Learning to Make My First Quilt Part 1: A Newbie's Journey - The Jolly Jabber Quilting Blog

Learning to Make My First Quilt Part 1: A Newbie’s Journey

Quilting can sometimes look so easy, especially when watching and reading about everything at Fat Quarter Shop. It can’t be as easy as it seams, or is it? I’m Marissa, and I write many blog posts for Fat Quarter Shop. I’m new to quilting (but not sewing!), and I wanted to invite you on my journey as I sew my first quilt.

I hope that other new quilters can learn from and relate to my experiences. For everyone who’s been quilting longer than me, I hope you can find my adventure entertaining (but not too much!).

Photo of Marissa FQS Blog Writer

I’m also happy to receive more advice in the comments, even with my fellow staffers and the resources at Fat Quarter Shop helping me out one can never learn too much.

Beginner Quilter Introduction

Preparing for My First Quilt

Thankfully, I’m not a complete stranger to the quilt world because I grew up with two aunts and a mom who quilted. Also, I have some experience with sewing machines from making and mending clothes. I love to read crafting books and DIY blogs. I’ve always wanted to make a quilt, and I’m excited to finally make one.

The Ultimate Beginner Quilt Series here on the Jolly Jabber and the Fat Quarter Shop YouTube Channel have been very helpful in learning about quilting for beginners. I’ve watched and re-watched the videos and bookmarked all the blogs. Now, I’m ready to start my quilt!

This is The Ultimate Beginner Quilt
The Ultimate Beginner Quilt is a free pattern with free video tutorials.

Choosing a Pattern

Fat Quarter Style book with the Emma fabric from Citrus & Mint

When selecting a pattern, I knew I wanted to work with precuts because they have a unified color palette, saving me from any guesswork in trying to make various pieces of fabric look good together.

I figured if I’m making a precut-friendly beginner quilt, why not use Fat Quarters? This is Fat Quarter Shop after all, and we have lots of precut-specific patterns. This led me to the Fat Quarter Style Quilt Book. It’s nice for a beginner quilter like me, as it has a section with a supply list, descriptions of sewing techniques used in the book, detailed information on how to prepare the backing, and instructions for how to bind a quilt. With twelve full quilt patterns in a range of styles, it could carry me through a full year of quilts!

mosaic quilt block pattern
The Mosaic Quilt is nice for a newbie like me!

Eventually, I chose what looked to be an easy quilt of rectangles and squares. I feel confident that I can sew straight lines, and the big quilt blocks of the Mosaic Quilt looked like an excellent pattern for my first quilt.

Choosing Fabric

Once I knew I wanted to make the Mosaic Quilt from Fat Quarter Style for my beginner quilter journey, it was time to pick the fabric.

I can be indecisive, but I could narrow it down to a few collections once I knew I was working with Fat Quarters. I spent some time scrolling through new collections and fell in love with Emma by Citrus & Mint for Riley Blake Designs.

Emma fabric collection by Citrus & Mint for Riley Blake Designs

It’s a beautiful fabric collection inspired by the Jane Austen novel and film adaptation. As an avid reader and Jane Austen fan, this Fat Quarter bundle was a perfect choice.

Beginner Quilt Supplies

With fabric in hand and an easy quilt pattern selected, the final step of my prep work was collecting the notions I needed to make my first quilt.

basic quilting supplies for beginner quilters

Besides the basics, I came up with this short list of must-have notions:

Note: I ended up putting Wonder Clips on the list above and not pins, which is what many quilters prefer, because I found that I am terrible at pinning and the Wonder Clips were a lot easier for me to use to keep edges aligned.

Next Steps for Beginner Quilt

Preparing for my first quilt has only made me more excited to make it! I hope you’ll join me on my journey as a beginner quilter by subscribing to this blog. On desktop, you’ll find the Subscribe form near the top of the right-hand menu area, and on phone, it’s near the bottom of the page.

From piecing to binding, I’m going to tackle it all. The only part I plan to outsource is longarming the quilt. Since I’m making a Twin-sized quilt, it’s just too big to quilt on a home sewing machine.

Please check back in the next few months to see how things go. Next time I’ll be cutting and piecing my blocks. Woo hoo!

