Learn to Quilt from A to Z© | Meg Jensen | Skillshare

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Learn to Quilt from A to Z©

teacher avatar Meg Jensen, Professional Longarm Quilter

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.



    • 3.



    • 4.

      Work Triangle


    • 5.

      Fabric Quality


    • 6.

      Fabric: How It's Made


    • 7.

      Fabric Types


    • 8.

      Precuts and Yardage


    • 9.

      Organizing Course Quilt Fabric


    • 10.

      Cutting Tools of the Trade


    • 11.

      Before Cutting


    • 12.

      During Cutting


    • 13.

      Course Quilt Cutting


    • 14.



    • 15.

      Needle Anatomy


    • 16.

      Needle Guide


    • 17.

      Machine Features


    • 18.

      Winding a Bobbin


    • 19.

      Top Loading Bobbin


    • 20.

      Front Loading Bobbin


    • 21.

      Top Threading


    • 22.

      Stitch Settings


    • 23.

      What is Tension


    • 24.

      Setting Seams


    • 25.

      Course Quilt Piecing


    • 26.

      Sashing and Gemstones


    • 27.



    • 28.



    • 29.

      Course Quilt Backing


    • 30.

      Backing Prep for Longarm


    • 31.



    • 32.

      Free motion quilting


    • 33.

      Straight line quilting


    • 34.

      Longarm Quilting


    • 35.

      Trimming After Quilting


    • 36.

      Yardage to Strips


    • 37.

      Attaching the Binding


    • 38.

      Threading and Tying Your Needle


    • 39.

      Hand Sewing the Back


    • 40.

      Quilt Care


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About This Class

Some of the things you can expect to learn about in this course...

  • Education on how to make quick and easy work of calculations in quilting
  • Setting up an effective sewing space
  • Knowledge of fabric anatomy, industry quality, and fabric related jargon
  • Skills to improve cutting results for both left and right hand dominant people
  • Needle education for choosing the right needle for your project
  • An extensive look at sewing machine skills including threading, bobbins, tension, and maintenance
  • Piecing skills including setting and nesting seams for smooth piecing, adding sashing, gemstones, and borders
  • How to calculate, piece, and prepare your backing fabric
  • Explanation and demonstration of straight-line, free motion, and longarm quilting
  • An up close and step-by-step demonstration of binding from yardage to completed

What you cannot expect...

  • one-on-one learning. This is a Self-paced video course with supplemental items you can print. There is, however, a student group and discussion boards within the platform.

  • in-depth learning on free motion and straight line quilting. Demonstrations and explanations are provided. However, the focus is improving cutting, piecing, and finishing quilt tops.

