How to Quilt Step by Step

Itching to make your own handmade quilt? You're in the right place! Here, we'll walk you through every step of the process, from choosing your materials to the final stitch.

Step 1: Gather Your Tools

With a few basic tools, you'll be ready to get going! Click below for a full list of beginner quilting supplies, from rulers to pins and more.

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Step 2: Prep Your Sewing Machine

The most important tool of all? Your sewing machine! If you already have one on hand, go ahead and get it all set up. If you need to buy one, click below for some tips for choosing the perfect one for you.

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Step 3: Pick Your Pattern

Next, select a quilt design you like! We love the Friendship Stars Quilt designed by Christa Watson shown here, but the options are endless. You can find dozen more beginner-friendly patterns by independent designers in our Pattern Marketplace.

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Step 4: Find Your Materials

Once you know what you want to make, the next step is to find the fabric for the front, the backing fabric and the batting. Reference your pattern so you know what to buy.

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Getting Started

Prepare Your Fabric

Once you've gathered your supplies, you're finally ready to get your hands on the fabric! But don't start up your machine just yet — there are a few steps you need to prepare.

Step 5: Iron Your Fabric

Let's flatten everything. This step removes wrinkles and makes your cutting and sewing easier. A regular or travel iron (like the Steamfast Iron shown here) works. Only iron the fabric, not the batting.

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Step 6: Cut the Pieces

Following the instructions and measurements in your pattern, cut all of the small pieces. It's a bit like chopping all your ingredients before cooking. A clear ruler, cutting mat and rotary cutter are the keys to successful slicing.

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Sewing Time

Sewing the Quilt Top

Now that your fabric pressed, marked and cut, it's time to sew all the pieces together into a quilt top.

Step 7: Sew the Blocks

In most patterns, you'll start by sewing all the blocks. (If your pattern gives you different instructions, follow the pattern.) Use a straight stitch, and remember that ¼" seam allowance! Repeat until all your blocks are sewn together.

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Step 8: Sew the Blocks Together

Now, sew those blocks together! You might sew them into rows or quadrants, for example — be sure to follow the instructions in your pattern.

Step 9: Press the Seams

Once the blocks are sewn together, press the seams. Your pattern should tell you which direction to press them, but if it doesn't, press alternating rows in opposite directions. For example, in the first row, press all seams to the right; in the second row, press all seams to the left. Repeat until all rows are pressed.

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Step 10: Finish the Quilt Top

Finally, sew all the segments together so that you have one cohesive quilt top. Press the seams, then stand back and admire your work. But you're not done quite yet!

Finishing Up

Make the Quilt Sandwich

We're not talking about lunch! To finish your quilt, you'll stack the three layers, quilt them and bind it all together.

Step 11: Backing & Batting

If you haven't already, cut a piece of batting 2" - 3" larger than your quilt top and a piece of backing fabric about 1" larger than that. This ensures you have plenty of wiggle room!

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Step 12: Baste the Layers

No, we're not talking turkey. Basting means adhering the quilt top, batting and backing together. We recommend spray basting (read more below!).

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Step 13: Quilt It!

Finally, time to add that beautiful quilting! You can always send your quilt off to a longarm quilter, but that's not your only option. Learn some simple, at-home free-motion quilting techniques with our free downloadable guide.

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Step 14: Bind Your Quilt

The very last step? Binding your quilt! Add that neat finishing touch with help from our free blog tutorial.

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From Start to Finish

Join expert Christa Watson in hours of close-up video instructions as she walks you through making your own quilt, from choosing materials to the very last stitch.