I always ask new readers what is their one frustration with sewing. Most of the replies mention either having no available time or limited sewing space.
Well, I can’t slow down time or add space to your dwelling, but I can point you towards ways to make sewing achievable. And, I’m going to demonstrate this by showing you how fast and easy this quilt was to make. And, I’ve also included a very short video showing you a simple way to get a quilt top basted and ready to quilt in the machine.
A while back I mentioned that I had watched a Craftsy video called Pre-Cut Shortcuts* while flying to Florida. I found the quilt projects simple and the video easy to follow. When I returned home I was determined to try making a quilt following the class instructions. (*affiliate link)
Pre-Cuts Make a Difference
What makes this class so easy is the use of pre-cut fabrics. I had a 10″x 10″ Moda Layer Cake in blacks and gray that I’ve been wanting to make into a quilt. I also had set of 10″x 10″ Moda Bella solids in Porcelain that I knew would be ideal for this project.
The instructions call for two 5″x 5″ charm pack squares in a solid color. To get the charm pack-sized squares, I cut the white 10″ x 10″ squares down the middle and then cut them in half again. No waste and in a few minutes I had all of my charm squares. Of course, if I was starting from scratch I would just buy charm pack squares, but this was in my stash.
The pattern also calls for a 10″ x 10″ square pack in a contrasting color and pattern. I had this set of Ink Modern from Moda in my stash which was a perfect contrast to my white background. The pattern calls for cutting these into 5″ x 10″ rectangles. This took no time at all.
A Simple Way to Assemble the Quilt
After that, it just a matter of sewing the squares and rectangles together in a specific order. I would work on one or two rows at a time. You can see how the design is starting to come together and look like a quilt.
Without feeling stressed or anxious, I had this quilt top together in no time at all. Of course, I love black and white, so the color palette (or lack of one) was very satisfying.
Basting the Quilt
One of the things that I hear from many of you is how you don’t have a lot of space for assembling a quilt. Some of you have to do this on the floor and that requires moving furniture and rugs. Well, I’ve recently learned a new way to get your quilt basted and ready to quilt.
I’ve created a two minute video that demonstrates how to quickly pin baste a quilt. I can assure you that I have used this method on two quilts and it’s fast and easy. It works on a dining room table or a kitchen island and it doesn’t take up much space. (Note: The video player is a new addition and I’ve been having a few glitches. You can also see the video on the side bar on the right if it’s not available below.)
For this project I went with a simple grid for my quilting. While it would’ve been fun to experiment with some cute designs, I wanted a finished quilt that I could put on a daybed in the guest room. I used wool batting because I had it on hand, and I thought that it might add a little loft to my minimal quilting.
For my stitch, I went with a wavy utility stitch that is available on most sewing machines. It looks like a zigzag stitch, but it’s really a wavy stitch. I set my stitch width on 5.5 mm (most machines are at least 5mm) and my stitch length at 2 mm.
I put on my walking foot and just started quilting down the seams. Later, I wish I had used this stitch on either side of my seams. If I make this quilt again, that’s what I’ll do.
Because it’s a larger quilt, I would work on it in 15-20 minute increments so I never got frustrated with trying to wrangle a big quilt. The process was actually fun and relaxing.
Binding the Quilt
For my backing I used the Crosshatch fabric from Carolyn Friedlander’s Architecture fabric line. I used a turquoise fabric from the same line for my binding. I cut my binding strips 2.5″ wide. I know that 2.25″ is a favorite with most quilters, but I was machine-stitching my binding so I wanted plenty of room to sew it down.
And, in a very short time I had myself a quilt. I think that using pre-cuts makes quilting a possibility for most people. If I had used the charm pack (5″ x 5″) pre-cuts, I would have no scraps remaining from my quilt top.
Simple quilts like this make quilting a reality rather than a wish. I totally agree with Angela Walters, “A finished quilt is better than perfect quilt!” An this one is finished (and in a fairly short amount of time!) and now covers a day bed.