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Quilting By Hand

Posted by Quilting Bee on

As a craft, quilting had its heydays in the good old days when it was done by hands. Quilts then would take months and sometimes years to finish, but it was all worth it. Today, modern quilting using machines can finish a project in less than a week.

However, there seems to be a trend today for people to work on their quilts by hand, especially beginners. Speed seems to be relegated in favor of the good old feeling in the quilt-making process by hand.


The following are a few time-tested tips in quilting by hand. Most of them were handed down by mothers to their daughters and friends to friends.

Some other techniques were copied from neighbors and other ethnic and religious groups. On their own, these communities of people developed their own beautiful quilt-making traditions and styles.

As every true-blue quilt-makers have learned, quilting by hand needs a quilting hoop (or frame), a box needles and threads, and a steady supply of patience.

Quilting hoops and the tandem of needles and threads are standard sewing equipments. (The patience is for use in the process that could sometimes take years to complete, depending on how much time was spent on it.)

After attaching the quilt into a hoop (or frame, if it is very large), beginners are advised to start in the middle and work through to the edges. If there is appliqué used, go first around the shapes to give them a puffed-up look and make them prominent.

Sew a little bit away from the line of material (about 2 millimeters) to accentuate the appliqué forms. Use small and even stitches. Never rush or you will have the unpleasant task of undoing sections that look sloppy.

For patchworks, start in the middle of the quilt and simply follow the lines of the squares.
An alternative would be to cross hatch sections or the whole quilt.

When cross-hatching, draw the lines first in soft-leaded pencils because it is difficult to keep them even at all times. Another alternative to cross-hatching or tracing shapes is stippling. This fills up entire areas and gives out a heavily-quilted texture and looks.

Mainly, this is for background filling, or even covering an entire quilt. Stippling is an organized pattern in sewing where the quilter makes smooth curves that do not meet or do a cross-over.


To keep the quilt top and the backing aligned, there is need for basting. If the two fabrics do not match up, the quilting process could be difficult, and the material could pucker up or curl.

Loosely-woven fabrics do not do well in quilting, while densely-woven fabrics and blends are difficult to work on. Go for medium-weave, middle-weight pure cotton fabrics (if possible) if you want uniform stitches, durability and relative ease in the quilting.

Threads to be used should be those for quilting. They are thicker and stronger than plain threads. For other design considerations, you can always choose what you think is best, especially if the project is simply a decorative quilt.

These are only some of the very few basics in quilting. All the other tips you will learn as you along in the happy and exhilarating process of sewing with your own hands a potential work of art.

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