I love creating patchwork quilts so thought I’d put my methods online for you all to see. I hope you like what I have to say. Once a way of ensuring leftover fabric was usefully used, patchwork quilting is now considered a cosy addition to the home, often seen as a throw or blanket in living rooms and bedrooms across the country as part of the vintage revival. Based on the repetition of simple geometric shapes – though you can use more complicated designs if you wish – quilts can be fun to make and attractive to look at.
The easiest shape to use as a basis for a patchwork quilt is the square. It is ideally best to start with making something small and master the principles of quilting before moving onto larger and more complicated designs. The basic concept of patchwork quilting involves sewing together different swatches of fabric to form an eclectic pattern, which is then sewn together with wadding and backing to form a soft quilt.
As with most sewing, a pattern is enormously helpful, and for patchwork quilting, you just need one shape, with extra allowance at the edges for the seam. Use this pattern with a rotary cutter and mat to cut out the required number of pieces from your quilting fabric. It is possible to use assorted off cuts, but you can also purchase fat quarters from shops and online, often in bundles of contrasting designs and colours. When you have cut enough pieces, you should then arrange the fabric in the desired pattern, before starting sewing them together. For neatness, you should iron flat the pieces both before sewing and then afterwards, ensuring the seams are flat.
You can then sew the strips together, building up the pattern on top. Next, you need to add some wadding underneath the quilting fabric, and backing underneath that. There are several methods of finishing the edges of the quilt, the most popular being binding with fabric, after the quilted top, wadding and backing have been sandwiched together. You can also give the quilt extra definition by doing running stitch over the seams of the new quilting fabric sandwich. Finally, add the binding at the raw edges to neaten it up.
The beauty of patchwork quilts is that they can be sewn by hand or by machine, though of course by machine is the quicker. They can also be a treasured heirloom, admired for years to come as an example of the handiwork of relatives. The more skilled you become at putting together patchwork quilts, the bigger and more complicated the patterns you can attempt are, however the principles remain the same – repetition of a simple shape in a contrasting range of materials.