When it comes to quilt patterns, there are so many options out there it can be hard to pick one to start with. For someone new to quilting, it can be overwhelming to pick out a quilt pattern from the gorgeous eye candy and online tutorials that’s just right for a first-time quilter. Read on for some helpful tips to guide you in picking the right beginner-friendly pattern.
For your first quilt project, it’s a good idea to start with something small. Quilt patterns can range in size from wall-hanging or crib size (about 40″ X 50″) and lap quilt up to King size bed (85″ X 95″ or more). A toddler- or lap-sized quilt is a good place to start.
Keep it Simple
In the beginning, straight lines are your friend. Avoid quilts with curved piecing for your first go round. Likewise, look for larger blocks and pieces. They’re easier to cut and work with. Jelly Roll Twist (above) is a free quilt pattern that comes with a video tutorial and it uses just half a Jelly Roll (a collection of 2.5″ pre-cut strips). This a great pattern for a first quilt, and makes a cute and easy baby quilt, too.
Charm Pack Cherry is a free quilt pattern that starts with four charm packs, two prints and two solids. You don’t have to be too concerned with lining up the seams. Just assemble squares into strips and sew together. This quilt, sewn by Melanie of A Bit of Scrap Stuff, comes together quickly.
Building Your Skills
Once you’ve sewn a few quilts and are feeling confident in your skills, you can dive into more advanced patterns. Increasing the size of the quilt, working with smaller blocks and pieces, or sewing curved or bias seams present new challenges and opportunities for flexing your sewing muscle. The Jolly Bar Bon Bons Quilt is another free pattern that is part of our Shortcut Quilt series. It involves sewing on the bias, and Kimberly provides some tips for that in the free video tutorial. The Jolly Bar Bon Bons Quilt Kit and Backing Set come with everything you need to sew this beautiful quilt.
Where to find Beginner-Friendly Patterns
It’s Sew Emma’s Little P patterns are beginner-friendly designs perfect as baby quilts.
Our Shortcut Quilt Patterns all start with precuts, so there’s less cutting involved. They range from beginner to intermediate level.
Check out the free quilt patterns on our Fat Quarter Shop Free Patterns Page. You can sort by precut type to find a pattern that matches what you’re looking for.
Quilt Pattern Basics
Most patterns have fabric requirements and directions for cutting and assembling, but they’re all a little different in style and format. Before you even start cutting into fabric, it’s helpful to read the pattern through from start to finish to get the big picture. Highlight important numbers or steps. If you encounter questions while going through a pattern, reach out to the pattern designer for clarification. Many patterns assume you have knowledge of sewing, cutting and pressing, can sew an accurate 1/4″ seam, and basic quilt assembly skills. If you encounter techniques that are challenging, a search on YouTube or a basic book on quilting can really help.
Work with Fabric you Love
Another key to enjoying quilting when you’re getting started – or at any point along the journey – is to use fabric that you love! Pick the colors and patterns that you want to sew. Use high-quality quilting cotton for best results. Quilting cotton is a woven 100% cotton fabric that’s easy to work with and will last through years of use and washings.
There are so many choices when it comes to fabric! The options are truly endless. In an upcoming blog post, I’ll be diving into more details of fabric selection and precut types.
Join us and share your progress!
Tell us in the comments below, what was the first quilt you made?