How to Make a Quilt from Start to Finish
Learn how to make a quilt from start to finish. This is a three yard quilt pattern from Fabric Cafe. I just love making these 3 yard quilts. They are a great size and I can quilt them myself using an edge to edge design with my embroidery machine. This shows how to cut out your pieces, how to sandwich your top, batting, and backing, how to quilt it on your embroidery machine, and how to add the binding.
Fabric – 1 yard light fabric, 1 yard dark fabric, 1 yard focal fabric (coordinating)
Quarter Inch Presser Foot
Pattern is from Fabric Cafe book, Pretty Darn Quick. This is the pattern I am demonstrating. You will learn how to make a quilt from start to finish. If you are a beginner, you’ve got this, let’s get going. This pattern is called Through The Window Again. I can’t disclose the exact measurements, so go get your pattern from them if you want to make this exact one. There is a download pattern available in the supply list to buy from them. Order the pattern and join me in learning to make one for yourself. I picked mine up at the International Quilt Festival and have been making them ever since.
Prewash your fabric. Iron all of your fabrics.
Cut out your squares and strips of material needed for the pattern that you are using. Use a self-healing rotary mat, a rotary cutter, and a quilting ruler. You will get much more precise cutting using these tools.
Want to watch a video on YouTube about the assembly:
Half Square Triangles:
To make half square triangles, use the Fons and Porter quarter inch seam markers. Put in each corner, and mark the seam and both sides of the marker on the lighter fabric. Mark all the squares. Mark it on the wrong side. You are making two diagonal lines.
Put the right sides together matching all the corners. Sew on the marked lines, using a 2.0 stitch length. Chain stitch all of the squares on both lines. Be mindful of a one way design on your fabric.
Cut down the center of the square diagonally using a quilting ruler and a rotary cutter. Iron the seams to the darker fabric. Do not use steam since it is cut on the bias.
Square up your blocks to the size indicated. Use the 6 1/2” square ruler. They will go together so much better and it gets rid of the little dog ears.
Add the sashing to the side of the half square triangles using 1/4” seam allowance. Use a 2.0 stitch length. Chain piece them together. Keep the raw edges even. Right sides together. Trim them evenly. See the pattern to know which side to sew the sashing together. The video will help with this. Some do not have the sashing.
Press all the seams to the side toward the darker fabric.
Assemble the blocks a row at a time according to your pattern. Sew the blocks together two at a time. Then sew those blocks together. This keeps the weight of the blocks distributed more evenly.
Assemble the sashing strips together, sew them (chain piecing). Remember, right sides together. These are used in between the rows. Press the seams toward the darker fabric. Cut the strips out of the sashing assembly. These form the sashing between the rows. This makes the window around the blocks.
Lay out the blocks in rows.
Flip the sashing strips up on each row.
Sew to the strips to each row of blocks, matching your seams. The seams should nest nicely. Use 1/4” seams. Right sides together and raw edges even. Press seams to side.
Additionally, add rows together:
Sew rows 1 & 2 together, then rows 3 & 4 together, rows 5 & 6 together, and finally rows 7 & 8 together.
Add rows 1 & 2 to rows 3 & 4, then add row 5 & 6 to rows 7 & 8. Then sew rows 1,2,3,4 to 5,6,7,8. This distributes the weight evenly. Press seams to side.
Make border strips. Join them end to end in long strips. Right sides together and sew quarter inch seams. Press seams to one side.
Add border to the right side, then the left side. Right sides together. Sew with the blocks on the top so you can make sure your seams are going the right way when you sew over them. (sashing underneath).
Add border to the top and the bottom. Start at the outer edge that you just added to the sides. Press seams to the darker fabric.
Ta Da – You have finished your top!! WAY TO GO!!!
This quilt top turned out so nice. I just love it. I highly recommend Fabric Cafe 3 Yard Quilts.
Second Step of How to Make a Quilt from Start to Finish
We are ready to sandwich our quilt in “How to make a quilt from start to finish”. You need some fabric for your backing. Measure your top to see what size you need for your backing. Add about 4” to each side. You can use extra wide material or piece your back pieces together to get it wide enough.
Cut batting the same size you cut for the backing. I like to use Warm & Natural batting. (in supply list above).
If you are a visual learner – watch my YouTube Video for this section here:
Don’t miss the video!!
Place your backing right side of fabric face down on the floor and tape it down with painters tape stretching out the wrinkles.
Center the batting on the backing fabric. Use temporary adhesive 505. Fold down sections and spray, continue folding down and spraying. Smooth out and press down.
Spread out top with right side facing up. Center the top on the batting and backing. Fold down sections and spray. Stretch out and press down. Repeat with each section. Fold, spray, press down with hands. It should be stuck together good. Pull the tape off and pick up.