Meet Your Teacher

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Meg Jensen

Professional Longarm Quilter

Level: Beginner

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1. Welcome: Hello. My name is Mike Jensen and I want to welcome you to quilting from A to Z. This course is a course that I have spent the last four months putting together all of the knowledge that I have gained from sewing and quilting in the last 11 years. I'm a former kindergarten teacher and I now home-school my kids and I also own a quilting studio in the Green Bay, Wisconsin area where I'd offer long arm quilting services. I'm really excited because we're going to take the time to learn about the anatomy of fabric, needles, all about machines, what features you should look for if you're a new sewer or if you're looking to upgrade your machine, how to thread your machine, how to take care of your machine, understanding tension bobbins and then after we do that, we're going to actually make a cloth together. We're going to put together a 71 inch by 71 inch quilt that I have personally designed the pattern for. I designed it so that I can teach you several of the most difficult techniques in sewing for beginner sewers. Things like nesting your seams, so where all of your points meet perfectly on a quilt. Also understanding how important it is to get cutting right. I'm going to show you both left-handed and right-handed cutting techniques that are going to improve your results at the end of quilt making. We're also going to look at straight-line quilting and free motion quilting. Well, we won't go super in-depth with this, I will teach you the basics of it and then I'll also offer you an awesome discount if you're interested in having your quilt long arm quilted here in my studio. Without delay, let's get started. Go ahead and enroll. You'll be able to join in the discussion group right in the classroom that's built into the platform and I also have a Facebook group dedicated just to students who've been through the course. I hope you'll join us and if you have any questions, feel free to reach out and I look forward to teaching you soon. Happy quilting. 2. Calculations : This calculator is a really great app that I started using back in 2009 and 2008 when I started quilting, and it's been really helpful. I wanted to show you this, I believe there's also an Android version. When I open it up, you can do all of these different calculations and I'm going to show you how to use some of these in the course. This one's really great too for quilt sizes and it gives you in inches and then also metric and centimeters, if you need a quick reference for sizes. Then the main ones that I use are backing and batting and binding and also pieces to yardage, and borders too. We will be talking more about these throughout the course, but I would strongly recommend getting this app and it's free, that's always great. 3. Zones: When we're learning new things or developing a habit, oftentimes I like to use acronyms to help my students. For the zones part of this lesson, this is going to be the acronym ICSO, I-C-S-O. I, stands for immediate. These are the things that you're using when you're sewing. Let me show you some of my immediate notions. This is my sewing machine space right now, and I always have this little basket. It was actually a basket for coasters. I took the coasters out and it's just perfect for holding the things that I need. Sometimes things get put in there that don't really belong, but that's okay. It's got most of what I need right where I need it. Let's take a look at some of my items. I always have a good pair of fabric scissors. I always have my pens. I have hand needles here as well. I have my oils, because I like those running. I have a fan right here. I have my irons. Then in my little notion basket I have my seam guide tape, a mini ruler, a mini rotary cutter for when I need to use my cutting mat over here to the left to trim anything. I have my seam ripper. I highly recommend this seam fixed one, it's awesome. It's got a rubber tip that grabs any loose threads. I've got extra thread holders for my different machines. This one goes to a different one. I have a tension guide for my top loading bobbins, which we'll be talking more about this when we get to the bobbin section. This is a tool that I use to separate seams when I'm pressing seams open. Another seam ripper. A needle threader if I ever need assistance. I have my screwdriver for my machine. I have a highlighter for some reason. [LAUGHTER] I have a walking foot for my machine, a whole bunch of pens and my extra feet, as well as my USB stick for my machine. Those are the things that I have in my immediate zone. These are things that I can touch without moving my body away from my sewing machine. The next zone is the C in our acronym ICSO, and that is for close. Things in the close zone are going to be things like thread. I have a cabinet with my maintenance stuff that I use regularly. This is going to be in your close. It does not need to be in your immediate, and we'll be talking more about what you should have for maintenance when we get to that section of the course. The third section in our acronym of zones in ICSO is the S. This is the acronym letter that I refer to as seasonal. Now, immediately when I think of that, I think of decorations and things like that. But really it's in thinking of it in terms of I only use this once every 3-4 months. Things in this area are going to be extra fabric. Things like patterns that I don't use all of the time, books, any tools or rulers that I don't use all of the time. These are going to be in the seasonal area. You can see behind me here all of my rulers. Those are in my S area, because I have to get up and walk over there to use those when I am in my sewing station. Everything refers to the center of your zone, which is your work triangle. The Zone 1 is immediate, Zone 2 is close. I could slide a little in my chair and reach what I need. Zone 3 is seasonal. I need to get up. I don't use these things very often. Then the last zone is going to be Zone O in ICSO. That is your occasional zone. Very occasional. Maybe you have multiple machines you use. Your other machines would be in your O station. Maybe you have scrap fabric that you don't use very often, or maybe you have pattern books. The things that you don't use very often at all are going to go in these areas. I often recommend students to put their pattern books and fabric that they're not using in their current project in their S or their O zone, because that's going to help remove distraction. For me personally, I can't have a bunch of fabric sitting out. It's beautiful. I've seen so many beautiful rooms where they display their fabric. I personally cannot do that because it makes me feel pressured to do more sewing. More of my fabric is tucked away, and organized in a drawer. Then when I'm ready to do a project, I can go and find what I need based on the color that it is. 4. Work Triangle: Let's talk about sewing space. The space where we're going to be sewing can be set up whether you have tons of space or if you are very limited to even just a corner or even just re-purposing a table in your space. You can still set this up to be the most effective and create the least amount of frustration during the sewing process. The goal that you really want to do is create a triangle. If you think of kitchens and you think of how your stove and your refrigerator and your sink are set up, they're often set up in a triangle. This makes working in that space flow as you go to the different stations in that triangle, based on what you do during cooking. The same concept applies to sewing. There's three main components that we have when we quilt or when we sew, that is your sewing machine, your ironing station, and your cutting station. Those are the three things that you're going to be doing when you're quilting. Let's take a look at some pictures I took of my sewing space. In my studio, I personally don't have a lot of space for my sewing machine for when I'm actually sewing. But I've created a layout that works really well. I am in a space that's only about six feet wide for my sewing area and it's about 10 feet deep. I'm very much on a long and narrow. What I did was I got a six-foot counter and a four-foot counter, and my six-foot counter is my main sewing space. I have my machine in the middle, then I have my ironing station to the right, and then I have my little miniature cutting station to my left. Now if you notice in the pictures, I also have a larger cutting space as well as a larger ironing space. Then you'll notice this. That is an ironing board that I made with some wood, batting, and ironing board cover, which I'm going to show you how to make one of those. But before we do that, I want you to think about your space. If you are in a situation where you're using, say, your dining room table or something of that nature where you're taking your stuff and you're putting it away each time you're done, I've been there. You can use two things that are really going to help you. One is a rolling cart. This is going to be really helpful for you to be able to take your stuff and roll it where you need it to be. Then the second thing is the TV dinner trays. I found just a used set of TV dinner trays and I turned them into ironing stations and cutting stations. I took batting and that ironing board protective fabric, which I'll show you here in a minute, and then I covered it in just a pretty fabric. Those have been so awesome in helping to create the sewing triangle. Right here you can see that I have a cutting mat, and this is on a TV tray table that I made with the cover, and then I just use a cutting mat here, [NOISE] and I use this station for when I need to trim seam allowances. If I am piecing or if I'm foundation paper piecing or something of that nature, then I'm going to be using this to trim after I cut if I'm not using scissors or if I need a rotary. Then I'll keep a ruler handy, rotary cutter, and then a pair of scissors as well as thread scissors for trimming thread. Here I have a woolly mat to the right of my sewing machine. I am right-handed, so I keep my ironing station to my right because I use that more than my cutting station, which is over here to the left. I also have two different size irons because if I need to iron a full block, when I'm done with the block I use the big one. If I'm ironing my seams, I use my small one. The other thing that I keep in my sewing station is my quilting starch, and the reason I have this in a separate spray bottle is because I use Mary Ellen's Best Press, but I water it down. I fill up half of this bottle with water and the other half with the unscented Mary Ellen's Best Press. This has given the best results for me. You can try it without watering it down, but I just find that it's not as crunchy, but still has the crispness with it halfway watered down. That's the work triangle, having your sewing machine, you're cutting space, and you're ironing space within your immediate reach of using your machine. Now, the other thing I want to mention is my chair. My chair is a rolling rotating chair, and this is very helpful for when you have to go maybe six inches to get to your ironing station or turn and get to your cutting station. It just makes movement a lot easier. The one thing I will suggest is if you're going to do a rolling chair, this is somewhere where you want to make sure that you put some time into researching and try the chair out before you buy it. A lot of times when we quilt, we're sitting for extended periods of time and so making sure that it's something that's going to have the right lumbar support for your back, and is going to have good cushioning and fits your hips is going to be really important. One of the other features that I really like about this chair in particular is my arms [NOISE] go up and down so I can push this chair underneath my desk where my machine is when I'm done. Because remember I said I'm in a six foot space, so I don't have a lot of space to have my chair poking out. It's really important just to think about your space and how you can maximize your space for the most effective time in your sewing. If you have pictures of your space or you feel like describing it to get some feedback, I encourage you to share those pictures or those descriptions in the discussions here on our group. Or if you're on Facebook, you can do it in our Facebook group and let other people share their experiences and maybe you'll learn something new or maybe you'll teach someone something. 5. Fabric Quality: In this lesson, we're going to be talking about fabric. The first thing I want to tackle is quality. We are going to be taking a look at how fabric is actually made, but some quick checks that you can do to see if fabric is high-quality is by looking at the feel, the look, and the sound of the fabric. For this example, we're looking at a design from Lori Holt's line called Stitch. Let's do the feel. You can't really feel this, but you can see when I hold it with just one finger. Underneath here I have one finger and I'm holding it underneath this. Look at that nice drape that the fabric has. It's draping down and it's making a nice cone. Fabric that is not as good of quality is not going to do that draping on the sides. It's going to be more stiff and maybe more like this. You're also going to notice how thin it is. If you have a fabric that is super thin, it's not going to hold up over a long period of time in a quilt. Or if you have fabric that's super thick, it's going to be hard to assemble that in a quilt. There are different kinds of fabrics and we're going to be talking more about that in a minute. Let's talk about how looking at this, what you can do to see if it's a good quality. When you take this piece of fabric and you hold it up to a light source, you should be able to see through the weaving. You can see the weaving, but you should not be able to make out the item that's behind your fabric. If you have a piece of fabric that you can see completely through, then that's a problem. That's not the weaving density that you want. The last component that we want when we're looking at high-quality fabric is the snap. Do you hear that? When I do that, that I'm snapping the fabric. Now, I don't ever want to snap this on the bias because that's going to change the shape. You want to do it either horizontally or vertically. Nice snap. You can hear it. One way is going to snap better than the other because of the weft and the weight which I'm going to explain here in just a minute. A note about big box fabric stores like Joann's or Hancock's, I don't even know if Hancocks still exist, but these big box stores, they manufacture their own fabric. They have designers that design for them. Typically, you won't see designer fabrics in these stores. They are not the same quality that you get when you order from quilt shops. Some of my favorite manufacturing brands, so this is not the designer, this is not the person that designed the fabric, it's the company that makes the fabric of the designs, is Riley Blake Designs and Moda Fabrics. There are other great ones. Those are just my two favorites. They have a huge variety and they have a lot of designers that have their own small business. You can find a lot of them on Etsy. They design patterns and things like that. I encourage you to check out their websites, Riley Blake Designs and Moda Fabrics. Go to the page where they have their designers. You'll really enjoy the fabric lines that you see there. 6. Fabric: How It's Made: When it comes to fabric for cotton, there is a kind of cotton that you want to use. There are many options within the cotton realm but when it comes to cotton, you want to use something called quilters cotton. Let me explain to you a little bit more about why quilters cotton is different than other cottons. Remember earlier when I showed you that example, I told you how there were 30 strands of thread going horizontally and there's 30 strands going vertically. This is called 60 square and in that one square inch, you have those threads. Those are also called the weft and the warp. The weft is the horizontal. I remember that by thinking left to right, weft, left. When you're holding yardage off of a bolt, salvage edge to salvage edge is your weft. Then the warp is the length of the fabric that you cut or unless you do the whole bolt, that would be the warp. These fabrics are weaved, just like remember in kindergarten when you made your weaving construction paper, pie or whatever you did in art class? I remember that. It's just like that. Remember when you would shift up, your pieces would get all out of whack and it would start twisting. That's what happens when you do things like tearing your fabric or pulling on the bias, which we're going to talk more about the anatomy of the actual fabric here in just a minute. Why is 60 square important? Well, manufacturers have found over time, they've done a lot of research and trial and error throughout the decades and they have found that the 30x30 weft and warp is the perfect ratio to resist shrinkage and discoloration. Let's talk about how fabric is made today. Fabric is either made in one of two ways. One is screen printing. They literally take what's called gray good. [MUSIC] The other way is digital printing and it's exactly what it sounds like. It is digitally printed onto the fabric using what looks like an oversized inkjet printer. [MUSIC] Now, you may be wondering what's better for quilting today, digital or screen? Honestly, that really doesn't make the deciding factor. It's not how it's printed. What matters is how it's finished. Every manufacturer has their own special finishing process. It's really interesting because if you have used any of the high-quality Moda, Riley Blake, Robert Kaufman, any of these name designer brands that are manufactured through these big manufacturing plants, you can actually feel the difference in those fabrics. They each have their own finishing technique. If you've ever felt Moda fabrics, they are like butter, super soft, and silky, really hard to go back to any other brand of fabric once you've used Modas. Riley Blake is the same, they have their own texture and feel, and each one has their finishing process that's different. Why do they have their own finishing process? Well, it's just like a chef. When they have their secret ingredients in their food that you just can't explain, it's the same thing with fabric. You just want to find what you like and what works best for how you quilt. However, things that are added to all of them in the finishing process typically are: softeners, color retainers, as well as a UV protector, which is going to protect the color from fading in the sunlight. The last topic I want to talk about is washing your fabric. You will get a 100 different answers if you ask a 100 different people this question. Here is my opinion and I'm going to give you the reasons I have this opinion and then you can make your decision based on what you hear. There's no right or wrong way, just know that. If you decide to pre-wash all of your fabric, that's okay. There's not any penalty or any damage that it's going to do to your fabric. Here are my reasons why I am a proponent of not pre-washing your fabric. In years past when fabric was made, they didn't have products like retain. Retain is an additive that is added to the fabric and the dye to keep it from washing out and bleeding. A