How to Make a Patchwork Quilt by Hand

Written by anne baley
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How to Make a Patchwork Quilt by Hand
Make your next quilt by hand. (quilts image by Christopher Martin from

There is something soothing and relaxing about making a patchwork quilt by hand. It's more about the process and less about the results. In this quilting world of strip piecing, rotary cutting and machine quilting, hand quilters sometimes seem to be left out of the mainstream. There is room for both methods. Making a patchwork quilt by hand requires time and dedication, but the results are something you can view with pride for decades.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

Things you need

  • Cotton fabric
  • Fabric marking pens
  • Scissors
  • Cardboard or plastic
  • Pins
  • Needles
  • Thread
  • Batting
  • Quilt hoop

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  1. 1

    Create pattern pieces for your quilt top design by tracing the pattern onto stiff plastic or cardboard. Trace around the pattern pieces onto your quilt top fabric. Cut out the pieces, making your cut lines 1/4 inch away from the lines that you drew. The drawn lines are your seam lines.

  2. 2

    Pin your quilt patches together with the right sides joined. Sew your quilt blocks together, making sure to stitch only on the seam lines. After a seam is sewn, open up the two patches and finger press the seam toward the darker of the two fabrics.

  3. 3

    Sew all the patches into quilt blocks and then sew the blocks into a full quilt top. Some patterns call for setting strips in between the blocks to separate the individual patterns, and others have the blocks set against each other, making secondary designs where the pieces meet. Follow your pattern setting carefully to create the desired effect.

  4. 4

    Lay the quilt backing fabric on a flat surface with the wrong side up. Cover it with the batting, keeping the edges even. Add the finished quilt top on the batting, lining up all the edges. Use a large needle and heavy thread to baste the three layers together, using large stitches. Do not knot the ends of the basting threads; simply cut long tails so that the stitches will temporarily stay in place.

  5. 5

    Place the basted quilt into the quilt hoop. Use a small quilting needle, called a "between," and quilting thread to make a series of small running stitches through all three layers of the quilt. Sew this running stitch into a decorative pattern or simply make a series of parallel lines. The quilting lines should be no more than 6 inches apart with modern artificial fibre batting. If you are using a natural batting, check the label instruction for the recommended quilt line density.

  6. 6

    Sew a strip of bias tape onto the front of the quilt edge. Fold the bias tape around to the back of the quilt and stitch it down, encasing the entire edge of the quilt inside the bias binding.

Tips and warnings

  • Set aside a certain time each day, such as the first half hour after breakfast, to work on your quilt. Do this every day without fail but don't worry about it any other time. You will finish your project sooner than you might imagine.

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