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Is anyone able to help a patchwork beginner please?

(42 Posts)
littleflo Wed 12-Nov-14 15:30:58

Hi, I have just bought a very basic sewing machine as I would like to take up patchwork or some other small craft projects. Is anyone able to recommend a good book for starters. Also any other advice will be gratefully received. Thank you

suzied Wed 12-Nov-14 15:55:27

This is website run by an American lady and , although a bit cheesy, has loads of free patterns, and tutorials on loads of different patchwork quilts using scrap fabric. You have to scroll down to the free patterns bit on the right hand side and read through some of them. My favourite is scrappy Bargello which I have done. Some are really straightforward and good for beginners. There's also a lot on YouTube on simple block patchwork.

suzied Wed 12-Nov-14 15:57:46

The key thing with patchwork is to be as accurate as possible in your cutting and sewing. It is useful to buy a rotary cutter and one of those clear rulers. Try some basic blocks ( may one a 9 square block) and build it up. Maybe a cushion cover.

J52 Wed 12-Nov-14 16:32:33

All of the above, but also get a stitch unpicker, it is easy to sew wrong side out! Also, always iron seams as you go, it helps accuracy. X

tiggypiro Wed 12-Nov-14 23:03:35

Always try to use 100% cotton fabric. It presses well which makes it easier to work with.
As well as the rotary cutter (get one with a large blade - the small blades are for paper) and ruler you will also need a cutting board. The 3 items are not cheap but worth their weight in gold but please get advice (youtube?) on how to use the cutter safely.

littleflo Fri 14-Nov-14 10:45:55

Thank you for the good advice

Tresco Fri 14-Nov-14 23:38:45

If you can, buy a special quarter-inch foot for your machine. If there isn't one available, mark a quarter inch with masking tape on the plate, then you can sew very accurate seams and you pieces will fit together well.

Nansypansy Sat 15-Nov-14 06:47:56

Have you looked in your local area to see if there are any patchwork & quilting classes? I have been going to one for years - it's more like a club with like minded enthusiasts. You'll be amazed at what you can end up producing. There are loads of books available (AMAZON) but you could try one of the several magazines available like Patchwork & Quilting.

tiggypiro Sat 15-Nov-14 08:03:04

Unlike Tresco I would not bother with a quarter-inch foot. Just line up the edge of the fabric with the edge of the presser foot. If you can move the position of the needle (right or left of the centre) it is easy to find which position will give you a quarter-inch seam (or near enough). And if not it does not matter too much if the seams are not quarter-inch as long as they are all the same unless you are making something which has to be VERY precise and/or competition standard !

littleflo Sat 15-Nov-14 08:50:48

Thank you all again. I have had a great two days searching the library, book shops and Internet and I can't wait to get started. When I was helping my stepfather recently I saw lots of old curtains and duvet covers and he has said I can have them.

Mishap Sat 15-Nov-14 11:32:44

I do wish you well with this lovely craft - it is so enjoyable. Word of advice - if you are planning to recycle some old curtains and duvet covers into a quilt, do make sure that the fabrics are similar (e.g. all polycotton) and of the same weight and thickness or things will go seriously awry.

There is something to be said for your first project being a kit - even if it is just a small thing like a cushion cover. It gets you into it and gives you guidance step by step through your first effort, and then it is easier to branch out on your own a bit.

I started with a quilt for my the baby GD, then another for an older GD. Now working on a kingsize quilt for my DD - but it has been on hold as I have not been well. - Favequilts is a good site and they send out daily patterns and ideas to your email if you so choose.

When you get into your own efforts, rather than a kit, try easy patterns first - e.g. log cabin, or disappearing squares or simple blocks - you can add interest to this by careful choice of colour and layout.

There are lots of tutorials online where you can follow a video that shows you how to do all sorts of things: sewing on a binding, fastening the lining/backing etc. Try these:;; there are lots. Go on to YouTube and type in beginner quilting or some such and you will be inundated!

suzied Sat 15-Nov-14 12:25:19

Yes make sure your fabric is of similar weight as Mishap says, I wouldn't think curtains would be suitable unless they are cotton. Old shirting is good for patchwork and old cotton dresses.

rubysong Sat 15-Nov-14 12:43:19

If you get new fabric to cut up and stitch back together make a beautiful quilt make sure you wash and iron it before you start, to allow for any shrinkage. I love patchwork and have done quite a bit. I also have some UFOs (unfinished objects) touched away.

MiceElf Sat 15-Nov-14 13:11:10

Good advice here. I agree that it's best to start with squares. Once you are confident with those, tumbling blocks made with three double - or a rhombus I think - equilateral triangles looks very impressive. You need three fabrics, one light one dark and one in between for best effect.

J52 Sat 15-Nov-14 13:55:04

After you have mastered basic squares, there is a good technique for making acurate triangles, by making squares and cutting them diagonally. You do have to alter your measurements slightly, but look on u tube for instructions then you can pause at each instruction. X

littleflo Sat 15-Nov-14 16:59:16

Thanks gang. I am probably only ever going to do squares as I am very cackhanded . I would not have thought of checking fabrics are the same weight. I am very wary of getting into great expense, and thought I might start with something that did not need the filing and top stitching. I thought a shopping bag that I could just line. Is this feasible.

Mishap Sat 15-Nov-14 17:04:14

Here's a free pattern for a quilted bag that also has links to other similar patterns:

littleflo Sat 15-Nov-14 18:16:31

Thank you so much. Hope you are feeling a bit better now Mishap. Have you felt like doing any craftwork lately?

Rosiebee Mon 17-Nov-14 23:54:17

For my first foray into patchwork, I bought a cotton duvet cover from a charity shop and made a set of placemats, just to practise, which I quilted in a very basic fashion. Since then I've been hooked on Pinterest, fantastic site with endless brilliant ideas for patchwork and quilting. Try googling the Missouri Star Quilt Company. A lovely lady called Jenny Doan demonstrates in a series of videos, very clearly, lots of lovely patchwork patterns.
I've bought quite a few books, most of which have ended up in charity shops but if you only buy one, try The Quilters Bible by Linda Clements. I bought mine from Amazon, also used this site for buying quilty bits and pieces. A very addictive hobby.
Tote bags are a great idea for practising basic sewing. You can always use plain calico type material and decorate them with small pieces of patchwork. Sorry, once I get started....... blush

tiggypiro Tue 18-Nov-14 07:57:22

littleflo - I sent you an email

littleflo Tue 18-Nov-14 12:51:39

Thank you tiggypiro and everyone else for the links and ideas

purple Tue 18-Nov-14 15:11:53

Trawling charity shops is a good way of getting low cost fabric, but as others have said, it's important to use the same weight of fabric, and not to use worn material. The other hot tip would be to acquire a rotary cutter, ruler and board as super accurate cutting helps to make sure you don't end up with a skewy item. Drawing stitching lines with a fabric marker (which irons out) when you start helps with accuracy too. Have fun!

littleflo Tue 18-Nov-14 20:57:41

At least this year when everyone asks what I want for Christmas, I won't be stuck for answers.......

hespian Tue 18-Nov-14 21:53:48

My dear friend is very ill with leukaemia and I have been helping her out with a patchwork for her GD. It is now finished and been sent off for professional backing. We have had so many happy hours while working on it. Now she had a new GD and she is determined to make her a quilt too. I hope and pray that we can see that one through too.

littleflo Wed 19-Nov-14 09:44:25

Hespian that is so sad,but what a lovely thing to do. My Son's children have some beautiful wooden things made by their maternal great grandfather who died this year. My daughter in law says how he is living on through these toys.