lot of people worry about this because there was no retain in years past. If you had reds, and whites, and blues, and things of dense die, then you were going to have bleeding. But today, the fabrics are made much better and there's products out there that we can use, which I'll talk more about in the quilt care section of this course that are going to explain more. But here's a brief overview. I do not pre-wash my fabric because it is all ready, the weft and the warp are set and I don't have to trim off of the edges once it's done and you're never going to get that same crisp feeling that's on there straight off of the bolt. 7. Fabric Types: Let's talk about the different kinds of cotton that are out there and the different fabrics I recommend for quilting. The first is obviously the screen and digitally printed ones. But there are some other options like woven fabrics. These are fabrics that instead of printing the fabric print onto it, they're actually made with threads that are the color of the pattern. Instead of taking a gray good, which is that huge piece of processed cotton ready for screen printing or digital printing, they take the threads and they're weaved into the pattern. You'll often see these with plads or directional and geometrical shapes because they have to be able to go with the weft and the weight of the fabric. The next one I wanted to talk about are batiks. Batiks are super popular and here's why; there is no wrong side to a batik. Now, that is super exciting especially when you are cutting up a whole bunch of pieces of fabric for your project, and you put them all into a baggie and then you pull them out and you accidentally sow something on backwards because you weren't really paying attention or you got distracted. Well with batik fabrics, you never have that problem. Let me explain the process of how these are made. Before I explain this to you, I have a little funny story. I used to think that batik, people were actually saying boutique, like a special high-end fabric. It's actually B-A-T-I-K-S, not B-O-U-T-I-Q-U-E-S. That was a funny little story for years and years. I thought that's what they were saying. I just thought that was so funny when I finally figured out what it was. The process of how batiks are made, you'll notice when you see batik fabric, that they're very whimsical, very watercolor looking and that's because of the process of how they're made. Remember screen printing and digital printing, they squeegee the color over or they use a printer. Batiks, they are actually using wax to make the design. [MUSIC] The next fabric I want to talk about is quilters flannel. Flannel is just like the digital or screen printed or even the woven fabrics except at the end they go through an additional process of cop brushing. [MUSIC] That brushing of the fabric makes it really, really soft. It's not something that can be reversed once it's done so when you wash flannel, it keeps that softness and in fact gets even softer over time. Flannel backing is my absolute favorite and go to for backings on quilts. I won't use cotton if I can avoid it because I like my quilts to be super snugly and soft. Flannel gives me that best result while also still being a good quality quilter's cotton. 8. Precuts and Yardage: The last thing I want to talk about in fabric is different precuts and sizes of fabric and how you can get them. I didn't get introduced to precuts until I was a couple of years into my sawing journey. Once I found them, I was hooked. Being able to get an entire line of fabric in one perfectly packaged set of already cut squares or rectangles or strips, is so awesome to me, instead of trying to coordinate the fabrics. Let's talk about some of the different kinds of precuts. There are jelly rolls, which are two and a half inch strips precut from an entire line of a designer's patterns. These precuts, I've actually mixed two different ones because I really like them. I have some Kona fabric here, which is your basic cotton. It's a very high-quality cotton. Then I have Lori Holtz cross stitch set here. They're all coordinating, already cut into two and a half inch squares. These are called layer cakes. These are ten inch squares. They come, again, in your coordinating fabrics from the designer. You get 1-2 of each fabric in the line right into a stack that's already been precut. Some of the other precut sizes that you can find are honey barns, which are one and a half inch strips. They're great for stashing. If you want to have stashing already precut. You can also find charm packs. These are five inch squares. Sometimes you'll find some other names for them as well. Another one is the mini terms, which are the two and a half inch squares. You get 2.5 inch squares, which are great for gemstones, or half square triangles if you're making those for a certain project. Then the last one are panels. Panels are what you see where typically an image or a saying is printed right onto it, and then within that line of fabric, the designer has designed their coordinating fabrics to go along with the panel. You will usually see panels made at 24 inches wide. Sometimes you can find them at 36, but that reason is because the screen printing is 24 inches wide, typically. Regardless of which precut you get, you want to make sure that when you're ordering or purchasing precut fabric, that it is pinked along the edges. If you look here, you can see that this has a jagged edge. All of these have jagged edges. That's because they were cut using pinking shears or a pinking rotary cutter. This prevents fraying and misshapening of the fabric. It's very important to do that. The last way you can get fabric is by the yard. This is the most common way that you're going to see it. Typically bolts of fabric will come folded in half. You'll be able to get between 42 and 43 inches. It's folded in half and then you have your salvages, but when you open it up, it's either 42 or 43, sometimes you can find 54. Then there's one called wide back, which is a 108 inches wide. This is typically what you see people using for their backing fabrics, especially if they don't want to have a seam on their back. I love wide backs, but sometimes you can't find it, so you can piece together non-wide backs. We will talk more about how to do that in our backing videos. 9. Organizing Course Quilt Fabric: Now, it's time to take your jelly roll and we need to put together your jelly roll into three sets. Sets of three for all of your different colors that you have. Let's do that now. What I'm doing is I'm just taking all of my jelly roll pieces. I turn it with the fold up and then I just start putting colors together that I like. That seemed to work well together. I'll do this in threes, for all of my colors. There's no right or wrong here. You can just do whatever makes you feel happy putting them into three. I like to do this first because I can make sure I'm not matching the same sets over and over. I can lay it all out and see what I have four sets. If you just take one at a time as you go, then you run the risk of getting to the point where you have a lot of multiples because you didn't leave them out and you've ran out to be able to mix it up. Now, that I have my pieces all laid out and I've just eyeball that I don't have too many of the same things, then I'm going to take them and place them in half and stack them in the threes. I have three this way and then three this way. I'll just continue those stacks, so that I don't mix them up. There, we have it, that is our quotes in a nutshell here. 10. Cutting Tools of the Trade: One of the most important parts of coating is actually cutting, and a lot of people don't realize that when they have blocks that don't line up or their scenes aren't setting the way that they want, a lot of times this begins with the cutting not being accurate. We're going to take a look at several different areas and tools that you can use to cut. I'm also going to show you best practices for left-handed and for right-handed cutting. There's a few tools that you want to have and you don't want to go cheap on these because quality matters. The first thing you're going to need is a cutting mat. I recommend for starting always getting the 36 wide by the 24 inch tall, and this is because when you buy fabric off of the bolt, it is folded in half and it's typically somewhere between 22 and 24 inches when you lay it out on the fold. Having the 24 inch tall by 36 inch wide, which is one yard, you have plenty of space to work with yardage. Now as far as brand, I use an olfa O-L-F-A and I've had a green one before this, and I recently just got this blue one. Within the last six months. Prior to this, my green one I had for 10 years. Almost 11 years. It was the original mat that I purchased and it lasted that long. Now this mat is special because it's called a self-healing mat. What happens is when I take my blade and I rub it on there, then it's going to make that indention, but it doesn't actually severe the fibers in the mat. It just makes it indent, and then overtime they raise back up. It's really good to have a self-healing mat. There are other mats out there that are not self healing, and you'll often see that they come with a scraper. You don't want to use those for regular often cutting in my personal opinion because they actually do cut the fibers in it. The rotary does, and then you have to use the scraper to get all of the jagged edges off, and if you miss some of those jagged edges, then you could easily snag your fabric. You could mess up your blade, and it's just always better if you can to get a self-healing mat. Here's a few different options. These are going from cheapest to most expensive that I have, and there's a reason why this one is the cheapest, and it's hollow plastic. If it's what you need to start with, that's fine. It'll work. I use these when I teach, there's nothing wrong with them. Just as you begin to use rotary cutters more and as you try some of the more expensive ones, you're going to notice the difference in the engineering thought that goes into it really makes a difference. This is hollow. It's nice if you have large hands. I have large hands. It's got a nice big grip Their. This whisker is good about that. But one of the things is you push down to open the blade and you push that to close it. If you're running this along by your ruler and you accidentally hit that button, it's going to go down and you're going to mess up right in the middle of your cutting, and most likely your ruler is going to shift from the casing hitting the ruler. That's that one. This one is the titanium. Now this one is also Fisker and it's also got a nice big grip here because I like the handle grips. But if you notice here, look at the difference of how much of the blade is actually showing. This one has a problem going through rulers that have cuts in them. For example, this is a strip savvy ruler, and if you can see here, there are a bunch of slits in this ruler. This helps you cut straight lines when you're cutting yardage into strips. Well, this ruler is not deep enough to work on this. It'll cut through maybe the top fabric, but it won't go all the way through to my self-healing mat. It's important that you pay attention to what you're purchasing. My favorite ruler is the olfa O-L-F-A, same brand as the mat that I use, and you can see here it is a 45 millimeter rotary cutter. They have a 60 millimeter as well. But I find that the 45 millimeter is pretty good. The only difference is that you also want to be careful when you're using one of these. You'll want to probably get the 60 millimeter or check it with your ruler. This one is very ergonomic. There's no button to push. This is locking button right here. When you push this, it's like a safety trigger on a gun. When you go to cut, you naturally squeeze it and you get your finger here. Then when you let go, it automatically closes. One of the biggest mistakes that newbies make is they will go to cut and then they put their rotary cutter down. If I have this one and then I put it down and I drag my fabric and it hits it. These are very sharp blades. It's going to cut it. You have to remember to close this every time. With the olfa, you squeeze it when you're using it. As soon as you let it go, it goes into safety mode. Now not locked safety, so you can pick it up and easily continue on. You'll click that little button when you're done using it. One other thing I want to talk about in regards to rotary cutters is you need to change your blade often. This is very important because if accidentally, if I'm cutting and I go off onto my wooden table underneath this and I cut that. That's going to dull my blade. It's going to give me like a nick spot in my blade. You want to make sure you change your blade often. I change my blade after every cutting project. I buy them in bulk. I get a big thing like this. It's a little case that snaps open and there's a whole bunch of blades in it. You do have to make sure that you get one that will fit your cutter. Because on the inside here, when I take this off, I put my finger on here and when I unscrew this, then I can take this off, and there's a washer that you don't want to lose. But what you need to notice is this olfa cutter has just a circle here, there's no notches. You have to make sure that you get blades that will fit your cutter. If you notice these, there's a lot of oil on there and some fibers from being in a culting Studio. But you can notice these have notches in them and that's made for some Fisker rotary cutters. Just make sure whichever one you get that you check for what cutter it will fit. The next thing we need to talk about is rulers. A lot of times people will go with the cheapest ruler that they can find and think it's just a ruler. I just need a straight edge and it's fine. In the beginning, that's totally fine. But if you want to get more accurate cutting so that you can in turn get more accurate coating, then you're going to want to do some research and find the best ruler for you. Now I want to show you, I have used, this is my original ruler from when I first started quilting. It is a Fisker. It actually broke, but I don't want to get rid of it because it's still a good ruler. I use this side. But I want you to notice something. These lines are very, very thin. This is the updated version of this ruler. What they have done is they've made the lines bolder and thicker. But here's the problem with this. These measurements, if you were to technically measure one inch to one inch, or one inch side to the other for a one-inch square, the center of the line is where it's exact. Although they've haven't drawn on here with a darker pink inside of the white so that you can see it. When you have this on top of your fabric that can create problems and give you inaccurate cutting. I don't recommend using one like this in the beginning. You want to find one that has thin lines. Now here's another example. This is an omni grip. This is nice because it has a little bit of grip on the back. But again, you have, and this one's a little better because it's transparent, and then you have your thin lines. But again, it can play tricks on you and you can struggle with that if you don't get it perfectly lined up. My favorite ruler to use, and the one that I bought that I use pretty much for everything is this 12.5 by 24.5 inch ruler. I use this thing for everything. Now I want you to notice a couple of things. You'll see all these little dots on the back. These are grip. It's like frosted textured stickers that they've put on. Only it's not a sticker, It's actually like a glue that they put on. You'll notice here that they put it on a half inch seam on this side, then they put it on a quarter inch seam on this side. Then when you look at the front of it, there are numbers going in every which direction and creative grids, they have a YouTube channel where they explain everything about their rulers. But once you learn the lay of the land with this ruler, it really is an all in one. It's got all of your 45 degrees. It's got your seams marked for you. It starts on the half inch on one side and it starts on a full inch on the other. It's really, really good. The other thing I love is that they simply use black lines and white lines. That whether you have a dark or a light piece of fabric, you're going to be able to see your lines and the lines are very thin. You're not going to have any problems seeing the lines when you are trying to line up your fabric. This one's my favorite. I do have a whole bunch of variety that I use, but creative grids is my favorite and no, I'm not paid for them, or sponsored by them in any way. 11. Before Cutting: Some important information before you cut. Now right now I have a perfectly squared up piece of fabric, and I am going to jag this up and mess it up so that we can teach you how to line up your fabric. That was fun. [LAUGHTER] I'm going to get rid of my scraps. We're going to first iron this because there's a big crease right here in the middle. Remember that when we're ironing, we do not ever want to drag the iron on the fabric. We want to simply and gently move it across. I'm going to spritz it with my Mary Ellen's half water, half Mary Ellen's. Then I'm going to take my iron and I'm going to very gently not drag my iron across and I'm going to move it around. You don't want to leave it in one spot too long because you will burn your fabric. When I'm moving, I'm actually lifting a little bit at the same time so I'm not dragging the iron. We don't want to shift those fibers inside the fabric, distorting it. Remember, don't ever use steam on any unsewn fabric. Now we're going to cut this fabric into five inch squares. The first thing we need to do is to give our fabric a straight edge for starting point. However, I first want to talk about right and left handed cutting. Here's the important thing; when you're cutting, you want your fabric that you're going to keep to be underneath your ruler. If I was going to cut this piece off right here, this would be the piece I'm getting rid of. This would be the piece that I am keeping underneath my ruler. The part you're keeping always goes underneath your ruler. This is very important. Because I'm right-handed, my ruler is going to be on the left and I'm going to cut with my right hand, so then I would cut that. I'm not going to cut it yet because there's a step we need to do. If I'm left handed, it's going to be the other way. I'm going to have my ruler on the right, my rotary cutter on the left. You're also going to want to take your blade off and switch it so that the blade is on this side and your bolt and nut are on the other side. Because if you try to cut with this side by your ruler, you're going to have issues with it hitting. You want to flip it. If I'm left handed, I'm using my right hand to stabilize, my left hand to cut and my ruler is covering the fabric that I'm going to keep. 12. During Cutting: Let's talk about the first step. The first step is to give our fabric a straight edge that we can go off of. So what I'm going to do is take my fabric and I'm going to run it over here, and I'm going to look because I have a directional pattern. I'm looking at the chicken wire line here and I'm just lining it up. I can see there's a tiny spot of it right there, and then I can see this down here. Now, I've lined that up. I'm using the lines on the mat at this point. I'm going to take my ruler, it doesn't matter where my line goes, and if you're a lefty, you're going to