Tuesday, January 18, 2011

How to Make a Quilt for Beginners Part 2: Preparing Fabric

I now have all of my fabric to start the quilt blocks! I love getting mail!

Wash- Now that all your fabric has been purchased and is in your possession what do you do now? Well you have to wash it! The reason you should wash your fabric is that it may shrink. How terrible would it be for you to go through the entire process of making a quilt only to wash it and have it shrink and warp on . Believe me you don't want the experience of making something and having it shrink on you, I've done it before and I was not a happy camper. Always wash your fabrics before you make something (unless of course it's dry clean only).

Dry- Next you have to dry your fabrics. It's just like doing laundry! Once they are dry be sure to take them out of the dryer ASAP, we don't want wrinkles to set in.

Iron- Do I really have to iron my fabric? The answer is YES! I hate ironing but in order to have your fabric lay flat while you are cutting and get the correct amount of fabric per square you must iron your fabric. The first thing I do when I purchase new material is wash, dry, and iron all the fabric. If I am not using the fabric right away I fold it neatly and sometimes I have to iron it again if it sits for a long time. PLEASE IRON YOUR FABRIC even if you hate ironing. You'll thank me later. (well maybe not but you'll be happy your quilt turned out nice!)

Stash of freshly ironed fabric

Tools- Now that all your fabric is prepped here comes the tricky part we need to cut out the squares. The easiest way to do this is by using a mat, rotary cutter, and ruler. You can use scissors but it will be difficult to get your squares even and be very time consuming. I purchased my tools at Joanns when they had a huge sale and I was able to use a coupon for an extra 10% off. You can also try Amazon.com Here are my tools that I use:

Cutting the squares: Now that we have the right tools and fabric prepped we need to straighten and cut out the fabric. You might be asking yourself: "Straighten? What is that?". It means that you have to pull the threads across the top of the fabric to make sure that it goes all the way across and the fabric is straight.  When you purchase the fabric from the store they cut it but it usually has a jagged edge and isn't perfectly straight. It is another tedious task but it's so important for your fabric to be straight or else it won't site properly.  It's more important when you make clothing because the fabric won't hang properly (don't believe me read this info from a very talented blogger/sewer).  Just start pulling the threads at one end until you get one thread to go all the way across.  Once the fabric is straight it is now ready for cutting.  I folded my fabric selvage to selvage.  Line the straight edge along one of the lines on the cutting mat.  I then measured 10.5inches lined my ruler up and cut the fabric using the rotary cutter.  I then had a strip of fabric 10.5 inches wide.  I took the fabric and made sure it was lined up with the lines and I then measured 10.5 inches across with the ruler and cut the fabric again making a square.  Since the fabric was folded over I ended up making 2 squares.  I repeated the whole process with all of my fabrics so that I had at least 5 squares from each fabric. (Here's another site with some great tips)
Hanging Threads
Straight Fabric

Measure again to make a squares
Cut Strip

Fabric square

Stack of Squares

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