I’m asking for your advice in this Sunday Sewcial…

I’m asking for your very best advice.welcome back to the Sunday Sewcial! Grab a chair and join us! I want to know if you were teaching someone to quilt, what would be the very best advice you would give them? What advice would you not give?

I honestly don’t remember much of the advice I was given in my early quilt experiences. I probably ignored it anyway. No, that’s not really true. Did you know that for years I was an incredibly uptight quilter? Everything had to match, and every single seam had to be perfect. I thought I was having fun, but looking back, I don’t think I really was. At least now, since I allow myself to break some rules when I work freely, I really have fun. Like more fun than is legal.

So what about you? Would you tell a new quilter to make sure everything was perfect? Would you tell him or her to just enjoy the process? Would you suggest classes? What about prewashing? Hand-quilting? Should they start with any fabric, or only the best? How about thread?

What exactly would you tell the new quilter? Or are you the new quilter? If so, please read the comments. Feel free to ask questions if you have some. Many of the folks who stop by here are excellent quilters, so you may well glean some valuable insights.

So let’s hear it. Throw your very best words at me.

And don’t forget to come by tomorrow for an update on those red X quilts!

See you then!


  • joannewortman

    Be kind to yourself. We all have seams that don’t line up exactly. The worst thing you can do is abandon a project because you don’t feel it’s “good enough.”

    Stretch your skills slowly. Work first with squares and rectangles before attempting bias seams. Understand how bias can distort a block.

    It’s not a race or a contest. Quilt for your own joy, and the joy of those who lovingly accept your quilts. If you ever feel chastened by the dreaded quilt police, THEY are the ones with the problem, you are not a bad quilter!

    • That is great advice, Joanne! Thank you for sharing it.

      I let the Quilt Police live in my head for far too long, but they are no longer allowed there. Quilting became so much more fun when I kicked them out!

  • Wendy Tuma

    Do some reading, do some research, or whatever you want to call it, to get an understanding of the basics. Find a good friend/quilter who will show you and encourage you. Then just relax and enjoy the process. Get involved in a quilt group (we have fun together). Be okay with others giving advice/constructive criticism, but know that you can decide whether to heed their advice or not. And yes, the quilt police are the ones with the problem, not you. When you begin sewing, use the best of what you have. You can always adjust that as you go along.

    • I like this approach, Wendy. Getting the basics under you is a great place to jump from…and yes, finding others who will share and give constructive criticism kindly is huge.

  • Claudette

    How different things are now than when I started quilting (early 70’s). Very few books or actual quilt shops. Now there are tons of books, and if there’s not a shop near you, just google! Instructions abound! So many different techniques that you are bound to find something that works for you. Ask questions, but have a thick skin because someone is bound to tell you what you have done wrong. They can’t help themselves, bless their heart. Do what makes you happy. If a mismatched seam doesn’t bother you, then leave it. Or rip it out (sometimes several times) if you know your personality won’t let it go. Use the best materials you can afford. Start simple, but not so simple that you get bored. A sampler could help you keep your interest and learn new things along the way. And find other quilters, either in person or online, that share your interest and can help you along the way. But most of all, enjoy!!!

    • I started quilting about the same time you did, Claudette. Isn’t it amazing how much more of everything there is now? And that part about having a thick skin is spot on, because you’re right, there is always someone who needs to tell you that the way you did something is wrong. Bless their hearts, indeed.

  • russell

    Never say you can’t do that! Whether it is a pattern or quilting. Find a good book, YouTube or knowledgeable quilter and go for it. Take your time and you can do it. It might not be perfect but do it again and it will be better. Have confidence in yourself, use fabrics you love and have a good time most of all. Enjoy what you create. Ps it is ok to do it your way, find a way to make it work.

    • Yes! I am a firm believer in being able to do anything you set your mind to. And if it isn’t perfect, try again!

  • Nancy Bekofske

    Bob Ross had happy little accidents. It happens in quilting, too. My first year of quilting I covered up some of my accidents with appliqué so I had flowers sprayed over my pieced quilt. Happy.

    • I still believe in those happy little accidents, Nancy! Some of my early pieces got “extra” applique too. These days since I work with vintage pieces so much more, I will still stick something on top of a spot that won’t come out or someone else’s less-than-stellar piecing. It’s all good!

  • Rhonda Cox Dort

    The best advise I could give a beginner is:
    1. Believe in yourself.
    2. Challenge yourself.
    3. Expect to grow in your skills.
    4. Create what you like.
    5. Try something new with each quilt.
    6. Respect those who’ve gone before you but never ever ever believe theirs is the only way 🙂

    • Brilliant advice, Rhonda! Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts. Your words, “Expect to grow in your skills,” are so hard for new quilters to understand. In a day and age of instant gratification, I think it’s very important to understand that.