be on the other end of your mat over by zero. Then I'm going to line my ruler up into the middle of this thick line. Remember, center to center is the exact measurement. Now when you go to cut a large piece of fabric, you have a couple of options. You can start cutting, stop in the middle, then move your hand up. You never want to just have your hands stay in one end the whole way, because what happens is you have stability down here, but when you go and you get up here, then your ruler starts moving that way as you're putting pressure. So you can do that or you can put your whole arm down like this and then cut. Or you can be holding here, cut and then walk your fingers up, cut some more, walk your fingers up again. I don't like that method because I don't like taking a chance of it shifting and then I have to reset everything. So I will either put my hand down in the middle and I'm pretty tall, so this is okay for me, or I will put my whole arm and lean my weight against my arm. Then when I go to cut, I grab this and you want to point your finger, this is why there's a grip here. You always want your finger pointing in the direction that you're cutting. You don't want to cut like this, you want your finger on the top. Then that finger is going to guide us to point down instead of wobbling at all, so we're just going to run this along here like this. Once I'm done, I set that down, my hand stays on here, and then I'm going to grab the fabric there. The reason I do that is because if it didn't cut through for some reason, then I don't have to reset this because my hand is still here. You want to be real gentle when you pull that away so that you don't shift the fabric if it didn't cut all the way through. So now that we have our straight edge, we're no longer going to use the lines on our mat. The lines on the mat can get confusing, so in order to eliminate this, we're going to flip the mat over. Once you get used to this, you don't actually have to flip this over because the lines won't bother you anymore, you'll learn to just use the lines on the ruler. What I'm going to do is we have our straight edge. Now, again, I am right-handed, so I want the fabric I'm going to keep to be under my ruler. Now the first thing I want to do is I want to get a strip of five inches. I'm going to look here and on my ruler, I can see here's my five inch mark, and check to make sure that it's starting on the full inch, not the half-inch side. Then I take my ruler, and what I'm doing is I am looking to make sure this lines up all the way because this is a long piece, I can just look at this side because right now we only have one straight side to go off of. I am just checking to make sure it's good, and it is. So I'm going to go ahead and grab my rotary cutter. Again, I put my hand in the middle and I really try to spread out my fingers. If you're not tall enough for this, use your arm. [NOISE] I gently pull this away, so I'm good. Now I have my five inch strip. Now I need this to be five inch squares. The first thing I'm going to do is I need a straight edge on one of my sides. Again because I want the fabric that I'm keeping to be underneath, I'm going to go here to this side. If I was left-handed, I would go the other way, and I'm going to go to the closest point. I'm going to go there, and right here, it doesn't matter where I am on my ruler because right now all we're using the ruler for is to square. I am on the corner, I need to go up just a little bit right there. Now I'm perfectly lined up here and here, and I'm going to go down here and check, and down here I can see I'm just slightly off. I was off just a little bit, and now I'm square. So I'm going to go ahead and cut this edge off. Now I have a square point. Now, this is the part we want to keep now. Now we're going to flip it again, always keeping the part you want to keep underneath your ruler. Again, I'm going to go to the five inch mark. I have it lined up in this corner, and I'm just checking all sides. Now, you may be going, oh my gosh, this is so tedious just for a little bit, but if you think about 1/16 over eight blocks, that's going to amount to one inch that your block is of. Because if you have a 1/16 on both sides, that's going to equal a quarter of an inch. Then add that up over block over block over block, and eventually it's going to be a big problem. So you want to make sure that you're precise in your cutting. This is the number one best thing that you can do to improve your quilting is to improve your cutting. I'm fully square at five, checking again because I was chatting, and I'm good, and then I cut. Now I have a perfect five inch square. I want one more. I'm going to put this underneath. Again, if I was left-handed, this would go this way, and I would actually flip my ruler around because I'd want my five to be on this side so I could see it, but I'm right-handed, so we're going to go this way. I totally feel you guys being left-handed. My daughter and my husband are both left-handed, so I feel your pain and I totally understand the frustration, so I like to give you both sides. There is my second five inch square. 13. Course Quilt Cutting: Let's talk about our coat that we're making for this course. For cutting, you actually are not going to have very much to cut except your yardage if you did the jelly rolls strip. If you did the jelly rolls strips, then you're going to be fine with air and you're just going to want to take your yardage that you got you. I'm just using white, basic cultures cotton fabric, and this is my strip savvy ruler, it's wonderful for making quick work of cutting strips, and so what you do is you want to make sure you statch in iron really well, and once you statch in iron, then you're going to fold it. Typically, when you cut, you don't want to fold because you can get a wave at that point, but when you have a flat ruler laying across the whole thing and slit in-between, then it makes cutting much easier. That's so good for my cutter without having any of those problems. With this ruler, again, you don't use the lines on the mat, you're using just the ruler and the fabric, and so we're looking just at this line here. There's slits here that allow your blade to enter and then cut all the way up to there. You want to make sure your fabric is in-between these two lines, so that's why I have it folded. I'm going to do two and a half-inch strip sashing so you can do anything you want, [NOISE] I just prefer the look of two and a half. I'm going to make my first cut, and the really cool thing about this ruler is there are squares and stars, so there's a star every inch and a half and a square every two and a half inches, and so it makes it really easy to get those two and a half inch strips without having to sit there and think about math. Now, when you do this, you want to gently pull this away. Again, just like you would with a normal ruler, and then you're going to just lift it up and you should have all of your pieces cut. Again, making sure that you have a rotary cutter that's going to be deep enough for your ruler. 14. Thread: Now we're going to talk a little bit about thread and why quality matters and what kind of brands are good quality and the different types of thread and what you would use them for the projects that you'll be using. The first one I want to talk about is cotton thread. Cotton thread can sometimes get a bad rap when you talk to people because they'll say things like it's lente, it breaks easily and they prefer polyester thread over it. In years past that was true. But the cotton thread today that's made, if you get a quality brand, then you're not going to have as many problems that you would years and years ago. My favorite cotton thread for piecing is Gutermann. The Gutermann cotton thread, this is the label here. You can get it online. Julian's actually carries Gutermann and you can get it half-price often with their coupons. But often, you'll find that the price of the Gutermann thread is the same in the quilt shop. I really want to encourage you to check your local clothe shop, or you can also get it online. Cotton is more expensive than polyester, you will notice that. But trust me, when you are making something that you want to last for a long time and be an heirloom, you want to spend a little bit extra because you get what you pay for. I always piece with 100 percent cotton and I always peace with Gutermann. I keep on hand the navy blue, I keep a white, a beige, and a black. Those are the only colors I ever piece with, and I always use cotton. Now there's another Gutermann that I use sometimes in that's their polyester thread. You'll notice the difference, the caps, beige here and then it's more cream here. That's the difference in cotton and polyester. Polyester also comes in a bright white. This one is also polyester, and this is an economy-size one. I'll use polyester for projects that I make or bags or something that I want a little bit more color because I don't use cotton in colors. I just have the basic ones. Sometimes I'll use that, I use it a lot in my teaching classes because it's stronger and it doesn't have any lint. If I'm making something that I don't want any shedding or lint to come off of I'll use that. But 99 percent of the time I'm using cotton. The thread just looks fluffier and I feel like it gives it more of a full feeling in each stitch when you're looking at it. There's also a thread called variegated, and this is where the thread changes colors within the strand, so you can see that there how it changes colors. This one is a superior thread. This is the brand that I use for my longarm quilting. I do like their cotton thread too for sewing. You can get it on the cone and you can get really big cones too that I use on my machine. Really you have to decide between either cotton or poly. There are other threads out there and I've attached a guide in the next section or the next lesson where you can see the different kinds of thread on a home machine and the purposes that you would use them. But in quilting, you're typically going to use either a cotton or a poly. Then when you get to the quilting part, if you're free motion quilting or you are going to straight-line quilt, I would use cotton thread just because again, I like the cotton. But you can use poly and you can use poly for piecing as well. There's no right or wrong, they just have different attributes that give you different results. For long arming, I use a poly because it's stronger in my longarm machine is so powerful and moves at such high speeds, the cotton doesn't necessarily do as well. Yeah, there's a lot of different options and it's really just a preference. Check out the guide and then get a couple of different types to try out and see what works well with your machine. That's the other big factor is certain machines, especially based on your tension that you have set, which we'll be talking more about tension later on. It can make a difference on what's going to work well for your project in your machine. 15. Needle Anatomy: When we talk about needles, it's important to know some things about needle anatomy. Now you don't need to go and understand every part of a needle and how it's made and all of these things, but there are some things that you need to understand. I have this guide here, and I've attached this in the downloads as well so you can print it. Then there's also a complete guide to everything we're going to talk about. From Schmetz, they have graciously allowed me to use this for education in this course. The first thing we are going to talk about is the actual needle anatomy. There are parts on here that you need to understand. All of these things are not important unless you want to learn more, which you can, but here's the things we're going to talk about. The top of the needle is called the butt. This is what pushes all the way up into your machine so that you know that it hit the top and it's where it's supposed to be. Right here, your shank is pushed all the way up in. Now, on the back of this needle you'll see when I zoom in a little bit here, right here there's a flat side of the needle. This part right here where the indention is, is called the scarf. The scarf is on the same side that on the back of this is flat. In your machine, you also have a flat side where the needle goes in. If you try to put your needle in and it's not going, you are trying to force your needle in backwards, most likely. If you have an older machine, like my 1940 machine, and you are trying to put your needle in with the flat part front-to-back or on the back or on the front, then you're doing it the wrong way. Older machines have the flat part facing either the left or the right. It's very important that you look in the guide on your particular machine or get up underneath there and look and see which side the flat part of the hole is so that you get your needle in there correct. But the important thing is that the scarf is in the correct position. When the scarf is not in the correct position, then the hook on the bobbin assembly. Your bobbin is your bottom thread which we're going to talk more about. But when you don't have that scarf in the right position, the hook can't come around and bring that thread to cross and twist which is what makes that stitch. It's very important that you know where the flat side goes in your machine. The other thing I want to talk about is the eye of the needle and then the point in the tip. Right here you have this groove in the front of the needle. The groove is where the thread is going to rest on the front of it, and then it's going to go through the eye. Once you have it through the eye, then we're going to look down at the point in the tip. The tapering of the point is dependent upon the kind of needle, the type of it, the size of the needle, and the purpose of the middle. We're going to talk about that in the next section where we look at the actual kinds of needles that can be used for different projects, but what's important here is the tip. The tip will get worn out quicker than you would imagine, and you really may not be able to tell at first glance without really looking close that your tip has been damaged. A couple of things that you can look forward to know that you need to change your needle is, if you hear a ticking or a popping sound when your needle goes up and down, the tip of it right here has most likely been filed down from use. When you get that, what happens is it's actually grabbing the fabric fibers and can be causing damage to your actual integrity of your fibers in your fabric. I recommend changing your needle every 4-6 hours of sewing because I want to make sure that I have a needle that is fresh and the tip of the needle and the point of the needle are the way that they're supposed to be to give me the best result in my sewing. Now one thing that you also want to know when you're looking at your needle package is how to read the needle package. Here's the guide on this. Then they also talk about their professional grade needles which are made out of Chrome. I typically always stay with 90/14, which is what's right here. That refers to the needle size and the needle type. You'll want to take some time to read through this, but you can use an 80/12 which is the universal needle or in the 90/14. 16. Needle Guide: Looking at needles types, there's a whole bunch of options here. Let's start with the universal. This is what I typically quilt with. Now there are special needles made just for quilting that you absolutely can use. They have a special taper to them and a slightly rounded point. You could also use ballpoint if you can't find these quilting ones locally. But typically, I personally use the universal, either the 80/12 or the 90/14. I've just had really good luck with those with my machines, so if you can try those and you know your machine best and you know what you're comfortable with. If you like the quilting ones, then by all means use those. But there are a lot of different options here, so you can see the colors here, so for jersey, which is ballpoint, the orange is what they show on there. If we go back here and look this needle type here, this yellow band right here is saying that that particular needle is a stretch needle because it has a yellow. There are a bunch of different kinds and the things that change on them are the taper of the point, the tip. But the major change is the eye hole. In the next section lesson, you'll find the complete guide and it has a breakdown of understanding the different eye holes if you want to dig more into that. This is a great handy thing to keep around so that you can reference. There's also more information on twin needles and a metallic twin needle and some other ones there. I honestly have not ever used these and I also do embroidery. That's a whole different world than quilting. 17. Machine Features: All right. Let's talk about sewing machines and the features that you want to look for in a sewing machine. When we first started out sewing, especially if it's a younger person wanting to start sewing, we want to make sure that we don't go overboard in getting something with crazy amounts of features and things that might overwhelm you. But there are a couple of things and couple of features that I highly recommend every machine has even if you're a beginner. When you see sewing machines in the toy aisles, those are not something I would ever recommend starting with. You want to start with at least an entry level of may be like a Brother machine or a Singer machine. You can find these used on places like Craigslist or Facebook marketplace, but let's look at some of those features. This is a Baby Lock Verve, and this is my fanciest machine that I own. I'm also going to show you some of my other machines so that you can see how I still use machines without bells and whistles very happily and very successfully. The first thing I want to talk about is the Reverse button. Now, many of the more entry machines have a manual button that you might slide down or press and hold. That's totally great as long as you have a Reverse button. This allows you to lock your stitches. So you're sewing, then you push the button, and it's going to bring that fabric back towards you, making those edges lock together. The next feature that I highly recommend getting, and this can sometimes, depending on the brand that you have, really bump you up into another price range, but I recommend the Needle Up and Needle Down button. When I pushed that, the needle went down, so watch there. The needle went up, and it went back down. When I put this into the needle down position, every time I stop sewing, the needle is going to stay in the down position. This is really, really helpful because if we need to turn our fabric, when we lift up the presser foot, the needle is still in the fabric, so we don't lose our spot where we were sewing. We can turn, line up, put our presser foot down, and then go again. The last feature that I highly recommend is a tying off feature. Now, on this machine, it's a digital button right here, but when I push that Reverse button, it actually ties off when I start and when I stop sewing. That is very helpful. That is an added bonus. That one is not one that you have to have, because if you have the reverse, then you can do it on your own. One more bonus feature that I really enjoy having on all of my machines is either a semi-automatic or a fully automatic threader, and that's what this is right here. When I push this down, Baby Lock is famous for its threading features, and I'm going to show you here as I thread this machine. I'm going to follow it through here, and then I'm going to go through here and I just follow the numbers. When I put this in and I go around to the side, there's a number on the side that I follow. All I have to do is push this little button on the side, and it threaded my machine. Not all machines have an automatic threader like that. Some have semi-automatic, some have none. If you don't have a problem threading, then you can get one with that one. I use this super fancy tool here to help me when I need extra help threading. It's a threader. This is another machine that I have that is not quite as fancy. It's much older, and I believe it's from the early 2000s. It simply does not have a lot of bells and whistles, but I love it for coating because it has my three features. It has my Reverse button, it has my tying off feature, and then it has my needle up and needle down. Then down here, it's also got my semi-automatic threader. This one does not actually thread it for me. I would put it in here, hook it around there, and then I'm going to guide it into there and then pull it through. The last machine I want to show you is my favorite machine. This machine is a 1942 Singer 301A machine. This machine is a workhorse. There are no bells and whistles on this. It is just straight workhorse. It can keep up with the workload, and it does a beautiful job stitching. There is, however, no needle threader, there is no needle down position, and there is no tying off, but there is a reverse. Even back in the '40s, they knew that reverse was very important. There's even a bobbin winder on this machine, which is pretty cool. On this machine, I have to manually thread the needle. With these older machines, they thread from side to side. When you're looking for a new machine, if you can't find one with those features, don't worry, you can still successfully sew as you just saw with my last machine, my old Singer 301A. It doesn't have any bells and whistles, but it does have that reverse stitch. I really haven't seen a machine without that reverse stitch. 