What does it mean when someone speaks about the raw elements of quilting?

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Answered by: Donna, An Expert in the How to Make a Quilt Category
Quilting had always been a staple in households for centuries. In the eighteenth and nineteenth century, women would use various fabrics to keep their families from freezing. Feedbags to whole cloth, most would cut worn out clothing to make a quilt. Yet when someone speaks of quilting do they know what the raw elements of quilting means?

Many know that quilting is a term for a bedcover, but you also need basic needle skills to construct a quilt.

The top is the creative design, the batting, and the backing. Put those elements together and you have the beginnings of a quilt.

The top of the quilt, is where the designer in you comes in play. It is made up of fabric in designs using various templates, and unique ways of putting those designs together. Using templates is when you will be designing your block. The top is the part of the quilt where you want to concentrate on your stitching techniques. Whether you are going to hand quilt, machine quilt, or tying a quilt.

When using templates, you will cut them from vinyl or poster board. Each template must have a 1/4" seam allowance. Using a marker measure the 1/4" so that you can trace it onto the fabric. That is just a guide for sewing each piece together. Once you cut out each template you will form the block. Sew each block according to your design.

The middle is the batting. Batting or filler, comes in many different applications. There is wool, cotton, and polyester. You can purchase crib size to full. If you want to quilt a larger size, batting can be cut to your specifications.

The backing is the bottom layer of the quilt, it can be any one piece of fabric or as many to construct the size of the cover. Always keep in mind the colors that you are using on the front of the quilt, so you can incorporate the same on the back. Some quilters will use muslin so that their quilting stitches will pop out.

Once the raw elements of quilting have been completed is when you will 'sandwich' the layers together. All layers have to be joined together, including the borders.

There are many ways to join a quilt. From large safety pins, to using large whip stitches that you can pull out once the quilt is finished. In fabric outlets you can also purchase an inexpensive tool to help with joining a quilt together.

That's it! The beginnings to sewing a quilt.

There are many ways to achieve the hand quilting effect. As long as you have patience, a wooden hoop, a quilting needle, thimble, and plenty of quilting thread, a beginner can make an outstanding quilt.

Do not allow the overwhelming fear of quilting stop you. Quilting made a comeback in the late 1980's and it's never going away. If you have to start over, then start over. Nobody is perfect the first time. Until my next lesson, keep practicing.

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