10 Quilting Techniques Every Quilter Should Master

Important Skills for Quilters

There are lots of quilting techniques that every quilter should master, ten of those methods are on nearly every experienced quilter's 'must know' list.

Never Let Yourself Become Discouraged

Beginning quilters are sometimes overwhelmed by the hundreds of new terms and techniques they encounter when they make their first quilt, and the confusion is often compounded because of the many ways to accomplish every quiltmaking task. You'll discover which quilting methods work best for you...MORE as you become more experienced, but getting comfortable with the must-know skills will help you sew accurate quilts on your very first try.

  • 01 of 10

    Become Familiar with Quilting Terminology

    Learn Quilting Terminology
    Learn Quilting Lingo. Rachael Porter / Getty Images

    Be sure to read How to Make a Quilt -- it includes important information about the skills needed for successful projects. And take a look at a list of common quilting abbreviations.

    Keep a basic quilting book at your fingertips when you're making a quilt or reading quilting articles. When you encounter a term you don't understand, look it up. It won't be long before you're familiar with all of the terms you need to know in order to follow quiltmaking instructions.

  • 02 of 10

    Learn About the Qualities of Fabric

    Quilt
    Store your quilts safely. Marcie Cheatham / E+ / Getty Images

    Fabrics are the backbone of our quilts, but you might be surprised how many people begin to assemble their first quilt without putting fabric characteristics to work for them.

    It's much easier to make a quilt once you understand how to care for your fabrics and why quilting patches are cut using specific guidelines. Two important must-knows are:

    You needn't buy the most expensive fabrics but don't waste...MORE hours making a quilt with thin fabric that won't hold up during use and when it is washed.

  • 03 of 10

    Learn How to Sew a Quarter Inch Seam Allowance

    Photo by Steve Allen / Getty Images

    Beginning quilters, especially people who are accustomed to sewing garments with 5/8" seam allowances, sometimes have a hard time visualizing and sewing the 1/4" seam allowance used to make quilts. There are tricks to help you get the seam just right, but do a few tests before you start sewing patches for a quilt, just to be sure your seams are accurate.

  • 04 of 10

    Develop Your Rotary Cutting Skills

    Quilt Making Tools
    Which tools can you take in carry-on luggage, and which should be checked in baggage?. Lisa Stokes / Getty Images

    Rotary cutting is a technique that every new quilter should master because it allows us to bypass the time-intense method of constructing templates to mark and cut individual pieces of fabric.

    You'll love the freedom that rotary tools provide, and speedy cutting is a fantastic motivation for continued success.

    Continue to 5 of 10 below.
  • 05 of 10

    Learn Quick Piecing Techniques

    Strip piecing and other quick piecing techniques let you sew large chunks of fabric together, then slice off sections to create pre-sewn units. It is so easy! Learn the basics and you'll be able to create an easy version of just about any quilt block you see.

    A few popular techniques include:

  • 06 of 10

    Get Pressing Basics Down Pat

    How to Press Quilt Blocks
    Pressed Quilt Blocks Shown on the Reverse Side. Getty Images

    Your piecing accuracy will improve immediately when you take a bit of time to press your quilt blocks as you make them. And setting seams before pressing allowances to one side is an excellent way to instantly improve your patchwork.

    You might think extra pressing will slow you down, but you'll find that you actually save time when properly pressed quilt blocks fit together just like they should, without grabbing the dreaded seam ripper.

  • 07 of 10

    Don't Pitch Those Problem Quilt Blocks Just Yet

    © Janet Wickell

    We've all sewn quilt blocks that aren't quite accurate. Most often, they're smaller than they should be, perhaps because we've either sewn a slightly large quarter inch seam allowance or haven't pressed adequately. Don't feel discouraged if that happens to you, because a high percentage of 'off' quilt blocks can be rescued.

    How to Fix Problem Quilt Blocks

  • 08 of 10

    Measure and Sew Borders the Correct Way

    String Table Runner
    Use String Piecing to Make a Table Runner. Janet Wickell

    Adding one or more borders to the edges of a quilt does more than provide an attractive frame for your work... the process offers an excellent opportunity to square up slightly skewed edges.

    It isn't unusual to see beginning quilters determine border length by measuring along the outside edges of a quilt. If the quilt is skewed, that technique ensures it will remain skewed. Learn how to measure and sew borders that will improve the structure of a quilt.

    How to Measure and Sew Straight Borders

    Continue to 9 of 10 below.
  • 09 of 10

    Be Sure to Try Mitered Binding

    Mitered Quilt Binding
    It's Easy to Sew Mitered Quilt Binding. Janet Wickell

    Sewing mitered binding to the edges of a quilt has developed a bit of a reputation of being difficult, but is actually a very easy technique. An important step is omitted from nearly all mitered binding instructions, and it creates problems for anyone who'd like to apply binding that's wider or more narrow than 1/4". My quilt binding instructions explain.

    Easy Mitered Quilt Binding

  • 10 of 10

    Don't Obsess Over Errors

    We All Make Ugly Quilts Sometimes
    We All Make Ugly Quilts Sometimes. Janet Wickell

    The awful little quilt illustrated here is an example of how an understanding color value is just as important as an understanding of the color wheel, maybe even more so, but it's essential to learn as much as you can about each of those elements.

    We all make errors, both technical and in our choice of fabrics, but our boo-boos nearly always lead to a better understanding of the quilting process. 'Mistakes' are really just learning experiences, so analyze them and tuck that knowledge...MORE away for the next project. Your skills will grow with every new quilt you sew.