18. Winding a Bobbin: Now, we're going to take a look at how to wind a bobbin. Newer machines typically always have a pattern shown on the top of the machine that show you how to set up your bobbin. Now, I'm going to pull my thread out because it was threaded. I pulled it out and I'm going to go through number one because there's a number 1 here. Then this says number 2 back here. Two goes to three here. It's telling me to go on the outside of this hook and then around the tension desk and then you want to go underneath that tension desk. That tension desk is very important because that's what's going to make your bobbin wind tightly. You do not want loose threads on your spool or on your bobbin. That is why there's that tension and that extra little loop in that one. I'm going to go ahead and trim this, it's a little long. Now, let me show you here. There are two parts. There's the top here, and there's the bottom here. There's two different ways that you can wind your bobbin. The first way is you're going to put your thread in-between these two and you're going to go up. When you put your bobbing onto here, you're going to snap it on and your thread is coming up. You can trap it around your finger then you snap this over towards here, which is your stopper. That's going to automatically stop your winding of your bobbin. You can hold onto this thread and then it's going to twist and pop off eventually. Either way is fine, but the second way, if you look at the picture, sometimes machines will have this piece right here. This piece has two cutters built into it. If you put your bobbin on with that pointing down, your thread is coming out of the bobbin this time. If you put it through the little slit right here and you pull it back, and you want to hold onto it and then snap it over, that's going to activate your bobbin winding and as I pull this and start the machine, [NOISE] it breaks it right off. It's going to wind and it's going to go until the machine tells it to stop with this stopper. Sometimes you might see it camping towards the bottom. Just gently push your finger and give it a little lift every now and then and then it will even back up out and see how it stopped. My thing is set so that it won't go larger than the bobbin. If you are finding that yours is winding larger than the bobbin and it's not fitting in your bobbin casing, then you just need to adjust this. There's a little screw on top that you can undo and you'll be able to move that. It should come perfectly adjusted from the manufacturer, but you are able to make adjustments if needed. 19. Top Loading Bobbin: Once you have your bobbin wound, you just need to take it off of the winder so you'll pop it back to the left and then pull it up off the winder. You're going to want to make sure that you have no threads hanging off so I've trimmed that one right down to it. Then you'll want to make sure your thread is coming off of the left. If I turned this upside down, my thread would be coming off of the right now. That is not what we want when we're loading a top-loading bobbin. I'll show you more about front-loading and the difference here in a minute. I have it coming off to the left. I'm going to push this little button here, it's going to open my case. Then I'm just going to hold onto this and I'm going to put this in there like that. Then I'm just simply going to follow the arrows all the way around like this. There's a little blade at the end right here that is going to trim my thread. At this point, there's nothing else I need to do other than put the cover on my bobbin housing. If you don't have this little piece right here with the blade that trims your thread, there's one more step that you're going to need to do. Let's take a look at that now. This machine also has a top-loading bobbin and there is no little blade here on the side for it to wait for its job in. We're going to pop off the top sliding that little latch over and we're going to take our bobbin and we're going to make sure that again, we have the thread going off the left side. Top-loading bobbins are almost always left. Then I'm going to put it in and on this one I have a guide right here. I'm going to put it behind that little thing right there. I just put my finger on the bobbin so I can pull it in there nice and tight. But I don't have anywhere for this to sit. That's because on this particular machine, I need to bring that bobbin thread up. It can't just hang out there because I need to put that case back on. When I turn my hand wheel to the right and I bring the needle down and back up, and then I pull my thread, you can see that right under here I have my bobbin thread that has come through. Now that I have pulled that up and out of the way, I'm going to be able to put my cover back on and I'm ready to go. 20. Front Loading Bobbin: Now let's take a look at a front-loading bobbin. Now this is technically on the side of my machine, but this is what you call a front-loading. Now, first of all, I see a lot of dust in there. [NOISE] I'm using my canned air to just clean that out before I take my bobbin out. The less just I have in my bobbin case the better. There's this little handle that you can see right there. I'm just going to lift that out and then it's going to let me pull the bobbin out. Right now I have a full bobbin in here or almost full. This bobbin goes inside of this case and in this case goes into the hook assembly. This assembly right here is the same thing that's in the top loading bobbin but instead of just dropping it in, we have to line it up so that it goes in and clicks. Let's look at how we're going to do that. Remember on the top loading bobbin how we had the thread coming off to the left. Well, in front-loading bobbins, you want to have the thread coming off to the right. Then we're going to take our bobbin case here and we're going to put this in with it coming off to the right. Then we take our thread and there's a little slit here and you'll find this on all of the bobbins. It's going to go over here to this little etched out spot right there. We need that thread to go through that slit under that little bar and into that little etched out spot right there. You can see it's coming through that hole. Now, our bobbin is ready to load. To load the bobbin, you're going to pull out the little piece right here. That's going to be how you insert it back into the bobbin case. It's going to go right in there. Now I held the piece the whole time but if I didn't, you would hear a click. Just like that. That's how you know it's in there nice and secure. There's one more step you need to do for a front-loading bobbin before you can sew. Once you have your bobbin loaded, you need to hold onto your top thread and you're going to take your hand wheel on this side and you're going to turn it towards you one full rotation. Then you're going pull your thread. If your thread doesn't pull up like mine, just resisted, turn your hand wheel just a little bit more to get it past that hook assembly and that brings your bobbin thread up to the top. Now you have your top thread and your bobbin thread ready to go. We just put them both underneath the presser foot and we're ready to sew. 21. Top Threading: Now we're going to talk a little bit about thread, and why quality matters, and what brands are good quality and the different types of thread, and what you would use them for, the projects that you'll be using. The first one I want to talk about is cotton thread. Cotton thread can sometimes get a bad rep when you talk to people because they'll say things like it's linty, it breaks easily and they prefer polyester thread over it. In years past that was true but the cotton thread today that's made, if you get a quality brand, then you're not going to have as many problems that you would years and years ago. My favorite cotton thread for piecing is Gutermann. The Gutermann cotton thread, this is the label here, you can get it online. Joann's actually carries Gutermann, and you can get it half-price often with their coupons. But often you'll find that the price of the Gutermann thread is the same in the quilt shops. So I really want to encourage you to check your local Quilt shop. Or you can also get it online. Cotton is more expensive than polyester. You will notice that. But trust me, when you are making something that you want to last for a long time and be an heirloom, you want to spend a little bit extra because you get what you pay for. I always peace with 100 percent cotton and I always piece with Gutermann. I keep on hand the navy blue, I keep a white, a beige, and a black. Those are the only colors I ever piece with, and I always use cotton. Now there's another Gutermann that I use sometimes and that's their polyester thread. You'll notice the difference, the caps, like beige here and then it's more cream here. That's the difference in cotton and polyester. Polyester also comes in a bright white. This one is also polyester. This is an economy size one. I'll use polyester for projects that I make or bags or something that I want a little bit more color, because I don't use cotton in colors. I just have the basic ones. Sometimes I'll use that. I use it a lot in my teaching classes because it's stronger and it doesn't have any lint. If I'm making something that I don't want any shedding or lint to come off of I'll use that. But 99 percent of the time I'm using cotton. The thread just looks fluffier and I feel like it gives it more of a full feeling in each stitch when you're looking at it. There's also a thread called variegated, and this is where the thread changes colors within the strand. You can see that there how it changes colors. This one is a Superior thread. This is the brand that I use for my longarm quilting. I do like their cotton thread too for sewing. You can get it on the cone, and you can get really big cones, too that I use on my machine. Really, you have to decide between either cotton or poly. There are other threads out there and I have attached a guide in the next section or the next lesson where you can see the different kinds of thread on a home machine and the purposes that you would use them. But in quilting, you're typically going to use either a cotton or a poly. Then when you get to the quilting part, if you're free motion quilting or you're going to straight line quilt, I would use cotton thread, just because, again, I like the cotton. But you can use poly and you can use poly for piecing as well. There's no right or wrong. They just have different attributes that give you different results. For longarming, I use a poly because it's stronger and my longarm machine is so powerful and moves at such high speeds.The cotton doesn't necessarily do as well. Yeah, there's a lot of different options and it's really just a preference. Check out the guide and get a couple of different types to try out and see what works well with your machine. That's the other big factor is certain machines especially based on your tension that you have set, which we'll be talking more about tension later on, it can make a difference on what's going to work on your project on your machine. 22. Stitch Settings: Here you can see my settings for my width, my length, and my left to right shift. These are all very important because when you are quilting and sewing, you want different stitch lengths, and then your width is going to refer to where your needle lands. So I'll show you my standard needle positions. Five is the biggest that my machine does. I use this when I'm basting. Basting is when I am temporarily putting two layers together, so typically when I am putting your backing or you're quilt under my long arm, this is what I'm using that five for. When I quilt, I use a two. A lot of people use 2 and 1/2 and you can see how this went to the black box around it. That's the default size. I personally prefer two because I like a tighter stitch on my seams. My width, now I'm going to show you. Can you hear that clicking and do you see this line here this blue line, it moves? When I move this, it is moving my needle, same thing with this. I can go in 0.25 increments instead of half increments. This is really helpful if your foot on your machine isn't lining up well, so typically I like to run my fabric along the edge of my foot or have my magnetic seam guide. If your needle is not in the right position, then you're not going to be able to do that, so then that's where the adjustment comes in. So I have it at a five right now, but then I have my left-right shift on, so I'm going to go back to normal here. Now I have it, my left-right shift has been adjusted and my width is all the way to the right at five, and I could go farther all the way to seven, so that puts my needle as you can see right here, right on the edge of the opening in this foot. I don't want it there because from here to here is not a quarter of an inch, and once we get to the seam section, we will talk more about that. But for now, if you can see at the front here, we have these markings in our foot. Now sometimes you can get a quarter-inch foot and it's going to have an exact quarter-inch from the middle marking line and it can guides you. Those aren't great, but you do want to make sure that you tweak them a little bit before you just trust that it's accurate. For now, I am going to put mine at this middle mark right here, which is 3 and 1/2, and that is the default that my machine comes with because my foot here is default J foot. I have my width at 3 and 1/2 my length is at two, and now I'm ready to make sure that my other settings are all set. So I'm going to push, if you have the locking stitch option, you're going to want to turn that on, and then I personally like to turn on my cutting option. So when I stop sewing, it's going to automatically lock and it's going to automatically cut my threads. Now, if you are not to the point where you're sewing continuously without stopping, you're probably not going to want to have that scissor option on if you have that option on your machine, because then it's going to cut right in the middle of your sewing when you finish. Now, the other thing I want to show you is my different stitch options here. I've got several stitch options. Takes me through to all my decorative stitches, but I like the Number 3 for mine because it's centered. You're really just going to want to find the basic single stitch. My machine also shows me what the stitch is going to look like, so if I chose this one, it's going to go, it moved my needle automatically over here and this is how the stitch is going to look. So these are pre-set stitches where you can just touch the button and go. Some machines have a quilting stitch built-in where it sets it up automatically with a quarter of an inch, so if scan over right here. Q, these are different quilting applicate stitches, and then these p's are piecing stitches. So if you see this dot at the back, it's going to tie off my p's before I start so that it locks those stitches. It automatically does that. P is for piecing and Q is for quilting, so these are different applicate stitches and then this is like a stippling applicate stitch. So if you cut out a piece of fabric and you're going to put it on top of your quote and stitch it on, that's what applicate its. 23. What is Tension: Now, we're going to talk about tension. This is probably one of the hardest things for people to grasp when you first start sewing. Now, most modern machines, you don't really have to struggle with this very much. But knowing how it works and what adjustments you need to make based on what you're seeing is really going to help you get past any frustrations of not having stitches that you like. I have created this really cool tool here. This is just a plastic cookie box and I put some thread in it and there's batting behind it. So I want you to visualize that this right here is a stitch. Remember how we talked about when the batting hook goes around that scarf, it's going to grab that thread and twist it, and that's how we get our stitches. When our top tension is too tight, you can see that this is really pulling towards the top. You see how that's straight on the top. When you can't see defined stitches like this on the top, then you have a tension problem on the top. The same can be said for when the tension is too tight on the bottom. see how that went down. That's when we have those defined stitches that aren't showing on the bottom of whatever we're quilting. That's a bottom tension that's too tight. Ideal tension is going to pull the same on the top and the bottom, and it's going to keep that stitch in the middle of the batting. If this is your backing fabric, this is your topping fabric. If this is your top piece and then your back piece and then you have the middle right here. Let's take another look at tension on the diagram that I printed for you. In the first example, the top tension is too tight. You're getting that straight line of stitches with just a little tiny dot from those bottom threads being pulled all the way up to the top. Your top tension is too tight and possibly even your bobbin tension is too low. We need those to equal out. The second one shows the reverse. The bobbin is too tight and then it's pulling all the threads down to the bottom and you're only seeing a dot coming from those top threads through. The last example there is the perfect tension. As