Simple Quilt Ideas

Don't be intimidated by quilting! This article contains directions for three easy to sew quilts that will look beautiful!

If you've always admired quilts but felt that you could never sew one, this article will try to prove you wrong! There are many simple to sew quilts that look beautiful when completed.

One of the most important aspects of quilting is fabric selection. Great fabric can turn into a masterpiece even with very simple quilting techniques. Look for patterns, colors and textures that appeal to you. Keep in mind the size of the blocks and the shape of the quilt when selecting fabrics. For example, if you plan to make a quilt with 4 inch square blocks don't choose a fabric that has a motif that is either too large, or too small for your block size. Combining prints can have a great visual impact, but there are a few rules to follow to keep things from looking too busy. First, stick with a common background color. Second, keep scale in mind. A lot of small scale floral prints will look pretty grouped together. But a smattering of small, medium and large will just end up looking disorganized! Third, stick to a basic color pallet. The use of color is great, but if you limit yourself to 3-4 colors in the beginning you'll probably be happier with your end result! If you have a hard time deciding what colors complement each other, and which don't, visit a home improvement or decorating store and pick up a color wheel! This tool is used by decorators to aid in color selection and is fun to play with!

Another important aspect of fabric selection is picking the best fabric for the job at hand. If you want to make a quilt for a baby, child, or for the family to snuggle up with in front of the TV you will need to use fabrics that can withstand plenty of washing. Sturdy cottons, and cotton blends are the best bet! For a light duty, or decorative quilt you have much greater liberty in fabric selection. Remember to always prewash all your fabrics before cutting and sewing with them so they are thoroughly preshrunk!

In addition to fabric, you will need high quality thread. You can make a quilt with or without batting. Batting its self comes in a variety of lofts, or thicknesses. You can also get natural fiber batting (cotton or wool) or synthetic (usually polyester). Which, if any, to use is just personal preference!

Now we're going to discuss three very simple to make quilting methods: block quilts, appliqué block quilts, and crazy quilts!

Block quilts are fun and easy and have so much potential! A basic block quilt consists of same size blocks of fabric arranged in a pattern. You can make a very traditional 9-patch block quilt by combining 9 same size squares of fabric to create a larger block, and then repeating until you have enough blocks to make a whole quilt. To do this, cut enough squares to create the size quilt you wish to have, remembered to include seam allowances! So, for example if you want a 45x45 inch quilt using 5 inch blocks you will have 9 blocks across the top, and 9 blocks across the side. Multiply length x width to get the total area which is 81. You will need 81 5 inch blocks to make a 45x45 inch quilt. Now, to make the quilt true to size you will need to add a seam allowance of ¼ to ½ an inch so the block size to cut out will actually be 5 1/2x51/2! You can also alternate the blocks to create a pattern around your quilt. For instance, using 3 colors start with a center block of color A, add a block of color B at each corner and a block of color C as the centers of each of the next rows. Then alternate colors and continue building in a pattern around the center blocks. Building a block quilt is a bit like building a puzzle with no edges! All the pieces fit together, but it's up to you to make sure the end result is pleasing to the eye. Lay your quilt out on the floor and just play with your blocks until you get them the way you like. Stack the blocks up in order and sew them together in long strips, then sew each of those strips together! Before long you'll have a gorgeous quilt top!

Appliqué quilts can be a lot of fun, and are a great way to use of scrap fabric. Appliqué is the process of sewing a piece of fabric onto another piece of fabric. You can use random geometric shapes, or pictures. Large, clear simple pictures (like a flower or butterfly) are the easiest to use. You can however use a lot of small pieces to create a larger picture (like whole pot of flowers, or a dolls face). The edges of appliqué pieces are sewn on with what is called a satin stitch. This is a wide but very short zigzag stitch that is very smooth and continuous and completely covers up the unfinished edge of the appliquéd piece. To create an appliqué quilt you will need to decide on the patterns you wish to appliqué, and then trace them onto your fabric. Apply a light fusible interfacing to your fabric and then cut out your shapes. Place the shapes right sides up onto the backing you have selected and fuse together with a hot iron. You can use a large piece of fabric for a backing, or you can appliqué patterns onto blocks of various sizes and sew them together to create a quilt. Be creative! After your appliqué piece is fused to your background fabric, satin stitch around all the edges to finish it. Appliqué can be used alone, or in combination with other quilting techniques like the block quilt described earlier. It's a fun method of quilting that can be used to create a picture and tell a story! There are many ready made appliqué patterns if you don't feel up to drawing your own. Large, simple children's coloring pages also make great appliqué patterns!

Last but not least, creating a crazy quilt is perhaps one of the easiest and most fun methods of quilting. It is also a very old method of quilting dating back to Victorian times when it reached its peak of popularity. The Victorians, being thrifty at heart, used to use all their scraps of fine fabric sewn together along with left over bits of lace, trim buttons, etc. to create wild and wonderful pieces of fabric art. We still see this method of quilting today, but it's often not so elaborate. Crazy quilting is still a great way to use up scraps, or to express your self without the straight lines and perfect measurements so often necessary to other methods of quilting. To create a crazy quilt, simply sew your pieces of fabric together any way they'll go! The more prints, patterns and piece sized you throw together the better the quilt will look. This is defiantly one case were normal rules don't apply! If the idea of fitting together an entire quilt from your pile of odds and ends intimidates you there is an easier method. Cut 12x12 pieces of backing fabric, and sew your irregular sized scraps to the backing fabric one at a time making sure each piece overlaps and no raw edges are exposed. Then sew each of the 12x12 squares together to make your quilt!

When your quilt top is done, add batting if you choose and back with a coordinating piece of fabric. Pin through all layers and trim edges even. You can quilt your project by sewing next to or in seams, or tracing around appliqué patterns or you can just leave it unquilted! Bind with pre-made blanket binding and step back and admire your creation!

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