Today is the kick off to the Fat Quarter Shop Ultimate Beginner Quilt Sew Along!!!
The Fat Quarter Shop, and Pat Sloan thought it would be fun for us bloggers to share the story of our first quilt. There are several AMAZING quilters sewing along for this one, so I encourage you to check out all the links below, I'm pretty sure there are going to be some epic stories!!
My name is Gina Tell, I am a long arm quilter for The Fat Quarter Shop, as well as a sample maker. That means I have been involved in piecing, and quilting many of the quilts you have seen on pattern covers and in books over the years. I have had the honor of sewing for Carrie Nelson's new Summer Moon book, and I have also recently quilted some of the quilts that will be featured in Lori Holts new Farm Girl Vintage 2 Book, and this is how it all started....
I got my first sewing machine from Walmart, it was a little Brother machine, that was under $100, and I had no idea how to use it. I had never even seen a sewing machine, and since nobody in my family ever quilted, I had no idea where to start.
Several months before that I had gone to a wedding shower for my BFF, Jody. As she began opening her gifts, one of them sitting on the gift table really caught my eye, it was a stack of square cloth wrapped in a bright bow. As I listened, I learned they were from her Great Aunt Franny, she explained that many years ago people used to transport grains, seeds, flour and animal feed in fabric sacks. It didn't take long for the thrifty farm wives to discover that those sacks could be used to make clothes, toys, diapers, dish rags, and...... yes, you guessed it QUILTS! Aunt Franny had saved them, and gifted them to Jody to be used again in a modern day journey. I loved this story!
I was jealous, I wanted my own pile of feed sack fabric and I wanted to learn so much more about how to make things with my own hands!!
However, quilting wasn't exactly a happenin' kind of hobby among 20 year old girls, and since nobody in my own family did anything like this, I decided I would have to teach myself!
I So, as the story of my first quilt continues, I find myself blushing. It was 2003 and I had this new sewing machine sitting on my kitchen table in a small apartment, and that was it. I didn't even own a pair of scissors. So I got my purse, found a local store that had fabric and walked around terrified! I ended up buying a couple patterns, some very ugly fabric, scissors and white thread. I rushed home filled with excitement for this new adventure. I read through the machine manual, and decided that I was ready. I have never been a fan of following the "rules" per say, so the patterns didn't interest me at first. I decided that I would get my scissors out and just cut some square like Aunt Franny had done. Looking back, these pieces were anything but square! I stitched a few squares together, then I tried sewing them into quadrants, and eventually I ended up with a big piece all stitched up on the floor of my living room. It didn't look good. I didn't even own an iron. Who knew I was going to need thatt!!?? At this point, I decided I would look at those patterns again, to see if they would help me with the next step... it said things like, "mark the quilt with a pencil, baste the three layers together, Bla, Bla, Bla, hand quilt with needles and tread, Bla Bla, Bla, then hand-baste a scant 1/4 from the edge... WHAT'S A SCANT, and WHAT DOES BASTING MEAN??
So I called Jody. When all else fails, I always call my BFF, Jody. In 2003 there were no YouTube tutorials, I don't even think we had a computer, just a phone. So I explained my dilemma, I read her a few lines from the patterns and then I said
"Does baste mean I have to get it wet to hold it all together, like when you baste a turkey?" Jody laughed out loud and explained what basting was, we both laughed until we started crying!! Then after a lot of laughing, and a little coaching by phone with my dear friend, I decided that I would jump right in, literally. haha
So I got a flat bed sheet from the closet, set it on top of the quilt front and I sewed three sides together, like a giant pillow case, and then I flipped it right side out.
Next, I actually got inside the giant pillow case on my hands and knees and shoved the batting stuff inside and tried my best to make the scissor cut edges reach the 4 corners. Then I flipped the fourth side in and stitched it closed. Jody explained that I would need to stitch around a few of the squares in the center of the quilt to keep it together, so I did that. I later added some bias tape that I had purchased around the edge of the quilt to make it look more like the quilts on the pattern cover. It was very ugly, and not square, but I made something.
I learned to do something with very little help, and from that day on I have never stopped calling poor Jody for advice.
As I sit here this evening in my sewing room, filled with every quilting tool there is on the market, surrounded by machines I never dreamed I would own, I am proud of myself. I started out not even knowing what a rotary cutter was, I used cardboard "rulers" because I was too broke to purchase them. I still have to pinch myself sometimes when I think about how far I've come. I love teaching people that it is okay to make mistakes, to do stupid things, to made due with what you have, and to laugh at yourself! Have some fun, and don't ever give up, and someday you will be making things you never dreamed too!!
I hope you will follow me on social media, I love to make new quilty friends!
Here are my links: Facebook Instagram
You can find all the Fabric Requirements and supply list on The Fat Quarter Shop blog, and don't forget to subscribe to their YouTube Channel so you don't miss all the FREE tutorials that will be released.
Video Tutorials Lineup:
Supplies and Sewing Machine: August 1, 2019
Sew Quilt Blocks 1-9: August 8-October 3, 2019
Sew the Quilt Top Together: October 10, 2019
Quilting the Quilt: October 17, 2019
Quilt Binding: October 24, 2019
We’ll show off our finished quilts on November 7!
You'll have to check out these links to all my friends sewing along, some of them are sharing the story of their first quilt too:
Pat Sloan https://blog.patsloan.com
Tracie at Ricefordstreams
Angie at a little patchwork
Mathew Mister Domestic
Karin at Blue Pip Designs
Carrie in Texas
Linden of VineLines
Priscilla The Real Housewives of Cross Stitch
Rebecca One Wee Bird
Fat Quarter shop
Thanks for visiting y'all. Please share a comment if you enjoyed my story. :)
Hey Y'all, I'm Gina Tell! I live on Lake Travis just North of Austin Texas. I'm a full time long arm quilter and lover of all this art and outdoors!!