long as we have that twist and that stitch happening in the middle, then you're going to have those defined stitches on both sides and you won't have it pulling more one way or the other. That is how you get tension. Now one note, whenever you're having a problem on your sewing machine, if you get a big clump of thread on the bottom of it, that is a top tension problem. The best thing you can do at that point is to unthread your machine, clean it out. If your machine takes oil, put in drop of oil, clean it with an air duster, and then read it and start again. Ninety nine percent of the time, that fixes it. If you're still having a problem, it could be a timing issue that you're going to need to get in to see a sewing machine mechanic for fixing. There are two other tools that I want to show you that you can use when you're figuring out your tension. Now, you'll want to consult the thread manufacturer for what you need this setting to be at because every thread manufacturer is different. But for the front-loading bobbin case, there is a machine or a tool called the TOWA, and this is a tension guide. What you actually do is you take your whole bobbin case and you put your bobbin in the thread in your bobbin case, just like we said, and instead of snapping it into your machine, you snap it right into here and then you wind it around these two little wheels here, and then through here and you pull it, and it's going to give you a number, that is your tension number. For example, my machine runs between 170 and 200 using the Omni superior thread. This one is for my long arming machine. They also have one that is for a domestic machine, that will be the smaller bobbin case. This bobbin case is an M class. It's a huge bobbin for my big long arm machine back there. You're going to want the L class and I will provide you with links to both of these. It is a bit of an investment. It is about $50, but you can get them from local quilt shops or I have seen them on Amazon in the past, so you can check on there as well. Now, what if you don't have a front-loading bobbin? This will not work for you. If you have a drop in bobbin [NOISE], like on my baby lock here that I showed you, this tool will not work. You're going to want a different tool. This is the tool that you're going to want for a top loading bobbin. It has a hook here, and it's going to pull. There's guide numbers along here just like the guide numbers on here for how tight your tension is. What you would actually do is you would take the end of your thread, tie a knot, and hook it around here and then you're going to pull. That's going to show you as you pull, you're going to do just a steady, consistent pull, and you're going to be able to see what the tension is. 24. Setting Seams: Now that we have our perfect five inch squares, we're going to sew these together and take a look at how to handle seams. The first thing I want to do is take my right sides together and I'm going to line them up and they are perfect squares because we did our cutting correctly, so I know that they're going to fit perfect on top of each other. Then we're following our seam tape here that we talked about, and then I'm going to just put it right up to right before where the needle starts. Now, if you take a look underneath your foot, you're going to see either a really wide opening or a single circle opening. This metal piece is called your stitch plate. When you have that wide opening, it's for zigzags and other decorative stitches so that the needle can move around. When you have that single circle in the middle, it's called a straight stitch plate. When you're piecing and quilting, if you ever have problems with when you start and the fabric getting pulled down into the machine, you'll want to switch to a straight stitch plate. This will give less room and less chance for your fabric to get pulled down into the machine. Now, I have mine set to do a couple of back stitches after I start, so I'm going to go ahead and push my presser foot [NOISE] and then I'm at the end, couple of stitches and then part. Now I need to do something called setting the seam. The next step that we need to do is to go over to the ironing board because we can't just see how that sets like that, see how that is up and bent. If we were to try to just keep sewing on this, this could get folded over and then look how much of that seam we're missing and that's going to cause your blocks to not to be the right size as well. Let's look at how we can prevent that. We've sown our piece together, now we have our Mary Ellen's Best Press, I always give it a shake and then a spritz, and I'm going to set my seam. That means we're putting the heat on it to relax the threads. When a stitch is made in your sewing machine, it's taking that top thread and it's taken the bottom thread, and they're crossing and twisting and that's how you get that stitch. Once that stitch is twisted in there, we need to relax it so that it won't pull the fabric. We spritz it with our Mary Ellen's, give it a rest, I set with the iron. Then we're going to open it and we're going to take our fingers like we're playing the piano, and we're going to push away. This is super important. This is one of the biggest tips that I can give you for making sure that your seams lay flat. A lot of people will say, ironing your seams open is helpful and it is, but you lose integrity of your seam. If you keep that folded to one side side the other, and then finger press, then you're going to spritz again, just a tiny bit and you're going to iron. Notice that I'm not sliding my iron across, I'm not pulling it at all and now, I have an incredibly flat seam. Do you see how flat that lays? That is the difference right there from not finger pressing and pressing in-between each sewing line. You must press before you move on to the next step. When you're doing jelly rolls, you can sew your three strips like we're going to be doing here in a little bit, and then you can press it, but you don't want to sew together a section and then try to sew that section to another section without doing this step. 25. Course Quilt Piecing: It is time to, sew our strips together. Now remember when we talked about our setup in our sewing room is, we want to have our ironing station to our right. We want to have a little cutting and trimming station to our left and we want to make sure that we also have our ironing starch. To my right, I have my ironing station. To my left, I have my trimming station, and then I have my sewing machine here. The first thing I'm going to do is take my first three pieces and I'm going to iron them with my starch. I'm going to lightly spray them and then I'm going to iron them. You can choose to do all of these prior to. I personally like to do it as I go because I like the feeling of the warm fabric as I sew. I'm just ironing them, lifting and moving. Now that I have them ironed, I'm going to grab my three pieces, I'm going to decide which order I went to put them in. You can use multiple tools, but I personally like the quarter of an inch seam tape and so to install this, it's very simple. It comes like a washy roll of tape like this and you want to find the end of it and you'll pull out a long strip. Then you'll go underneath your presser foot like this and I lift it up and hold it until I can see that the red line is underneath the needle then my left hand do you see how my left hand is going up and down? I'm holding it up with my right hand and my left hand I'm going to place it down so that it sticks. Then I can let go and I can slowly let that go down and then once I know that my needle is right above that right line, then I have it in the correct spot and I can put this down the rest of the way. Now I'm not going to put this down because I already have mine, but you want to put it down all the way and wrap it around your extension table if you have it. Once you have it on, you'll want to use this really nifty little tool called the stiletto. I love this tool. I got mine from biennium.com and it's a very sharp point and then you can just run it right across here and then right across here and right here and then when you lift, it will be separated. You can see mine is separated. Now, let me take this out. A lot of times the bobbin case won't have these markings, mine do so I didn't put it on there. But on my other machine, I have the tape on my bobbin case too, all the way up until the stitch plate to make sure that I keep that quarter of an inch seam. Now, when you're sewing jelly roll strips, you want to make sure that you are being consistent with your seams. When these are cut, their cut with pink edges. That means that it's actually a little bit wider than the two-and-a-half-inch strip that it says it is. If I put this over here, it's actually two and just a little bit more than a half. If I went to the inside pinking, so do you see how these have shorter spots and longer spots at the pinking? If I bring this inside point to the edge, and then I look at the inside point of the other side, that is two-and-a-half inches. What needs to follow the quarter of an inch line is the inside of your pinking edge. Now, don't stress out about getting this absolutely perfect because there's no such thing as perfect. A done quilt is better than a not done quilt. I'm going to line up here and I've got all my settings set that we talked about on my machine prior to when we were doing our machine settings. I am ready to stitch. What I see is my gray is farther out than my white so I want those to line up. What you can do, is bring those points together so that you can see in-between them and that's what you'll run along your quarter of an inch line. I want my stitch to be two actually I have to fix that. I like too. I hit. There we go. Away we go. Mine is going to automatically backstitch a couple of stitches and then we're just going to sew this. I typically hold it down here and line it up as I go and then I just let it go [NOISE] Now see here how I'm starting to separate. I'm still straight up here some I'm fine. But I see that this is starting to move, so I'm going to stop my foot. I'm going to adjust and then I'm going to go again [NOISE]. Here it is again, slipping and that's totally to remove. We're going, all the way down, slipping again, stepping and adjusting. This should be the last adjustment we have. See how here how this jelly roll strip is longer than this one. That is super common. You will see that all the time with jelly rolls, don't panic, just go to the end, you didn't do anything wrong, and then we're going to pull out and we're going to stitch our next one. Now, here's the other important thing about stitching a jelly roll strip. We just finished on this end. This is the end we need to start on. If you go back to the top and you open this up and you start stitching and just add on the next one going the same way, your fabric can start to bow because all of the stitches are pulling in the same direction. We finished here, so this is where we want to start. I just rotate like this, then we're going to open this up and I'm going to grab my arch strip that I want to go here. Now, to make sure that I have it's somewhat centered so I don't waste any fabric. I'm just running this down and that's about right there so I can start in the same area that this one finished. I'm going to line up my pinking again and you won't be able to do this perfectly because each company has their own pinking process, such a funny word. I'm lined up, so all I'm worried about is getting these first couple of stitches in. I'm not worried about down here yet. This is where an extension table is very helpful because it gives you that extra line to follow. Now I am continuing to just gently open this line, this one up. Notice that I'm not pulling this super tight. You don't want to do that. That is going to stretch your fiber fabrics. You want to let your fibers be, let the machine pull it through. Here we go. Let's see, now I'm here, I need to adjust. Let's say that you don't have a perfect quarter of an inch seam, but you're doing it in the exact same spot every single time, then that's what matters. Consistency matters. If you have that same consistent spot every single time, then your seams are going to match up when it comes time to do that. I didn't get very far because I didn't do very much straightening there. I'm going to go ahead and straighten this out. If you feel more comfortable, you could pin, but when you're doing little pieces of fabric like this or just two pieces of fabric, then you're fine not to pin [NOISE] Now that we've sewn our three strips together, it's time to go set our seams just like we talked about before, making sure that we are setting and then finger pressing and then we will iron on the top. Now that you have all your jelly roll strips sewn together and pressed and sprayed with Mary Ellen's, we are going to do our cutting. What we're going to do is take one set of strips and then I'll set the rest off to the side. You want to make sure that when you set them off to the side that you don't fold them. You can drape them but just don't fold them because they'll crease. Then we're going to take right sides together. We want to line up the shortest salvaged edges. What we're going to do is we're going to cut however tall it is, the width of it. The first thing we want to do is clean up the edge. I'm going to take my ruler, and I'm going to measure first to see how tall my strip is. You're going to want to measure yours because depending on your seams, it could be different. Remember how I said, consistency is what matters. Once you iron these flat, then you should have a nice flat piece. Remember not to let the lines on the mat confuse you. Mine are six and three-quarter. I'm going to clean up the edge first. I'm going to line up my bottom line here, along the bottom of the strips. Then I'm going to take my Olfa and I'm going to cut all the salvage off. Gently move it to ensure that it's removed. Then I'm going to pick it up, and I'm going to flip it over. Being careful not to shift it because I'm right-handed. Remember, I want to keep this, the part I'm keeping underneath my ruler. Right now I have my ruler on the half-inch side, so I'm going to turn it over so I start on whole inches. I need six and three-quarter because that is what my strips are. It's not necessarily that we cut different even or that we sew different even. Part of it is the way the strips are manufactured. I mixed two different jelly rolls. My solid color ones are Kona Fabric and my pattern ones are Lori Holt from Riley Blake Designs. They each have their own way of manufacturing, and my Kona's were a little bit wider. Getting those to line up with the quarter of an inch gave me a slightly different size maybe than what you have based on your quarter of an inch setting. I have it set at six and three-quarters and I'm checking that I have it straight along the bottom, straight along here, and straight along the top. Then I'm going to cut and gently move. That gives me perfect squares. You're going to do this to all of your strips and then we'll meet back here to talk about the next step. Now that we have all of our pieces cut, these are what's called fence rails. This is the fun part. We've done all that work prepping it, and now we get to do the laying out of the strips. What I like to do, if you're doing multiple color, is I will take them and just put each pattern and color in a little pile and then I take different ones, and I just put them together and see what I like. I'm just going to spread these around. Now that I have them all spread out, I need to pick nine of these fence rails, that's what these are called. Nine of them to do three, three, and three. Let me show you my process and then you can pick yours. I will typically pick a section of warm and then a section of cool, just trying to keep the one that meets the three here; the opposite end. These are dark, I'll keep it light. If I'm using one like this, then that would be okay because only one of them are light. There's really no wrong way to do this. You just want to lay them out how you like it. Notice here see I messed up and this is why I always tripled double quadruple check. I have two going this way and that's not right. I need them to be the opposite. This one here is actually supposed to be this way. Then I can adjust. I always check horizontal, vertical, horizontal, vertical, horizontal, vertical, horizontal, vertical, horizontal. Now I have my nine. What I'm going to do is I'm first going to sew these three together by sewing these two here and then this one to here. I'm going to do that on all three like this. Then we'll come back and I'll show you how to sew them all together. Now that we have each row sewn together, I'm going to show you how we're going to put them together. I'm going to take the middle one and flip it up. Then you're going to see because we did those seams in opposite directions, my seems now nest. Nesting is when your seams go opposite ways so that it's super flat. If you have yours like this and then you feel it, you're going to notice that it's very, very flat. If I was to have them both going the same way, it'd be very thick. This is how you get your seams to lay really flat without pressing seams open. Now when you go to the sewing machine, you're going to want to do an extra little step when you're first learning. Let's take a look at that. When you're first learning to nest seams you are going to want to use a pin to help you. I line up my seams like this and I'm going to put a pin in sideways right where I want it to hold. Then when I go up and I line my seams up, and then I sew. [NOISE] I'm keeping that quarter of an inch. Now I want to show you something. When I flip this up look, that was flipped this way. Because when you're sewing it's going to not truly try to flip up so you always want to stop before and this is where your stiletto again can come in very handy because you're just going to help it flatten back out. Then you'll pull your pin out. Then I use my stiletto here to make sure that it doesn't move. You don't want to go super fast on this part. Guide it through, and then get a couple of stitches pass that seam, grab your pin again, and do the same thing again on the next spot. I've lined up my seams there. I'm going to put my pin in. One thing I'll say is I would not waste your time pinning all of these ahead of time. Just use one pin as you go in and out. It's much faster in the end. [NOISE] Then the other thing I'll do is I want to make sure all these seams lay how they're supposed to so again, I use my stiletto. [NOISE] I'm feeling each seam to see that it is flat. [NOISE] Here I go up to here. Even if I think it's flat, I'm going to check and then slide my pin out and continue on. [NOISE] Then once I get past that one, I'm just going to line up my ends so that I have them together and keeping that quarter of an inch. [NOISE] Then we'll go over to the ironing spot and we'll give it a little spritz because we need to set the seam. Just a little bit goes a long way. Setting the seams. Then we're going to finger press open. You can't really see what I'm doing here. I like to get really, really into those seams, so I leave it over my fingers so that I can really make sure that it's pushed all the way out. Then I'm going to spray and press again without dragging. At this point, I like to give a nice all-over iron. Then you can see, if you look here, this is where our seams meet. There's our point right there , and there's the other one. Now this one is a little bit off. That's okay. That's life. Nothing is perfect. Don't stress over it. Now we're going to do the same thing again to the bottom one. I'm going to make sure and I always double and triple check. Then I'll flip it up. I like to always flip towards the middle. Then checking my seams here. This one get it lined up so that they're nesting, and then I'll go pin and sew. Then I'll do this again over and over until I have all of my blocks. Once this is done, this is considered a block. 