Is it better to start quilting fresh or after being a garment sewer?

Recently I attended a color workshop at a terrific quilt shop. We got to know each other at the start by telling the group how long we had been quilting. The answers ranged from not yet to my 33 years. I would say that the majority had been quilting for less than 5 years. The answers marinated in my head until today when I asked myself, is it better to start quilting fresh or after being a garment sewer?

There are many quilters like myself, who started off sewing clothes and then drifted into quilting. I have the impression that many new quilters, particularly younger ones, started quilting fresh. They may have an art background but quilting was their first foray into the sewing world.

I doubt there is one answer to this but let’s examine the advantages and disadvantages of being new to the world of fabric via quilting. Then let’s take a look at the pros and cons of sewing clothing for a while before becoming a quilter. I think we’ll find there are good points to both.

Pluses for Quilters who start sewing with quilting

  • They don’t have a huge stash of hem tape, polyester fabrics and sleeve hams.
  • They don’t have to change any sewing habits ie seam width or backstitching.
  • They never took a picky tailoring class, they sew for
  • They have never been without rotary cutters, self healing mats and improvised piecing.
  • The wide world of the internet is their primary resource, not just books they could afford.
  • They will finish a quilt quickly using new methods and be reinforced.
  • The whole love of fabric and thread is out there for them.
  • Fresh eye.

Pluses for Quilters who started with sewing clothing and went to quilts

  • They have a stash of thread, pins, scissors and notions.
  • Their sewing machine is already a non intimidating friend.
  • They learned the old school way and are ready for freedom.
  • If they forget a tool or it breaks, they have other tricks up their sleeves.
  • They have a library of books they can peruse anytime, even without electricity.
  • They will take on a bigger challenge for a first quilt and feel accomplished.
  • They get to keep up their love of fabrics and threads.
  • Experience

Minuses for Quilters who start sewing with quilting

  • Lack of sewing intuition.
  • Zippers, buttonholes or setting in a sleeve are not in their skill set for making quilted projects._con
  • Lack of fixing their own machine experience.

Minuses for Garment sewers who went to quilting

  • Hard to break old habits.
  • Preconceived ideas about quilts and their construction.
  • Might lack boldness in color decisions.

It’s not like anyone makes a decision early on, I will start sewing clothes so I can gain some skills and then become a quilter. Some people only want to make clothes and not quilts or vice versa. It’s just good to have an awareness that not everyone is at the same place as you are. My class gave me this realization and I wanted to pass it on.

Help me out, anything else I should add to these lists?

Sew happy!

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I have written before about when I was fresh to the sewing world. Check out this post. I also wrote about when I switched from garments to quilts.

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