Straight Stitch Practice Tutorial: Simple Quilting

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Learn to Machine Sew, Straight Stitch Practice Tutorial: Simple Quilting

Welcome to our first practice tutorial as part of Cucicucicoo’s Learn to Machine Sew series! On Monday we practiced the straight stitch and how to adjust stitch length and tension, as well as tacking down the beginning and end of stitching with a zero stitch length if you are unable to backstitch. It’s great to be able to straight stitch all over fabric (and paper bag!) scraps, but I know that you want to make something that you can be proud of with your new skill. So today we are going to be doing some very simple quilting.

I am not really a quilter, but what we’re going to do today is pretty basic. To keep it simple we’re not going to bind our quilt piece, but leave the edges raw. There are all sorts of things that you could do with it, such as frame and hang it or make a pillow from it. I will be making a pillow case for a throw pillow from it, which you might consider doing too, because I will be publishing a tutorial for making a pillow cover in another two or three weeks. (edit: here’s the tutorial on sewing an envelope-style pillow case.)

Learn to Machine Sew, Straight Stitch Practice Tutorial: Simple Quilting

For todays’ tutorial you will need three squares (or rectangles) of fabric the same size: two quilting cotton and one batting. I didn’t want to waste my special fabric for the back piece that won’t be seen, so I just used some plain woven cotton for that piece. When making a pillow case, you need to cut the fabric exactly the size of the insert, which goes against the logic of seam allowance, but is what you need to do to get a snug fit. So, if you are making a pillow cover for a 50 x 50 cm (20 x 20 inch) Ikea pillow insert, as I am, cut your three squares 50 x 50 cm (20 x 20 inch). Make sure you have enough exterior fabric (in my case, the cupcakes) for the pillow backing. For this size pillow, you’ll need two 32 x 50 cm (13 x 20 inch) pieces with the long side along the crosswise grain (see Lesson 2 for more information about grain) for the backing. If you cut them out now, just put them aside for when we get to that tutorial.

Learn to Machine Sew, Straight Stitch Practice Tutorial: Simple Quilting

Batting is foamy, fluffy stuff sandwiched between fabrics to provide depth to the project. Most batting is synthetic, but you can also find cotton batting. You can also use polar fleece or another puffy fabric, but the end results could vary.

Learn to Machine Sew, Straight Stitch Practice Tutorial: Simple Quilting

Place the back square (my blue one) on your surface, right side down. Place the batting on top of it and on top of that the top fabric, right side up. Make sure all the sides and corners are lined up. (My batting piece was slightly bigger than the other pieces, which is why it doesn’t seems lined up, but it is.) Then pin through all three layers of fabric along the sides and throughout the center.

Learn to Machine Sew, Straight Stitch Practice Tutorial: Simple Quilting

The cool thing about quilting is that the stitching compresses the batting, leaving the spaces between stitching to puff up. You can already start to see the effect with just the pins.

Learn to Machine Sew, Straight Stitch Practice Tutorial: Simple Quilting

Decide how you want to quilt your fabric. If you have a printed cotton, you could sew around some or all of the shapes. Or, if the cotton is a solid color, you could use your fabric marker (the erasable type, as discussed in Lesson 2) to draw shapes or block letters and stitch along those. How cute would it be to quilt your child’s name with a heart or star and frame it for his or her bedroom? Or quilt simple stripes or a diagonal grid or just random shapes and wavy lines. Let your imagination roam free! But before starting to sew, remember to test tension and stitch length on a scrap sandwich (of batting between cotton layers). I started my quilting by sewing around some of the top fabric’s printed cupcakes.

Learn to Machine Sew, Straight Stitch Practice Tutorial: Simple Quilting

I soon got tired of doing this, so I decided to sew diagonal stripes across the entire square, except the stitched cupcakes, which I wanted intact. I used my chalk roller* to draw even lines using my cutting mat* and quilter’s ruler* (even if I don’t quilt, I use these tools a lot).

Learn to Machine Sew, Straight Stitch Practice Tutorial: Simple Quilting

Then I stitched along the lines, making sure not to go inside the quilted cupcakes. Look how the surface of the fabric changes from this…

Learn to Machine Sew, Straight Stitch Practice Tutorial: Simple Quilting

…to this. Because of the batting in between the cotton layers and my stripes which were a bit close together, I had to make sure to use both hands to pull the fabric on each side taut as it went under the machine, or else the top layer would bunch up. A walking foot would help with this, too, though I didn’t use one. I worked from one corner to the opposite one, one line at a time. When there was a quilted cupcake interrupting the line, I preferred to start stitching from the cupcake and working towards the fabric edge.

