I took a class on how to make a quilt in 1983 and I made two sampler quilts in that year. I liked the class very much and it was very old school. I could never take this class today but I take a certain perverse pleasure in learning how to quilt in such a rigid way. As I remember them, these were the main rules.
- Use 100% cotton fabric that is prewashed, dried and ironed.
- Cut every piece on the grain.
- Measure carefully and often.
- Choose an established quilt block and build your quilt from it.
- Cut out every piece by hand after tracing a template.
- Save all your templates.
- Mark by hand every 1/4" sewing seam.
- Sew every seam by hand.
- Use the color wheel to choose fabrics.
- Press all seams closed.
- Plan seam pressing direction to reduce bulk.
- Press towards the darker fabric.
- Cut all borders along the length of the fabric so there are no seams in borders.
- Baste together spread out on the floor, crawl around and put in safety pins.
- Hand quilt on a premarked design, in the ditch or 1/4" away from seam.
- Cut all binding pieces on the bias.
- Hand sew all bindings
There were probably more rules but those are the main ones I remember.
We made a sampler quilt, again a good idea for a first quilt.
Every one of the blocks was pieced by hand, can you believe it?
I followed every single rule.
Quilt by quilt I dropped rule after rule.
Today I still follow rule #1 which horrifies some people. And I try to follow rules 2, 3 and 11.
I broke a quilt rule today. #12. Not for the first time but without any guilt for the first time.
See the arrows? That is where I pressed. the. seam. open.
Yes I did.
If I were planning on stitching in the ditch, I would not have done it.
I am finishing up a quilt for the Michael Miller Challenge and I wanted the top to lay flatter. I think ironing the seams open will help that.
Are all the rules made to be broken?
Sure, if you want and you're not afraid of the quilt police.
But for me, no. There are still some rules I like to follow.
- I choose luscious quality fabrics. I am putting all this time in, it's got to be top notch.
- I want to finish this quilt in my lifetime, I choose projects that will take less than a year.
- I prewash all my fabrics even though I know most of you don't agree with me.
- I really try to make everything be straight and measured correctly. Try.
- I make things I love and give them away.
- I do most everything by machine.
- I have fun.
I have changed the type of quilts I make because after 30 plus years, who wouldn't? I learned with a bunch of rules and the fun part is that sometimes I get to think, uh oh, I broke a Quilt rule today. Noticed I capitalized Quilt. Those are the highly important Quilt with a capital Q rules, not mine.
What about you? Do you have any quilt rules you try to follow? Or break?
Mine, I rarely break. But I have to go and finish that Michael Miller Challenge quilt, rule breaker that it is.
Being near to finishing two quilts? Now that makes me Sew happy!
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Want to see how the last rule breaker quilt turned out? Here's the post.
Filed under: advice