/ / Terrible Tuesday: How I made my first quilt

Terrible Tuesday: How I made my first quilt


The first thing I want to say is that I’m not calling this quilt terrible. Did you notice that? How I made my first quilt? Well,  I can look back now and say that my quiltmaking skills were terrible. I really didn’t know what I was doing, but I’m so glad I jumped right in and made a quilt.


So here it is new, the one we lovingly call ‘Chloe’s Quilt.’ I made it for her for Christmas in 2009 (almost 6 years ago). Silly girl that I was, I decided to make it queen sized. I didn’t have a design board or wall back then, so I laid out all the ‘blocks’ on my living room floor. 


And why did I call them ‘blocks’ with quotation marks? I’m glad you asked. πŸ™‚

I had never made a quilt block before and had no idea how to go about piecing the design that I was imagining, but I was pretty familiar with applique. So I decided to simply applique one square on top of another for each ‘block.’ I cut my squares, pressed the edges down on the smaller ones, and stitched them to the larger squares. Interesting technique, I know.


I did read some quilting blogs to learn how to make binding and pieced together some pretty cute scrappy binding, if I do say so myself. I even managed to miter the corners.

If only I had known how to sew an invisible ladder stitch back then. Sigh. This binding is now coming off in more places than not, so I should probably just unpick all of the hand stitching and re-do it. Or sew it down with my sewing machine.

This was before I had enough fabric in my stash to cover the back of a queen size quilt (that’s really true, as hard as it is to believe), so I used a vintage sheet for backing. It’s silky soft and holding up better than the rest of the quilt, so I think I’ll have to try that again.


And my quilting? I free motion quilted the whole thing with a meandering design. Man, did that take a long time! The quilting is coming out in lots of places now, probably because I didn’t secure the stops and starts very well.


In spite of all its flaws, Chloe and I LOVE this quilt. She knows it’s the first quilt I ever made and I think she feels special because I made it for her. And I love it because it is kind of like the ‘mother’ of all my subsequent quilts: it’s bigger, older, and wiser.

Are you enjoying our occasional ‘Terrible Tuesday’ posts? Would you like to guest post here and share a sewing ‘fail’ or project from your inexperienced past? Email me… I’m always open for ideas!

Happy Sewing!


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6 Comments

  1. I am going on holidays and staying with some friends, as presents to their 2 children I decided to make my first every quilt… twice! In about 5 days! I had only made a small wall hanging before (which I love!) so I threw myself in at the deep end.

    I know the basics of sewing, was going fine when I realised that I hadn’t made allowances for my ‘frame’, day one finished. Also, my god, the cutting out part takes forever!!!!! It was hours before I got to sit at the sewing machine!!!!

    Day 2 consisted of the WHOLE day how to slot 4 little squares into the parts of my frame from the week before – had to do one piece 4 times until I was happy with it!

    Day 3 saw me almost finishing my first quilt, I now just have to hand sew the binding at the back. There is a way to machine sew it but I don’t have the luxury of time in case I make a mistake, I will try it on my next quilt. I also managed to do all the patchwork on the first quilt…. again I had material problems! This time I decided to change the order of my ‘frames’ so I ran out of the lighter colour, a mercy call to the quilting shop will be done after work this evening! I also made the binding for the second quilt so I should be able to crack on quite quickly tonight.

    Oh what I haven’t counted in my days is about 8 hours hand quilting around the girl in the print of my first quilt!

    Hopefully tonight will be day 4. I can finish the patchwork and do the quilting and put on the binding. I also have Wed night free so I can hand sew the back of the binding on both. I will be packing on Friday, Saturday will be final packing and roller derby boot camp before a 6.30am flight on Sunday morning.

    Yep that’s me, I love to throw a challenge to myself AND add the time pressure too! Once I tried to raid €5,000 in about 2 months to go to Haiti to build houses! I think I might be slightly unbalanced!!!! πŸ˜›

  2. Ellen Deckinga says:

    My first quilt was from a kit. I hate the pattern, but love that I made it. I also went big (King sized). That was silly. I used fabric from the clearance section that I had to piece together for the back. I tacked down at each block corner with embroidery floss. I too went with "I can sew a straight line. This can’t be too difficult." and dove right in with no knowledge. That was 15 years ago and I still use it on my bed. Just finished quilt #2. A rag quilt for my girl. It’s her camp blanket and she LOVES it! Her friends all want one. It took me 2 years to make. Now I need to finish #3 a picnic blanket that has taken me 5 years. Crazy the things we dive into and fall in love with. Thanks for sharing your quilt.

  3. Joann Head says:

    I love the quilt. It’s very pretty. You could probably machine stitch the binding but other than that I think it’s perfect.
    Joann H

  4. I think it’s beautiful!

  5. I think the quilt is great the way you did it ! What a learning experience it was ! I believe if we were told how difficult a new task is, we won’t try :/ It’s better that you just jumped in and let your enthusiasm keep you going πŸ™‚ And aren’t you glad you did ?

  6. Karen Thurn says:

    I enjoyed readingand seen your first quilt. I was 16 when I made my first quilt. I sandwiched a rolled up nylon stocking between blue and white cotton/poly squares and tied yarn to keep it in place. The front squares were machine stitched together and the back was hand stitched together. To get enough nylon stockings, I placed an ad in the local paper and received enough stockings to finish the quilt, jewelry, and a proposal of marriage (turned that down). It was a heavy quilt and the stitching kept breaking needing constant repairs so after 15 years of use, I sold it for a dollar at a yard sale. It was the first thing sold and as the person walked away, my heart fell and I knew what I’d done. I only hope the person enjoyed that quilt as I wish I had not sold it.

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