26. Sashing and Gemstones: Now that we have all nine blocks put together, we're going to do the sashing. The sashing is the fabric. You don't always have to do stashing. In this quilt, I'm doing sashing because I'm teaching a lot of different techniques. We're going do stashing and we're going to do gemstones. Sashing is when you have strips of fabric in-between your blocks and so that's what we're going to do now. Now that we have our strips cut, we need to measure how tall the block is. You'll always want to measure your own block just to make sure because sometimes you can get off in your cutting or your seams, and so you just want to measure. It looks like I have 19.5 and so we're going to take this strip and we're going to attach one to both sides, not the top and bottom, just the sides. Before we do that, we want to take all of our blocks and you'll want to go lay them out and make sure you have a pattern that you like of three-by-three. Then you'll use the step of putting the sashing in-between. Just like we did this block, we did the top first, then we did this, then we did this. Then we put this to this, and then we put this to this. We're going do the same thing with the sashing. In between, we'll have two pieces of sashing, one here and then one in-between the other ones. Now, we have the sashing in-between each of the blocks. You can see there sashing, there, there, there, there, and there. Now, we need to put sashing in-between here and here and we're going to do something called gemstones. This is something you'll see often in patterns. I wanted to cover it in this course. Where the sashing meets in-between each block will be a different 2.5 by 2.5 inch square. If you did 1.5 inch sashing, then your squares, gemstones would be 1.5 inch square. I did 2.5 inch strip session, so mine will be 2.5 inch squares, that will be finished two inch. Now, I'm going show you how to do that. For my gemstones, I want to do, I'm just going to use some 2.5 inch strip leftover from my jelly roll and I only four gemstones because I want them just in the middle. I'm going to cut four 2.5 inch squares and what I'm going to do is use my handy little strip savvy cutter, just like I did before, and I'm going to line it up on this bottom line here. I'm going to use my cutter and I'm going to trim off the end. I have this folded in half right now. All I need is two cuts [NOISE] and then I can remove it. I have my four gemstones. Now, I already measured my blocks so I'm going to cut sashing that is 19.5 inches long. Then I'm going to attach this and then I'll attach another 19.5 inch piece. I've sown my strips together, and I have two gemstones in-between this set of sashing and twos gemstones in-between this and now I'm going to attach it to my cloth. 27. Borders: Now we have our four gemstones in place and now we're going to add borders. When you add borders, you can do any size that you want. Typically, I like to do a white 2.5 inch border all the way around and then an outer border that complements the fabrics in the top and the backing. When you attach borders, you always want to attach the sides first and then the tops and bottoms. A trick that I do is I never cut the borders to the length until I've attached them. You have two options for attaching the border: you can measure the sides first and then attach them, or you can just cut long strips and attach it and then measure the top and attach it. Typically what I do is I just cut the long strips and then I'll put it on the sides and then I'll trim it and then I'll put it on the top and the bottom and then you're done with your quilt top. When you get to the borders, if you don't have 108 inch wide back, then you're going to have to do some piecing. With borders, I always recommend doing a straight piece instead of mitering. What I do is even with the selvage edge, I will go about an inch from that selvage edge and I will just sew a whole bunch of these together. I like to chain piece, so I'm going to start this one. [MUSIC] I'm going to follow this and I'm going to flip it so that this can mimic that one. This one is on the bottom now so I need to put right sides together again. This can get a little tricky when you're doing white fabric or a fabric that is just a solid and doesn't have a different back. You could just do this one piece at a time if you don't want to chain piece like this. But the nice thing is, is it goes a lot quicker. [NOISE] Then you just piece that one in, follow it so that it's flipped, so that that one now mimics the bottom, and so on. I've added the borders. I did 3.5 inch gray borders and then a 2.5 inch white border all the way around, and once I get the binding on, it'll be a three-inch border after the seams are done. Now it's ready for quilting. We're going to talk about the different types of quilting: free motions, and I'm using a walking foot, and then also long arming. 28. Batting: Now we're going to talk about batting and there are a ton of options for batting. I really want to stress the importance of quality batting. I'm going to show you a picture here. This picture is from a roll of batting that I got at Joanne's. You can see the inconsistency within this batting. It's supposed to be the higher quality that you can get at Joanne's because it's not pre-packaged. It's on the big role. But it's actually the opposite of what you think. What Joanne's gets on the role is called the second and it's the leftover stuff that didn't complete the QA process that batting goes through. There are a lot of different brands and I really have found the best luck and highest quality with Quilters Dream Batting. [NOISE] They have a ton of different options. I've attached in the next lesson, the batting university that they have created and I have their permission to share it here in the course. I hope that you'll take some time to go through it because it really explains a lot. But I want to give you the overview of my two favorite bad. The first one is poly puff, and this you can see is a very thick puff. It is all polyester. What you would use this for is something that you want to be very warm, that you don't necessarily want to breathe and let air go through. I use this for quilts and items that I might be taking on a camping trip. Or maybe if you have a blanket in your car that you keep for emergencies, you would want that to be very warm. This is also great for wall hangings you can use it for and a lot of people use this for baby blankets because it is super puffy. One of the other benefits is that you're going to have more definition of the quilting design that you have chosen when you use a poly puff because it does have that puffier feeling. The quilt that I quoted in this course was quilted with the poly puff because I'm going to be using it for camping. The second kind of batting that I want to talk about is the 8020 cotton. This one is 8020. This is very thin. You can get it in different loft sizes. Again, check out the batting university because they have all of that explanations on there. It's 80 percent cotton, 20 percent polyester, which gives it a very strong fiber and it's very smooth. I want to hold this up so that you can see, there is no inconsistency. You can see the shadow there of my arm. There's no inconsistency like that first picture within the fibers. They're batting goes through so much quality assurance checks that it's just the best quality no matter where you get it or what you get when you get the quilter stream brand. You can choose anything that you like. Really batting is batting. But if you want something to last for a long time and be an heirloom, you want to get the best quality that you can within the times that we have today. If you have a quote longer, I'm quoted in my studio, I offer free Quilters Dream Batting either the 80, 20 cotton or the polly option, and it's always free when you go through me. 29. Course Quilt Backing: Now that we have our top made, we need to prepare the backing for it. I have a bolt of fabric here and I always recommend flannel for the backing. You can of course use cotton, you can use minky, you can use different types of quilting fabrics for the backing, but my favorite is flannel because it's very soft. As you saw in the fabric videos, I showed you how that extra step of the needle punching and needle brushing to make it softer. I've chosen a flannel here that's going to complement nicely, I think. What we're going to do is we're going to use our app. We're going to use the Robert Kaufman app that I told you about it to figure out how much we need. I always put 42 for the width just to be safe and make sure that all my salvage I have room. That's what I put for the width. Then on the calculator, there's an option for overage and you absolutely need to put something in there. Me personally, when I quilt, I like to have four inches on all four sides. Rather than figuring out the total, you just put in the number of inches bigger than you want the backing, and it will calculate it for you. Once you hit calculate, it's going to tell you the yardage based on horizontal seam or the yardage based on a vertical scene. Once you have your backing cut to the right size, we need to piece it if it's not a wide back. Remember the wide back is the 108-inch wide. Well, I have the 43-inch wide. I'm going to show you a trick on how I piece it in a super-easy way. I'm going to go ahead and open up my fabric. When you're dealing with a bigger quilt, you have a lot more to deal with. This one with flannel, you can see the right side on the wrong side because you can see where it's brushed on this side and then this side you can see more of the grain. You want to make sure that you get the right sides out. We want right sides together. I'm going to undo this whole thing and it just seems like a blob right now. Because I just took it off the bolt. What I'm doing is I have right sides together and it told me I needed 4.5 yards for this quilt and the 43 wide. I'm taking right sides together, salvage edges. I'm going to put it together and I'm going to run my finger all the way down so that I can get it lined up. I'm not going to worry too much about the ends getting completely straight because I will show you why. I'm going to come down and find my edges and I don't want to start on the edge with the fold. I want to start on the rocket edges, right sides together, and then I'm going to go to the sewing machine. Now that I'm at the machine, I'm going to take my raw sides and I am going to sew one inch in. All I'm focusing on is keeping these edges aligned. I am going to measure out one inch for myself. I have a one-inch mark right here. I'm going to put this down and it doesn't have to be exactly perfect. What we're looking for here is just getting a straight seam on both sides. Then we're going to do some trimming so really focusing here. I'm going to turn my stitch length down to two because that's what I like to stitch with and here we go. [NOISE] All right. Notice when I got to the edge here, this is the folded side. This is why you don't want to start on this side because if you're off a little here, you have a chance of wasting your fabric because it's going to shift. By starting on the cut side and moving this way and then we go towards the end where it's folded. Then once I'm done, I'm going to do just a little bit of back stitching here. Then I'm going to cut my thread. We're going to go over and we're going to trim this. [NOISE] Now it's time to trim. I am going to use my 2.5-inch ruler here. I'm going to trim a half-inch from my stitch line which is going to cut the selvage edge off. That's half-inch typically gives you a really good seam and still lets you get those yucky selvage edges. Now I just have fabric and if you'd like a little bit more of your salvage cutoff, you could do an inch and a quarter when you sew the backend pieces together or less, if you prefer a quarter of an inch seam, I personally prefer a half-inch just because I like a thicker seam on my backing, so I know that that's never going to separate. I'm going to get this all trimmed up and then I'm going to show you the next step. [NOISE] Now that I have this all trimmed, you'll notice here that this side is still connected, it is still one piece. What we're going to do is we're going to take the edge that we cut and we are going to pull it towards the selvage. I did this and the camera wasn't recording. If you can imagine that this side has not been cut yet, this is the fold. Here is the corner where it was folded. We're going to lay that out. We're not really worried about it being too straight right now. Our main concern at this point is just making sure we don't have any folds or wrinkles, and we'll just line it up. This would have the fold here so you wouldn't actually be having to straighten up the edge. It would already be straight because that fold would still be there. Once we did that and you can see here this is the piece that was on the fold that I had right here. Here are the stitches. Those would be right down here. Then what I did was I took my big ruler, put it on the edge, and I pushed it all the way until I could feel the fold. Then I just cut it and that removed the folded part so that now when I open this up, my fold is cut. Now I have a piece of backing that has been pieced in a very simple fashion without having to make multiple cuts. The steps are, you get it off of the bolt, you open it off of the bolt. Then you put right sides together and sew along the selvage edge, starting at the cut side all the way down to the fold. Once you do that, you trim off that folded edge. When you open it, it's ready to go. Now, directional fabric, this might not work as well, but you'll have to just look at the pattern on your fabric and see if you like it. Otherwise, you might need to do a little bit more fussy cutting and lining up before you make that seam. 30. Backing Prep for Longarm: As we look at backing, you're going to find a couple of options. You can do a wide back backing where you don't have to piece it. Typically these come in 108 inches wide, which is going to cover most of your quilts. Sometimes though, you can't find what you want in a wide back, so then you're going to peace your backing together. That's what's happened here with this backing here. These are two different pieces that have been pieced together on one salvage side. The salvage side is the raw side that you see when you buy this off of the bolt. Regardless of whether you use wide back or you piece your backing, there is a very important step that needs to happen before your backing and your quilt can get loaded onto the long arm machine right here. That is straightening out your backing. Now, you might be thinking, well, they make it and it's straight or you may have learned that if you tear your backing, that you don't need to worry about it and that it is perfectly straight on the grain. It is straight on the grain when you tear it. Yes. But if you think about the process of ripping your backing, you are changing the shape of the actual threads in it. Let me explain why that is. In every fabric you have pieces of thread that are going horizontally and pieces that are going vertically. This is important to understand because this is the weaving process. If you are tearing fabric, then the threads within there are going to shift, and that makes your fabric not straight, even though it's technically on that last thread. What you need to do is remove the twist. If you look at the bottom of this backing, you're going to see that the fabric is not exactly flat. There's a twist. Right here is what I'm talking about. When I hold this up, I want you to look right down here. You can see the twist. Do you see how it's not laying flat? Let me show you the other side. Again, there's twist. That's what we need to eliminate. If you don't eliminate that twist before you try to put your quilt onto the long arm machine, you're going to have a backing that dips, which means it's going to be really tight on one side of the machine and really loose on the other side of the machine. How do we fix this? Well, I am holding this fabric about shoulder-width apart. I'm not worried about the edges at this point and I have my finger in-between. This is going to allow me to shift the fabric. The one that's closest to me, I'm pulling to the left, the one that's closest to you, I'm pulling my right. I'm just shifting these, and then I give it a little bit of a shake. Now I can see at the bottom that twist is gone. Then to make sure that I have that, I'm going to take my finger out of the middle. I'm going to give it a little shake, and I'm going to check the bottom for any twist. I'm not worried about the sides. I'm worried about what's right in front of me. I still see a little bit of twist, so I'm going to just slide these a little bit more again. Now my twist is completely gone. Once I do that, I want to keep these salvage edges together so they're even on the top. I'm going to keep holding the spot. I'm going to go and look at this. Do you see all of that that's over this? That's how much twist we removed. I'm going to grab at that point where the shortest spot is. Then I'm going to go to this side. I am going to also do the same thing on this side. Now this is flannel, so it's a little bit more sticky. That's why you see me working with it a little bit more. If you're using a cotton backing, you're not going to see that as much. Now I have both my short ends. I'm going to take this shorter side and this shorter side and I'm going to put them together like this. Once we have the shorter sides together, we're going to take a look at the twist that we removed. Do you see? I'm going to turn it on its side so you can see. This is the seam where the customer put these together. But look, look how uneven this is. It was trimmed square, but the twist on the bolt actually made it not square when you line up the threads. This is why it's super important for this. Let's go take a look at how I trim this and rectify this situation. Now that we have identified the twist and we've folded this up minding that our salvages and our edges are all lined up on this side, we want to take it to the mat. We're going to line up the fold along the bottom so that it's straight. Then I always look to the left to also make sure that I have this area over here lined up as well. That gives me a nice square position. Then I'm going to take my 24-inch ruler. My favorite standard ruler is just a six-inch wide and 24-inch tall. Now we can see here is all of that twist in the weft and the weight of the fabric. I'm going to take my ruler and I'm looking for a line on here to keep along the bottom that's going to help me keep it really straight. I'm looking for the shortest point of fabric. It looks like on this one, this top piece, and the second piece, the second one is a little bit shorter. I'm going to take this and I'm going to push it right to the edge. Then I'm going to use that line at the bottom to keep it straight. I'm not using the numbers on the map. I'm just using the ruler, and the line across the bottom of the ruler to make sure that I am flat. Now if you're struggling to get it straight, the best thing you can do is take a larger ruler that's wider. That's going to give you more opportunity to make this level. This would go right at the bottom. I would check all the way over to this point and make sure that that is right on the edge of the fault. Then I'm going to check to make sure up here that I have the shortest point there, which I do. I'm going to go ahead and cut. I'm going to grab my rotary cutter and I'm going to cut through. Now this is flannel, it's a little bit thicker. Typically you don't cut this thick. But when you have large backing for a large quilt, you want to make sure that you really get in there and cut it with the rotary. Once we cut that off, I always make sure I pulled this off first in case my rotary didn't go through at one point. Now I'm done. I can put my ruler to the side. [NOISE] This is the twist that we removed. This is going to give us a perfect straight top and bottom to attach this quilt to the machine for quilting. Here is a white back flannel that has been torn. A lot of people swear by this method, but I want you to see here this is how much fabric is being lost by tearing. You're losing money and you're losing fabric when you tear and you don't cut. Cutting off the bolt is always better because then you're going have less twist that you have to remove. If I put this on my machine without straightening this out, there would've been this much of a dip that would have caused puckers as the long arm went across the quilting. 