If you have any advice for beginner quilters like me, please feel free to drop it in the comments below, and also let me know if you’re a new quilter and what patterns and fabrics you want to start your journey with.

See you next time and happy quilting!

Stay connected to Fat Quarter Shop!


  1. Congratulations on your new challenge. Take your time, enjoy the process and DON’T be afraid to ask if you get stuck or have questions. And, something I personally learned well on my first quilt…measure TWICE and cut once! Good luck, I’m sure you’ll do a great job!!!

  2. I would love to learn how to quilt so I’ll be following your progress! Good luck!

  3. Bin gerade bei meinem Quilt es ist schon eine Herausforderung. Aber gleich danach werde ich den 2. starten und deshalb werde ich bei diesem hier die Fortschritte verfolgen. Sehr schönes Muster

  4. I’m a beginner myself but have found when a lot of things going on in my mind, sewing (quilting) relaxes me some.
    I have started making a quilt for my Sister – a Cancer patient – making her a lap quilt with the PINK CANCER LOGO. It is challenging but I intend to finish.
    I do need more experience in matching seams better.

  5. Every quilt, I get better and better. I look back at my first quilts and can see the mistakes. You will never have enough rulers. Tape on the sewing machine to follow the 1/4 inch seam allowance is important to keep your seams even. Enjoy the journey. I love the monthly sew sampler for learning new skills, collection new fabric and notions.

    1. There are intentional patterns that are designed with no matching, which is easier, when matching seams is the challenge. It gives you a break!!

  6. I’m a long time quilter and now a long arm quilter. My advice: you are your own worst critic. Don’t let perfection get in the way of enjoying the process. Yes, do your best but “don’t sweat the small stuff”.
    Also wonder clips are great, but I still pin a lot. That can be the difference in beautiful matching seams and so-so work.

  7. I am glad you limited yourself to the quiltmaking process & not actually completing the quilting process.
    Any size quilt can be quilted on a domestic sewing machine. Suggest you watch others VLOGS on using a domestic machine for machine quilting.
    I have even learned & enjoyed the hand quilting bed sized quilts. I choose to not pay for a long armed quilt service but have enjoyed the process of learning to use my domestic sewing machine for machine quilting. It is NOT impossible.
    Try “Quilting is My Therapy VLOGS.” The YouTube creator has been a guest on FQS YouTube channel. She us VERY, VERY positive & teaches you to look at only one area to be quilted, at a time; don’t let “quilting my entire quilt” thought overwhelm you!!
    It’s all a process. I am still learning, even after 40 years of quilting!
    Thanks for sharing your process. Hopefully, it will excite other Newbies!!!

  8. It all sounds great, but just to clarify, for an experienced quilter, a twin size is not too large to quilt on a home machine. I have quilted up to a queen size on my machine. It’s not for everybody, but it can be done. Good luck with your quilt. You can do this.

  9. I’m new to quilting as well and I’m the first one in my family to quilt, so I’m teaching myself. Does anyone have any advice?

  10. There are intentional patterns that are designed with no matching, which is easier, when matching seams is the challenge. It gives you a break!!

  11. I’m a fairly new quilter myself, and I enjoy it very much. One thing I’ve learned is that most designers make 2 to 4 collections per year, so if you find a collection you love, buy now because later it might all be gone! And at the same time, don’t let all the fabric and patterns available overwhelm you. And don’t give up! God bless you. Quilters are a great bunch of people.

  12. Fair warning, quilting can quickly become addictive! 😄 Go slow, measure once, twice and thrice! Then cut. Relax, it’s only fabric and it can be fixed. Have fun.

  13. I love the fabric you choose! To me that’s the hardest thing! Just remember to enjoy, have fun and don’t be too hard on your self! I can’t wIt to see your next blog!!!

  14. I would not outsource the quilting, read Walk by Jacquie Gering and build your confidence to try walkingfoot quilting. Also you can add another blog post on your newbie adventure. As one of your 2 quilting aunts, I can honestly say you’ve got this! I look forward to following along on your adventure.

    1. Thanks Mandy! I’ll pick up those books, but it will probably be for my next quilt. Glad to have you following along. 🙂