Learn to Sew: The Beginner’s Quilt

Ok, I know what you're thinking: surely quilt construction is better left in the hands of a sewing master! I has hesitant too. But I've been wanting to make a quilt ever since I discovered the blog Posy Gets Cozy. I mean, who wouldn't want to picnic on this? When I came home to Toronto, I enlisted my mother to teach me the basics of the sewing machine. My first quilt was simple and came together pretty quickly. I'd never used a sewing machine before, but now I can change the thread, work all the dials, and actually stitch in a straight line... I think I've found a new hobby! Ok, so maybe now you're thinking: but sewing is so old fashioned and unglamorous! I would disagree. There's something so lovely about the traditional domestic arts as an antidote to today's world of disposable fashions and fast-food. There's also something very satisfying and modern about being a competent, self-sufficient woman (or man)... Why pay a tailor to hem your pants when you can do it yourself? Finally, what's more glamorous than having beautiful things custom made for your wardrobe and your home? I rest my case.

To start a quilt, make a cardboard template 6X6 inches. Lay it on your fabric and trace around with a marker to cut uniform squares. The take two squares, put the good sides together, and pin along one side. Sew a 1/2 inch seam.

Always using a 1/2 inch seam, sew a strip of squares together. Use as many squares as it takes to create the width you want. When you have two strips, pin them along the length and sew. Keep sewing strips together until you have your desired length.

The finished quit-top! I can't wait to lay it across the back of my new sofa and snuggle up on a cool evening!

I used left-over bits of fabrics that were lying around the house from projects past, so each square is a walk down memory lane. Some came from my brother's baby blanket, some from dresses my mother made for my favourite dolls, some from my attempt to make a peplos for a grade 10 Latin project, and some remnants from my mother's elegant bespoke blouses. The mix of simple cottons and delicate linen/silk blends is elegant and the fresh colour pallet is so cheerful. I think the overall effect is really pretty.

I'll finish my quilt in Brisbane to save space in my suitcase. I think I'll do a solid back, probably in a cotton gingham print. If you get stuck finishing your own quilt, there are some good instructional videos on Youtube. Good luck!

Catherine Roberts