What To Expect in Your First Quilting Class
November 29, 2023
Are you a sewer who has been dabbling with the idea of taking a quilting class? Maybe you have already signed up for one and are wondering what to expect. Whatever the case, taking your first quilting class can be an intimidating experience.
You might not know what tools to bring, what materials to buy, or what to expect during the class. Below, we go over what to expect from your first quilting class to help you prepare or ease any first-time anxieties.
What To Bring to Your First Quilting Class
Fabric and Thread
The first thing you’ll need to bring to your quilting class is fabric—most classes will specify what type and how much fabric you’ll need for the project. Choosing high-quality fabric is important so that your finished quilt will look its best. Cotton is a popular choice for quilting, but you can also choose from blends, wool, and silk.
In addition to fabric, you’ll need some thread to sew your quilt together. It’s important to choose a high-quality thread. Again, it’s best to check the materials list provided by your instructor to ensure you’re bringing the right color and weight of thread.
Precision is key when it comes to quilting, so you’ll need a good pair of sewing scissors or a rotary cutter. A rotary cutter will give you the most accurate cuts, but make sure to also bring a cutting mat to protect your work surface. You’ll also want to bring a ruler for measuring and marking your fabric.
While some beginner classes may provide sewing machines, it’s always a good idea to bring yours if you have one, including the power cord, foot control, accessory feet and instruction manual. Doing so allows you to practice on the machine you’ll be using at home. Make sure to also bring any necessary threads, bobbins, and needles for your machine.
The Necessary Notions
Notions are the little extras that could include things like buttons, ribbons, and other small accessories but also include the small tools you’ll commonly see in sewing. Some essential notions to bring to your first quilting class include pins, needles, thimbles, and a seam ripper. You may also want to bring a fabric marker or chalk.
Basic Techniques You’ll Learn
Expect to learn some basic techniques right off the bat when attending your first quilting class. The goal of the class will be to teach you some of the skills you need to finish your project because you likely won’t finish it on the first day. That being said, let’s take a look at some of the basic techniques you’re likely to learn in your first few classes.
Measuring and Cutting Fabric
Quilting involves precise measurements and accurate cutting of fabric pieces. During your first sewing class, you’ll probably learn how to use a rotary cutter, ruler, and cutting mat to cut fabric strips and shapes for piecing together your quilt top.
You’ll also learn how to square up your fabric pieces to ensure they fit together perfectly. Measuring and cutting fabric may seem like a simple task, but it’s crucial to get it right from the start to ensure your finished quilt turns out well.
Piecing Together the Quilt Top
Piecing is the process of sewing fabric pieces together to create the quilt top. As a beginner, you’ll learn how to piece together simple shapes, such as squares and rectangles, using a sewing machine.
You’ll also learn about seam allowances and how to press your seams to ensure your finished quilt lies flat. Piecing can be a bit intimidating at first, but with practice, it will become second nature.
Sandwiching and Quilting
Once you’ve pieced together your quilt top, you’ll need to create the quilt sandwich. This “sandwiching” process involves layering your quilt top, batting and backing fabric together, and basting them in place so that they don’t shift during quilting.
You’ll then learn how to quilt your layers using a combination of hand and machine quilting techniques. Quilting, which involves stitching through all three layers of the sandwich, is what gives the quilt its texture and holds everything together.
Binding and Finishing
Binding is the final step in completing a quilt. It involves attaching a narrow strip of fabric around the quilt’s perimeter to cover the raw edges and create a clean, finished look.
You’ll learn how to create and attach binding strips using a sewing machine. Once your binding is in place, you can admire your finished quilt and feel proud of all the hard work you’ve put into creating it.
How To Select Fabric for Your Quilt
You’ll have to select the fabrics yourself if your instructor doesn’t give you the exact fabrics you’ll need beforehand, as they may want to give you the freedom to choose. The good news is you can mix and match, and the possibilities are endless! However, here are some tips to keep in mind if that seems a little daunting.
Consider the Style
The first thing to keep in mind when selecting fabrics for your quilt is the overall style. Will your quilt be modern, traditional, or something in between? Knowing your quilt’s style will determine the type of fabrics you will use.
Consider using a selection of textures and bold colors and patterns for a modern quilt. Choose fabrics with a simple print or solid colors for traditional quilts as many traditional quilters use them for storytelling through patterns and colors. However, there are no hard rules, so you can combine the two styles to create a unique quilt that reflects your taste.
It’s important to consider the color scheme when planning your quilt. Choose a combination of colors that complement each other.
Select fabrics with varying shades of the same color, or choose fabrics that are opposites on the color wheel. Remember, less is often more when it comes to color. It’s better to choose a few colors that complement each other instead of selecting too many that clash.
Higher-quality fabrics are often worth the investment when it comes to quilting. These fabrics usually consist of natural fibers, such as cotton or silk, and will hold up better over time.
Look for fabrics that feel soft to the touch and have a smooth finish, which will probably have a higher thread count. Cheaper fabrics may fade easily and not stand up to use over time. Inexpensive fabrics may be tempting, but they will be more difficult to work with and may not look as nice once you finish your quilt.
Pattern and Texture
Consider incorporating fabrics with different patterns, such as stripes or polka dots to create a dynamic design. Just be sure to balance busy patterns with calmer ones so that your quilt doesn’t look too cluttered.
At Montavilla Sewing Centers, we know attending your first class can be a little daunting. That’s why when you attend our sewing school in or near the Portland area, we’ll provide you with a detailed list of everything you need to bring. We have classes for every skill level, whether you’re a beginner sewer or want to expand your project horizons.