Quilting can be as individual as you are.

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Making your own quilt.

It seems for some these days the magic of quilting no longer exists. I would love to bring it back. The good thing about quilting is that you can make it as individual as you like. If you have a child, using the clothes they got as gifts when they were babies and have now outgrown can make a very special quilt that means the world to all of you.
Besides the practical uses of a quilt, the actual making of them is relaxing, and it is a project the whole family can get involved with. Even a quilted cushion could make an amazing gift to someone this  Christmas.
So to start- I find buying pre-cut squares on here the cheapest way to go. You get a wide variety of fabrics at a very good price.
The first task is to put a small hem on all of the squares. I find doing it by hand easiest, but many prefer a sewing machine. The hem doesn't need to be huge, I would say about 1cm is plenty. We do this so the squares don't fray and fall apart as we make the quilt.
It is important to keep all the hems the same size. If not, you end up with uneven squares that wont align properly as you sew them on. Quilting is also great because you get to use those very pretty colours of thread that never get used in normal day to day sewing tasks.  If possible, chose a good quality cotton thread. It is less likely to break whilst sewing and should hold the quilt together better.
The next step is to choose your wadding. Again, this can be bought reasonably priced right here on eBay. It is important to choose the right thickness. The wadding goes between the squares and the backing material. Once you have chosen your wadding, you then have to choose  your backing material. I use old sheets for mine, but again these are available online.
You are now ready to get to the fun bit. Lay your backing on the floor. If you aren't happy with the size, use a rotary blade and a mat to cut it to size. You will want a large ruler to help you cut in a straight line. Take your time here, messing up the shape will mean you have to keep cutting it smaller and smaller. Remember you want the backing to be about 2 cm bigger than the front quilt to allow for the seam.
Now lay out your squares in the pattern you want. Take your time here. You may want to move things around a bit before you are completely happy with the design. Then carefully stack them so that you have each horizontal line of  squares in a stack. This saves space and helps prevent confusion.
Hold the first two squares with the top patterns facing each other inwards, and sew them together. Make sure you check the patterns will be the right way up once the sewing is done. Just pinching the sides you will be sewing together then turning it over and opening up the two squares like a butterfly should show you if you have them the correct way or not.
Once you are satisfied you have them correctly positioned, sew across the top. A sewing machine is fine for this, but I prefer to hand stitch. Congratulations! You have started the pattern. Continue placing each square adjacent to the one you just sewed and repeat the process, being sure to check the pattern is the right way round.
Continue doing this until you have finished your first stack (or horizontal row). Repeat the process with each stack. You will end up with a number of horizontal rows completed.
Now it is time to start sewing the entire rows together. Again ensure the patterns will be the right way round. Using pins will help keep everything in place while you sew.
Repeat the process for each row until you have completed the front of your quilt. Smile at yourself. It looks great, doesn't it?
Now- putting it all together. In this process, pins are your friend. You will need them everywhere to prevent the fabric from moving. Ensure the backing is slightly bigger than the front quilt pattern to allow for the hem. Lay the backing material down, place  the wadding on top, and the front of your quilt on top of that. It is really important at this point to smooth out the entire quilt. The last thing you need is wrinkles. Using an iron can help with this.
Then, carefully, you pin everything together, being sure to get through all 3 layers. Start in the middle and work your way out to help prevent creases. How you sew it all together is up to you. Some people stick to sewing along the seams already created by sewing the squares together. Some prefer to sew in a diagonal pattern across the square to create triangles. How you do it is up to you. But again, start in the middle to avoid creases and bunching.
The more seams you have, the better. Each seam is holding the wadding in place, we don't want it moving around in there. Once you have sewn it all up, it is time for the edges. Getting a special fabric border (or binding) is the easiest way to do it, and it looks amazing. Simply fold the binding in half round the seams (so half is on top and the other half is underneath) then pin in place and start sewing, being sure to get through all the layers.
Congratulations! You did it. The more confident you get the wilder you can be. There are some great free patterns available on the web.
I hope you enjoy the finished product.

P.S. I wrote this guide as part of a promotion run by eBay. I am a very happy BzzAgent!
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