projects, especially quilting. 

    What quilting fabrics should you use? 

    There are many options when it comes to choosing the best fabrics for quilting, as many crafters mix things up by experimenting with lots of different patterns. Choosing quilting fabrics is not a difficult task, if you just take into consideration your personal preferences and the design you are looking to achieve. A classic quilt is made up of three layers, the top layer is the decorative one, the second is your batting material and the final layer is the backing fabric- but you can be as creative as you like with the design. 

    Cotton is often considered the best type of fabric to use for quilting, which comes in 115cm width and a medium weight. Quilters often find that quilt pieces line up better and are much easier to use compared to other fabrics on the market. The use of cotton in a quilt is actually a stipulated requirement of The Quilters Guild, who insist that the fabric used must be 100% cotton. However, more contemporary organisations like the UK Quilt Association are more open to other fabric alternatives. Here at Fabrics Galore, we have spent a lot of time sourcing the best of the best quilting fabrics available for you to buy - including cotton quilting fabric. 

    In general, before using fabrics in a quilt, many people like to wash the fabrics so that if they shrink in the wash, they do so before you make them into the quilt and not after. This is also essential for fabrics which you think may bleed, as it prevents them from ruining your finished design.

    How can Fabrics Galore help you? 

    As a business, we understand that creating a quilt is a dream craft project for many of our customers, so we have ensured that our selection of quilting fabrics is both high quality and offers a range of choice. We have spent a long time sourcing the best quilting fabrics available. On our website, we have a wide variety of different patterns for you to choose from - as well as blenders - including spots, Christmas patterns, and stars, just to name a few. All our fabrics are sold by the half metre, allowing you to choose as many designs as you want to create the perfect patchwork quilt.

    To have a conversation with a member of our team about the fabrics we have available, or if you would like some advice on quilting in general, call us on 020 7738 9589 and we would be more than happy to help you. 




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