Quilting for Beginners

Going to a quilt show always inspires me and makes me want to give it a try myself. At home, reality sets in and reminds me that quilts are large and complex and can be really intimidating for someone new to quilting. However, we can all learn to quilt and here are some tips to get started.

Sewing machine Janome sewing machine

You don’t need a fancy sewing machine to start quilting. You can get by with a simple machine that only does a straight stitch when you begin.

As you fall in love with quilting, you might want to invest in a better quality machine. Craftsy has a great article on what to look for when shopping for a sewing machine for beginners.

Start small

When you take up a new hobby it’s tempting to be super ambitious and think you should start with a big, awesome project. However, a key to success is to start small.

A quilt show I attended recently had the traditional huge bedspread-sized quilts, but there was also a section for 12″ x 12″ quilts. A quilted wall hanging can be even smaller. Finishing a small project will give you confidence to try something a little bigger next time.

Learn quilted wall hangingfrom others

Joining a local quilt guild is also a good way to get started in the world of quilting. Quilters with more experience can be a great resource. It’s also a good way to meet new people with similar interests. The Kansas Capital Quilters Guild meets twice a month and encourages visitors to attend their meetings.

If you’re looking for something a little more structured, Stitching Traditions Quilt Shop and JoAnn Fabrics both offer quilting classes.

The library can help!

We have lots of great resources to support beginning quilters. In addition to physical books and magazines, the library’s Flipster account provides online access to issues of Modern Patchwork magazine going back to 2015. Check out the book list below for some beginner/easy quilting titles to get you started. Happy quilting!

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Brea Black is the Art Librarian and Book Arts Curator in the Alice C. Sabatini Gallery. Her favorite thing is to share the wonderful world of artists' books with the community. She also leads the Arts & Crafts team and teaches workshops on bookmaking, altered books, and a variety of crafty topics.