Time to quilt…
… There are several ways you can quilt it.
- Send it out to a long arm quilter. This is the easiest way but also the most expensive.
- Stitch in the ditch on your sewing machine. Right on the seam line around the blocks. Hides quilting on the top, but shows on the back.
- Stitch diagonally on the top on your sewing machine. You can lay down a wide piece of painters tape and sew along the edge off the tape. Then peel it up and move it over and sew another diagonal line and keep doing that.
- Free motion quilting on your sewing machine. Drop the feed dogs and move the top around. A lot of people stipple this way.
- Tie it off. Use 6 strands of embroidery floss and a curved needle. Tie knots on the top and trim.
- Hand quilt it using an embroidery hoop with a needle and thread.
- Quilt edge to edge or end to end. Designs by JuJu and Amelie Scott have designs online you can download and quilt using your embroidery machine. I have a YouTube video demonstrating how to quilt using your embroidery machine. Link to it here or above.
Fourth Step in How to make a quilt from start to finish
Once your quilt top is quilted with batting and backing, you need to square it up.
Cut the edges even with the top, cutting off the extra batting and backing. This is much easier with a rotary mat, rotary cutter, and a quilting ruler. It should be squared up now.
Measure all the way around quilt so you know how many strips of binding to cut.
Make your bias binding. Cut out 2 1/2” strips on the bias (45 degree angle of selvage). Cut enough strips to go around your entire quilt.
Trim the selvage edges off. Sew the bias strips together.
Bias Strip Assembly:
Put them right sides together, perpendicular to each other. Leave 1/4” on the end of each piece. Sew a seam diagonally on outer edge.
Sew from the inner corner to the other inner corner. This makes a mitered seam. It is better to be sewn on the bias because it distributes the bulk of the seam out. Cut off excess to 1/4”
Press seams to one side.
Here is another YouTube video on How to add binding to a quilt:
Press the bias strips in half long ways with wrong sides together. This binding is better – in my opinion, because it has two layers of fabric on the edge which is better for wear and tear on the edges of the quilt.
Start in the middle of the bottom of the quilt. Leave a tail about 8” and start sewing the bias tape to the edge of the quilt using a 3/8” seam allowance. Raw edges are even. Don’t stretch your binding. The quilt is heavy, therefore, you should put a table to the side to hold the weight of the quilt.
When you get to the corners, make a mitered corner. To do this, stop sewing 3/8” from the corner and backstitch. You can sew off the edge to the point.
Take the quilt out from under the presser foot. Bring the bias tape up away from quilt with side edges even.
Fold the tape down on the next side. Start sewing from the end.
Sew down that side and repeat in each corner.
Leave a tail and stop sewing about 10” from where you started adding the bias tape.
To finish bias
Finally, we are ready to join the bias tape. Subsequently, bring the tails together, and snip the edge where it would join together.
Pull the right side tail up with right side of fabric up and open the tape.
Place the left side tail over that with right side of fabric down and open the tape.
Match up your snips where you snipped the fabric. Sew from the snip from top left snip to bottom right to add a diagonal seam. Sew the seam.
Make sure the seam will fit on the remainder left to sew down. If it fits, trim the seam allowance to 1/4”. Finger press open.
Sew the bias tape down on the remaining edge of the quilt opening.
You are ready to hand stitch down the bias tape to the back. Fold the bias tape over to the back of the quilt and pin down a small length over the seam.
Hand stitch the bias tape to the back using a blind stitch.
Knot your thread after feeding through a needle. Take a stitch through only the backing on the right side of the seam, and come up on a small edge of the tape.
Go directly into the backing only and go about 1/8” and come up through the bias tape (binding) and repeat around the entire quilt. Watch the YouTube video above if you get confused. It’s so much easier to see it in action. Miter your corners.
The hand stitching is SO MUCH more PROFESSIONAL looking. Just do it!!! lol, no really, please do.
Variation – Economy Binding
This binding is generally used for lap quilts or the 3 yard quilts. Cut 1 1/2” strips of fabric from edge to edge. Cut enough to go around your quilt. Sew the pieces together end to end. Press seams to the side.
Iron the binding in half longways with wrong sides together. Press in one side to the center.
Take the unpressed side and add to the quilt top. Take a 3/8” seam allowance with a 3.0 stitch length.
You miter the corners the same as above. Watch the video for better instructions. Both variations are on the video.
Sew the rest of the way around, mitering the corners as you go. Make a seam in the bias tape to finish. Sew down the rest.
Finish by hand stitching the bias tape to the back of the quilt.
Don’t forget a label.
The finished quilts———of How to Make a Quilt from Start to Finish