For those of you out there who are creative and daring and don’t hesitate to take a moment for hand making a patchwork quilt, some tips are important and helpful.
Sewing patchwork by hand simply means you join small pieces of fabric together, into some various shapes. You may use rectangles, squares, hexagons or other shaped that you’d like to do. You may go, as you want for your patterned fabric, for sure.
When you don’t have the time nor the will (or the skill), you may also use a good sewing machine for your patchwork. You typically use it for the regular shapes and if your work includes more intricate shapes (pentagons, for instance), it’s actually easier to do hand sewing.
For so many years, sewing patchwork by hand was the most popular method to make a quilt or some bad covers. It’s true though that sewing machine does it better and faster.
If you tried before hand sewing, you know that it has many benefits as it relaxes you, helping you feel so proud at the end of your projects. You may get an idea on the design of your patchwork on some graph paper with various colors that are similar to your fabric. Either you go for some models from books with patchwork patterns, or go with your own ideas; it’s totally up to you. If you’re not that creative nor have the time, you can always get a kit that includes everything you need already cut.
It’s important to always use the right pins so stay away from the blunt or rusty pins. Try the quarter seamer, as it’s great for you to rule the seams nice and precise.
Use also a clear, plastic ruler on your projects and don’t hesitate to get some help from frames and hoops. The hoop is amazing for the small pieces, whereas a quilting frame is the better option for the larger projects.
Even though there is no such thing as “forbidden” fabrics for quilting, some fabric don’t make a good choice. Probably it’s better to stay away from wool, open-weave, and crepe fabrics and stretch fabric also. The best option is the 100% pure cotton fabric, especially for the entry-level quilter.
How to do it
Joining pieces in basic freehand patchwork pattern isn’t that difficult, but it’s wise to have in mind few tips. You may use any type of fabric for this type of projects, but it’s always better to have the same type and weight fabric on a single project. It doesn’t look bad to combine, for instance, a lightweight cotton with corduroy, but the fabrics don’t wear out the same in time.
The choosing of your fabric isn’t essential when working on a smaller project. Keep in mind to wash first your fabric if it’s new. It may shrink after washing it, and you do want to keep the size of your quilt, right?
First thing to begin with, to settle on the shape you want to use on your project and make templates in the chosen shape. You could use strong card or any cardboard you have around the house for the templates. Don’t forget to add ¼” seam allowance to all sides. The templates work also as a support structure while sewing, so make as many as sections you have for your project.
Put on the wrong side of your fabric the templates and don’t forget about the ¼” seam allowance, drawing it around your template. Cut as many as you need, for each color.
You need to make sure when placing the templates in the middle of your material. They need to follow the straight grain of the material. Have everything steady in place by using a pin.
Pay extra attention at each corner and fold the material over the edge of your template. Pin the material onto the template.
Now it’s time to join them together using the iron.
Place two material templates, right sides facing down and one edge together. Use some small overcast stitches and sew them, without sewing the cardboard template. Don’t forget to secure the thread at the start and finish.
Join all the patches with small overcast stitches on one or more edges until your project is done.
For a nice, professional finish, don’t forget to remove the tacking threads and the cardboard templates. Spend some time on the details and iron the seam allowances in place. You may also sew a lining inside the patchwork cover so that the edges don’t show.
Sewing a patchwork by hand in a pentagon shape is great for some pincushions. You may even join more edges together, getting a ball shape that you may use as a lavender bag afterwards.