Learn to Machine Sew, Straight Stitch Practice Tutorial: Simple Quilting

Brush off your chalk marks and you’re done! I realized in hindsight that my cupcakes were a little on the small side to stand out amongst the quilted lines, but I think it would be really cute to quilt individual shapes and then lines around them if the shapes were larger. If you plan on making a pillow cover with your quilted piece, here’s the lesson on how to do that.

So, how did your first sewing project go? I would love to see what you made! Post a picture or two to the Cucicucicoo Creations Flickr group or to the Cucicucicoo Facebook page to show off your work!

This tutorial is part of the syllabus of Cucicucicoo’s  beginner’s sewing course!Learn to Machine Sew with Cucicucicoo: a free sewing course for beginners

*This post contains affiliate links.

18 COMMENTS

  1. Bellissima lezione! Io sto trapuntando un centrotavola a mano e ci sto mettendo un’eternità! Il prossimo lavoro sarà sicuramente con la macchina da cucire!!!!

  2. Ciao Lisa, le tue lezioni sono veramente interessanti, mi piace come spieghi perché usi parole semplici, e adoro le tue foto. Si direbbe che la tua professione è l’insegnamento. Questa fase per fortuna l’ho già assimilata facendo un po’ di patchwork. Sapessi quante volte ho sbagliato a cucire e il fastidio di disfare e rifare, ma è stata una buona scuola. Sono convinta che queste lezioni sono seguite da tante allieve che come me hanno il desiderio di imparare tanti piccoli ma utili trucchetti.
    Grazie per il tempo che ci dedichi.
    Ivana

    • Ciao Ivana, Allora sarai molto più brava di me in questo, perché non ho mai fatto un patchwork vero e proprio! Hai ragione; le persone si scocciano e si scoraggiano quando fanno errori (ed è comprensibile), ma è solo così che si impara! Non voglio manco pensare in quanti ne ho fatti io! 😉
      Sì, in effetti insegnare è il mio lavoro “ufficiale” e quindi sono abituata a spiegare le cose anche ai principianti! Ma in parte le parole semplici sono dovute al fatto che non so usare le parole più complicate in Italiano!! (La versione in inglese di questo sito è scritta decisamente meglio!)

  3. blog meraviglioso, complimenti all’autrice, ovviamente sto leggendo con molta attenzione tutte le lezioni di cucito, ho stampato i fogli per cucire a macchina, brava davvero brava

  4. Ciao Lisa,
    è molto interessante questo il tuo blog e le prime lezioni sono state utilissime per iniziare ad usare la mia macchina da cucire. Quindi GRAZIE!
    Il mio obiettivo sarebbe quello di realizzare tanti bei lavoretti utili per la casa, nonchè refashionare qualche vestito 🙂
    Vorrei usare questa lezione sulle cuciture dritte con imbottitura per fare delle presine per la cucina, ma come devo chiudere la stoffa?

    • Ciao, Simona! Ottima idea fare le presine con quilting! Per chiudere la stoffa, dovresti fare due strati e unirli con la tecnica di rivoltare e impunturare (vedi il link per sapere come funziona la tecnica). Ho messo un tutorial per fare le presine semplici, quindi ti consiglio di guardarlo. Per fare l’effetto quilting semplice (non intorno alle forme nella fantasia del tessuto), potresti fare le presine come in quel tutorial (con due pezzi di tessuto esterno e uno di spugna), cucirli come indicato nel tutorial sulle presine, poi alla fine cucirci sopra delle linee, in modo da fare l’effetto trapuntato su entrambi i lati. Provaci e poi fammi sapere! 🙂

  5. Salve, grazie il quilt si può fare anche usando vari pezzi di tessuto e poi trapuntarlo con il punto dritto.Io ho comprato la stoffa per la trapunta e poi quanti centimetri dovrebbe essere il bordo? Grazie adesso guardo anche come ingrandire i cartamodelli che non so come fare, sono andata in copisteria ma non so come ingrandire il modello.Fammi sapere.Saluti
    Pina

    • Sì, si possono unire più pezzi. Se vuoi fare un bordo, bisogna avere una striscia lunga un po’ più della somma dei quattro lati.
      Non so se parli del cartamodello della Shopper Portovunque, ma non c’è bisogno di ingrandirlo, né di andare in copisteria. Ho riposto al tuo commento sul post su come stampare i cartamodelli, quindi non ripeto qui! 🙂

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