Traditionally quilting was done by hand and although it was a time-consuming process, the results were nothing short of extraordinary. Nowadays quilting is done on a swing machine and takes less time and effort. However, if you want to try your hand at hand quilting, there are many small projects that you can undertake. Quilting is a technique whereby three layers of different fabric are sown together to create a quilt.
The three layers of fabric consists of the quilt batting which is layered in between the top and backing fabric. The top fabric for quilting consists of different fabric scraps in a variety of prints and patterns. There are different types of quilt designs from the classic log cabin and block patterns to more modern geometric and spiral patterns. Hand quilting a large double bed quilt might take a long time and is a daunting task, so it is better to start with something small like table runners, table mats or even a wall tapestry.
Instructions for Quilting by Hand
Whatever project you choose to quilt, whether it is a large homemade quilt or a small table mat, there are a few essential supplies that you need. These supplies are a little different from what you would choose for machine quilting.
Here is a list of supplies that you would require.
- A quilting hoop: A quilting hoop will help in keeping all the layers of your fabrics aligned together when you stitch them.
- Hand quilting thread: Hand quilting thread is different from regular quilting thread as it is coated with wax to prevent tangling and for greater stability.
- Quilting thimble: An essential tool for hand quilting is the quilting thimble. A steel thimble might be the most comfortable and workable option.
- Quilting needle: Use a small or medium-sized quilting needle for ease of work. Larger quilting needles are very cumbersome to work with and will end up with uneven stitches.
Once you have all the supplies at hand, it is time to start quilting. Cut around 16-18 inches of quilting thread and thread it through the quilting needle. Knot the longer end of the thread into a quilter's knot and make sure that the knot is secure. Next arrange your quilt fabrics one over the other (i.e. the quilt batting is to be placed in between the top fabric and the backing fabric). If you are making a patchwork quilt first assemble the different patches of top fabrics together in a pleasing and symmetric pattern. Pin the fabric patches together and then sew the different pieces together with a simple running stitch, along the edges, keeping a 1/4th inch seam allowance. When you are done arranging your fabric pieces in order, slip the quilting hoop over the fabrics and secure it tightly.
The next step is to hold the quilting hoop in your hand and wear the quilting thimble on the middle finger of your other hand. Now place the needle into the fabric and push it vertically inwards, making sure that you do not push it all the way through. The needle should go through the quilt top and the batting only. Now pick up a new stitch from the bottom of the quilt backing, tugging the thread firmly so that the quilter's knot is lodged in between the batting and the backing fabric. Now continue stitching all the layers of fabric together with short running stitches. Try to keep the stitches as even as possible so that it looks neat.
This is the procedure for quilting by hand. You can create simple to intricate patterns by hand quilting. By combining colorful and patterned fabric pieces you can create a detailed quilt. Now that you know how to quilt by hand, you can create many beautiful projects for your home.