Beginning Quilters’ Common Mistakes & How to Avoid Them 

            Quilting is a great way to express your creativity.  Handmade baby quilts also make great baby shower gifts.  The down side is, few of us are “perfect”, especially when we try something new.  But everyone has to start somewhere.  Here are a few mistakes beginning quilters sometimes make and tips to avoid them so you can make the best possible first time baby quilt that you can make.

1. Attempting to make a baby quilt using a baby quilt pattern that is too difficult or trying to “figure it out” without adequate instructions.

 Some of us have great imaginations.  We use the most interesting design when we make a baby quilt.  This is fine, just not on your first baby quilt.  For your first baby quilt, choose a baby quilt pattern that is pretty simple.  If you must try a more difficult baby quilt pattern, make sure you have good instructions and/or an experienced quilter to advise you (preferably both). 

2. Not getting enough fabric, especially for binding your baby quilt. 

          There is one important thing to remember when purchasing fabric for your baby quilt:  It is better to have too much than not enough.  You can always trim off excess fabric, but you can’t magically make it bigger if it is too small.  The same goes for the quilt batting or any fabric, lace, etc. you get for binding the baby quilt.  So, when in doubt, get extra.  It is ideal, especially on your first baby quilt, to use a baby quilt pattern with detailed instructions.  These should tell you how much fabric etc. you will need, allowing for a little extra, just in case.  Baby quilt kits are ideal, as they usually contain detailed instructions and all the fabric you will need for your baby quilt.

3.  Making Mismatched Rows When Sewing a Quilt Top Together  

            The easiest baby quilt to make would have a baby quilt top as one piece of fabric.  However, most of us require a lot more of a challenge and like to piece our baby quilt tops together.  The most difficult thing about making a baby quilt top from pieces of fabric is lining up the seams on the different rows.  The bottom line is, fabric stretches.  Therefore, no matter how accurate your pattern pieces are cut, and how careful you are to make all the seams the same size, you will always have rows that just don’t match up.  To fix this problem, you need to 1) be aware of it and 2) stretch a piece of fabric here and there to make it match up.  It is best to determine at the beginning of sewing each row together, where you will need to stretch which row.  This way you can stretch it before it is too late.

4.  Forgetting to Backstitch 

            Backstitching is what keeps seams from coming undone.  A backstitch is needed at the beginning and end of every seam.  Also, if we cut a seam, we need to backstitch it to keep it from coming apart.  If a baby quilt top is too large for some reason, it is always better to use a seam ripper to take off rows than to cut the baby quilt top smaller.  This way we don’t cut through seams and we don’t have to go through and backstitch them all.

Remember these four tips, and you will have a lot easier time making your first baby quilt.  Also, you will have a beautiful quilt for that special baby to enjoy!

Andrea Hunter

Sandrea Baby Quilts

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