My first (and last?) quilt is finished

Beginner quilt - my first ever quilt.  A jelly roll baby quilt.

I got through it in the end and finished my first ever quilt, but it wasn't without plenty of errors and snarling along the way.  I started this a couple of weeks back, then got to the point of spray basting it all together, but wasn't sure how to actually ‘quilt' it. I'd already made a bit of a problem for myself because I hadn't thought in advance about what size it was going to be, and you know how one problem often compounds to make a project a disaster?

Well, I think I avoided the disaster in the end and it came out pretty good, but I'm not sure I'm ready any time soon to be doing this again.  I've had two expecting ladies ask me for a baby quilt, and this will satisfy one of them, the other will be getting something a bit different.

I was stuck at the point of actually adding the quilting stitches so I signed up for Start Free Motion Quilting. It really was excellent, and over the course of the lessons I learned enough stitches and felt confident enough at the end, that with a bit of practice, I could at least make something I wouldn't be embarrassed about handing over.


That didn't always go smoothly and sometimes I was concentrating so hard on what was happening under my needle that I didn't notice what was happening under my fabric and several times I quilted the quilt to itself and had to undo, luckily just at the edges.  Snarl.

Beginner quilt - my first ever quilt.  A jelly roll baby quilt.

I found it really difficult to move the fabric around as I wanted it and get it all in the harp of the machine, even with this little quilt.  Taking the course and practicing the stitches on test pieces was easy, but trying to move around the whole quilt smoothly to make the swirls and stitches was much harder.  That are rather more jagged bits or abrupt stops than I would have liked.  It took me the whole day and my hands, arms and shoulders were very sore by the end.

Overall, my free-motion quilting was pretty poor, but then I forgave myself.  It is my first ever time, its not being entered into a quilting show.  The expectant mum will be far too concerned about the upcoming labour to worry about the state of my quilting stitches and the new baby will just like it because it's snuggly and pretty.  It gives me a feel-good feeling inside to make something for them both and I know it will be loved and appreciated.

Beginner quilt - my first ever quilt.  A jelly roll baby quilt.

Once it was all quilted, I squared it up, but nothing had really changed, everything was still good, except it had shrunk up a bit, and was more puffy and quilty so had actually lost a few inches in measurement.  That's something I hadn't thought about, but it makes perfect sense.

Beginner quilt - my first ever quilt.  A jelly roll baby quilt.

There was a small piece of bright pink in my stash that just about gave me enough for the binding.  My plan had been to completely machine sew it, stitching in the ditch from the front to just catch the back.  That always makes me a bit nervous.  I was about 3/4 of the way around stitching on the binding when I realised that owls were looking up at me – I was sewing the binding on the BACK of the quilt.  Snarl again. Too late now to take it off, so I sewed the whole lot onto the back of the quilt and then hand stitched the front down.

As much as I can't be bothered with hand sewing, I think it gave a nicer finish so it was worth it.  A quick press and the quilt was finished.  Thank goodness.

Beginner quilt - my first ever quilt.  A jelly roll baby quilt.

So here it is – my first, and probably last, ever quilt.  Now it's done I love it and I'm proud of what I made.

I think it's going to make a lovely baby gift.  But I really feel sad about handing it over now.

Beginner quilt - my first ever quilt. A jelly roll baby quilt.Have you ever sewn something for someone else and then not wanted to give it away?

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70 Responses to My first (and last?) quilt is finished

  1. Martinelli says:

    Deby, I too had the same reaction to quilting when I made my first quilt. I absolutely took an oath”I’ll NEVER quilt again!!” But as “they”say, never say never!! Whenever you say “I’ll never do that again”, you’re bound to do it again. And the incredible thing is you’ll improve as you do it again. I said I’d NEVER make another quilt (back in the 1980’s. A year later I was sewing quilts & earning money for doing so. Then I made comforters, curtains and even a few wedding dresses. So I’ve learned never to say “I’ll never do that again”, cuz that’s the one thing I probably will do again. And by the way, MsDeby, your sewing is beautiful, so is your arrangements & you will make many more quilts. Yes they’re a challenge, but that’s what makes it worth while. You now have a skill you didn’t have before. Make a small, simple “crazy quilt” for someone for their dog, cat, or to keep in the car. Crazy quilts are far less demanding, more fun & quicker. And you’ll develop more experience each time you make one plus you can use up an assortment of scraps, old clothes etc to create a crazy quilt. You don’t have to get concerned about pattern or style. Just have fun with it. It’ll help you learn. Then put a price on it & sell it for a small (but reasonable) chunk of change. That’ll change how you feel about making quilts. Yes they’re a lot of work. But it gives you pride in yourself and in your abilities. Don’t give up now, the fun has only just begun!!???

  2. Jane says:

    I love picking out material and sewing pieces together (I am a beginner!!) but once completed, I don’t have the skill to put together or to quilt the top. I have to send them out to a professional and it gets very expensive. How do others finish their quilts?

  3. Pamela says:

    I have just found you at So Sew Easy Deby and I love this quilt. I do hope you have made more. I will look.

  4. cdh1029 says:

    Recently had a similar experience
    with my first quilt. It was most definitely a labor of love!

  5. donna gamble says:

    You did a great job with this quilt, Deby. I recently took up quilting and those jelly rolls are fabulous. Don’t worry too much about the precision of the freehand quilting – when it’s in use nobody will even notice it. The colours in the fabric and the arrangement of the strips are what catch the eye in these photos.
    I haven’t been brave enough to attempt free motion quilting yet myself and have just stuck to stitch on the ditch so I am very impressed with your efforts.

  6. boscogregg says:

    Your first quilt is extremely nice – even though you had a few mishaps along the way. I’ve been quilting/sewing for over 50 years, and I can tell you that your quilt binding corners are perfect!! You have a natural talent for garment design, do you also design things for portly women? I’m a fatty, but I sure love your style!!

    • Deby Coles says:

      Thanks for the kind comments. Pattern making for larger sizes is a bit of an art because proportions are different. Someone with a bust twice the measurement of a very slim person for example, doesn’t mean they have arms twice as long, or shoulders twice as wide. So without having models to work on, it can be difficult. I’d rather not put out patterns that aren’t going to work out well, and fabric and time gets wasted. I suggest looking at The Curvy Sewing Collective where they specialise in larger sizes.

  7. Karen at A Glimpse Into My Reveries says:

    I, too, am self taught. Love those online lessons!

    Your quilts is absolutely darling! You did fine, quite fine!

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