31. Basting: Now we're going to take a look at straight-line quilting and free motion quilting. Because I did the quilt on my long arm, I am using just some other fabric and going to make a little comforter for my daughter's dolls, doing straight-line and free motion quilting. What I have here is I have a piece of fabric for the backing. I have my batting and then I have what would be my top for my quilt. Now, there's a couple of ways that you can prepare your fabric for straight-line or free motion quilting. One way is to use those giant safety pins and put your safety pins every three inches all the way across your entire project area. I personally don't use this way. I tried it once when I first started quilting and I hated it because I kept getting puckers in my fabric. What I do is I use a temporary adhesive basting spray, and it's called 505 Temporary Spray. I use it for embroidering on my machine as well. This stuff is great. If you accidentally get it on your cutting mat or anything else, it doesn't ruin anything, it just goes away over time. What you'll do is you'll just [NOISE] spray it on your fabric. Then you're going to take your batting, and you want to put it on like this, and then you want to go from the middle and you want to smooth it out. Now, if you're doing this with a large quilt, I suggest rolling your backing onto a PVC pipe. Or some people use a pool noodle and then put PVC inside of it to keep it from being flimsy, and then you would put your top on one, and you would put your batting on one. What would happen is you would roll out a section, spray it, roll it, press it, spray it, and continue on. But since I have a smaller piece here, I'm just going to do it like this. Once I have that secure, then I'll take my spray again, [NOISE] and I'm going to do the same thing on this. This stuff will not gum up your needle on your sewing machine either, which is super important. I very gently lay it, adjust it. This fabric pattern isn't perfectly straight, but that's okay. Then I'm going to go from the middle and you can see where it's attached. Doing it this way is going to keep you from getting any puckers in your quilting on the domestic machine. I just had a little wrinkle there that I wanted to take care of. Now, some people will even put pins on top of this, but there is no need to. It is stuck together. You might want to go through and get your corners a little bit. Make sure those are done really good. I just got some on there, and that's totally okay. 32. Free motion quilting: For free motion quilting, we need to go ahead and take off this stitch foot. This is our straight line foot, the walking foot. I'm going to loosen that up and I'm going to take that off. Then you can see we have some teeth down here. On the back of your machine, typically, there will be a little button for your feed dogs and that just lowered those. Did you see that? Those went down. So now, those feed dogs are not going to pull my fabric. My hands are going to be in charge of where my fabric goes. Then I have this tool here, and this is a free motion quilting foot. This one just slips under a dress like the other one on this side. Then there's a little bar that goes right on top just like the walking foot. We'll tighten it up. There is a spring on this foot right here that goes up and down. That is the hopper part. What we want to do when we're free motion quilting, we want to start in the middle. This is because it will keep wrinkles and puckers will become less likely when you do this manner. But as you can see, my machine is not very conducive to free motion quilting because of my arm space. I only have about, I want to say, seven inches because this machine's focus is embroidery and also piecing for quilting. Its main purpose is not free motion quilting, but it will do it. The first thing I want to do is I want to do my needle down, needle up, and I want to pull that bottom thread up and then I want to grab it. This is very important because when you're free motion quilting, you don't want to have that thread just on the bottom like that, you need to pull it up. Then I'm going to go ahead and give a couple of stitches just in the same spot. Then I'm just going to trim these long threads out of the way. Now, there are a couple of tools that you can get that are super-helpful. I gave mine away because I don't free motion quilting anymore now that I have my long-arm machine. But there are gloves and there are grippy gloves. You could use garden gloves too. I've seen people do that. I wouldn't use used ones, but you definitely could use a nice grippy pair. They have that grip on them. Then you're basting spray is the other key thing. What you're going to do when you move the fabric, the needle is going to go up and down, but there's nothing moving the fabric. However fast you move your fabric is how wide the stitches are going to be. Some machines come with a sticked regulator, which means it regulates based on the speed that you make it move. It will do the same stitch length. Most machines don't have that. Watch here [NOISE]. I want to show you. I'm going to rotate this so you can see it. I'm going to lift up my foot and I'm going to rotate this around so that you can see what I just did. Right here you can see the stitches I just did. Do you see the inconsistency, how these are super wide and then these are all more in uniform and consistent? How fast I pushed my foot, I was going very slow but my hands move to the same speed the entire time I was quilting. I did that on purpose so that you could see the difference. I forgot to put my presser foot down. Here we go [NOISE]. Maybe you want to do a loop to loop. Now if you consistently find your stitches being very long, speed up your machine. Go ahead and put it at that full speed [NOISE] so your hand can move faster. This is just called stippling or meandering. It's definitely different to think of moving the fabric instead of moving a pin that would be in your hand. It takes some time to wrap your brain around getting that consistency and that flipped thought hand off. At least for me it does. So then you just follow it all way and then stop. We can take a look now. Now you can see my stitches are much more consistent. They're still not that great. I personally do not thrive in free motion quilting, especially with a really short arm like this. I think it's amazing what people can do. For the first 11 years, that's what I did. I did free-motion quilting, mostly straight-line quilting because I would just do crosshatch, vertical lines and then horizontal lines or diagonal lines. That's a great way to quilt and it's fun. I really enjoy the straight-line quilting. Free motion is more of a challenge and just takes a lot of practice. So that's the basics of it. Then you would just continue working your way all the way to the edges. Then once you get to the end, you would do the same thing by trimming your quilt and attaching the binding the same way that we'll show you here in the binding section. 33. Straight line quilting: When we straight-line quilt, we need to put on a different foot. Right now this is the normal piecing foot. We need to change this to what's called a walking foot. This walking foot has teeth that go up and down with this little arm right here. This arm hooks onto this hooks onto this right here and it makes it go up and down. That is what makes the teeth go up and down. Then these teeth squeezed with these teeth and they pull all the layers together as it goes. Chumps pulls, chumps pulls. It gives you better control over the fabric when you have multiple layers. We're just going to remove this screw. The side over here. You can push that up. Oops, where's it? Push that up to get it a little higher. Then we're going to take this and we're going to put this up on there. Then we need this piece. You might have to let your screw out a little bit more because it's thicker. Then you put it in just like that, so then we have our piece right here. That's going to go on the arm. We're going to grab our screwdriver. Tighten that up. This little guy right here comes with a walking foot typically. On the back of the walking foot, back here, there is a hole where you can slide this end. This gives you lines to follow when you're straight-line quilting and using the walking foot. It's a super helpful tool, typically comes with two, one for this side and then you could flip it around and put it on the other side and have that pointing up so it doesn't catch on your fabric. What we're going to do, you're going to want to make sure you move your stitch length to three or three and a half, because you want to see those stitches better when you are doing quilting on the outside. Then I can see if I pull this around. I've got nice stitches. What I'm doing is straight-line quoting. I'm just going to go all the way off the edge and I'm going to cut my thread. You have to be really careful because you will get hung on things with batting, especially I'm using poly batting for this. It is a lot more catchy and sticky. Now I want you to do about, maybe let's just do about that. What I did is, I lined up this guide with this stitch line right here. That's what I'm going to be watching as I go to make sure that it's in the right place. To straight- line, that is really all there is to it. Just making sure that you're using something to line up here, this or somewhere on your machine, maybe you use your extension table ruler or whatever guide you use to help you stay in the right spot. You'll also hear people say things like, stitch in the ditch. Who have a seem like this. Remember this piece we did together. Stitching in the ditch would be if I were to put this on here and put it under for my quilting, then I lowered my presser foot and I stitched right in-between where that seam is all the way down. That stitching in the ditch. Then when you put them over on the back of the quilt, you're going to see the design that all of the pieces made throughout your quilt top, if that's all you did was stitch in the ditch. 35. Trimming After Quilting: Now that our quilt is quilted, whether you quilted it on your domestic machine or had it quilted, it is time to trim the quilt. Now, if you had it long arm quilted and you had it bound by your long arm quilter, then you do not need to worry about this step. You're all done; they took care of it for you. But you might be interested to know the process of how to finish a quilt and bind it. So once it comes off the long arm, this is what it looks like. You have your backing pattern, and then you have the pattern on the front. Your long armor should have basted around all of your edges. If you did this on your domestic machine, you likely did safety pins throughout, so you won't have a basting line, but you will still need to trim along your quilt. Now, there are different opinions on this next step and I'm going to share mine with you and then I'll share the one that a lot of other people have as well. I like a binding that is not flappy so when you feel the edge of it, you can't feel the fabric touching the front and the back. If you trim this right along the edge here, right along the edge of the quilt top, so my border is gray. If I trimmed it flush with the gray, then you are going to likely have floppy binding or you're going to lose more than a quarter of an inch that the pattern calls for to give you that even border. How do you remedy this? You remedy this by trimming it a quarter of an inch larger than the edge of the quilt, so that you have batting and backing that's going to get stuffed into that binding. So let me show you, now right here you can see my borders because remember how I talked about I don't measure and cut until after. Because part of that reason is once I get it on the long arm, my long arm has channel locks where I can lock the horizontal and vertical to make sure I get a perfect corner. So when this quilt is folded, it will fold in an exact square way, even if it's a rectangle, all of the corners will match up when folded. So what I'm going to be looking at is the second half here. Now I'm using my 2.5 inch ruler, you can use any ruler that you want. You just want to make sure that there's thin lines and that you are able to make sure your level; so you might do better to use the larger one like before. I think I will switch to this one because that one's only 18 inches long and this one's 24. Now the first thing I do is I will line it along the flush edge, and if you can see right here, it's not flush, but here it is and here it is. Quilts are not straight and hard and vast, like wood they have flexibility. You just need to grab the left side of your quilt or the right if you're left-handed and you're just going to maneuver this until it's flush. That's very important because you don't want to just let it go and cut on top of your border because your border was basted down at a quarter of an inch or an eighth of an inch depending on your long armor. I'm just going to make sure that it's all lined up, I'm not worried about this section I'm basting it off the rest of it. Then I'm going to go and push my quarter-inch line to the edge of that, and as long as I have this straight, there's a spot right here I missed. There we go, then I am all set to cut, gently pulling to make sure that it works, and I'm going to do that all the way around. Now you can see I have batting that goes beyond and there's about a half-inch right there from the basting line to the edge of my batting. So you'll see how that works with the binding once we attach that, go ahead and trim all the way around your quilt top like this. Then we'll talk about how to make and attach the button name. 36. Yardage to Strips: Once you get your quilt trimmed up, we need to make our binding. You'll need about three-quarters of a yard. For this quilt, you're going to need eight strips, the width of the fabric, so from salvage to salvage of 2.5 inch wide strips. Now, I'm going to show you here how I figure that out. If you go into the Quilting app and then you tap "Binding", it's going to ask for the width of fabric, I always put 42 when I'm using standard. Then it's going to ask you for the width of the binding, 2.5 inches is what we use. Then it's going to ask you for the size of the quilt, our quilt is 71 by 71. Then when you hit "Calculate", it'll pop up and it will tell you how many strips you need. We need eight strips. What you're going to want to do is get your yardage, you want to starch it and iron it very well. I usually do it twice, because I like my binding very crisp. If you have the strip savvy ruler, you can use that, otherwise you'll just use the normal ruler that we've been using and you're going to measure 2.5 inches. Now, if you don't have the strip savvy ruler, a bit of advice here is find 2.5 on here and get a piece of washi tape and put it across here and across here wherever you do it. This is 2.5 inches in, and that's going to make sure that you get that top corner of the fabric in the right spot every time you make a cut, otherwise you might get a quarter of an inch off here or there. That's super-helpful to do that. I have this really long ironing board that I made and I made this specifically for when I do binding because I like it to go quick. In the ****** section, I show you how to make this, so that you can make your own and you can make them any size you want. I have several in different sizes based on the space that I need them in. What we're going to do is we're going to lay all of our strips out. You'll notice that I have this wide enough to cover a whole strep of a regular bolt piece of fabric. I lay out four, maybe five of them at a time. They're all face down, so I have wrong side up. Then I give them all a spritz, and I do quite a bit on the binding because again, I like them crisp. Then I'm going to take this first corner here and I'm going to fold it over. We want wrong sides together when we're making binding and we're going to just follow this all the way down. I'm not dragging, I'm still lifting and moving, really getting that crease in there. That's one strip, then I go on and I do the next. I'll do this until all of my strips are ironed in half like this, and then we'll go to the sewing machine and put them together in one long strip. Once you have your strips ironed, you'll bring them over to your sewing machine and you're going to want to grab a pair of scissors because you're going to have the salvage ends. I just trim those off. Don't do it like that, you want to trim it nice. It doesn't have to be perfect, but you want a straight line. Then you're going to take one strip and you're going to open it up and you're going to put it face up. You'll want to make sure you don't accidentally grab the same strip because they're long, I put the extra ones in my lap. I have this one facing up, then I'm going to trim this one. I'm going to open it and this one's going to face down. What I'm making here is a plus sign. You can see right there, it's almost like it's a plus sign, so we have a vertical and horizontal one here. What we want to do is we want to overlap this by about a quarter of an inch on both sides, so we have a quarter of an inch here and a quarter of inch here. We'll know we have this going the right way when we look at this and it says if this is an arrow pointing. The arrow is pointing towards the inside arm of our machine. Once we have this ready to sew as long as the arrow is pointing towards the inside of the machine, you know you're going the right way. We're going to sew from here to here. This is where the tape comes in very handy because this red line is the line where the needle is. I know the needle is going to start right there on that corner and I'm going to push my foot. [NOISE] You know what, I don't have my settings right. I need to bring this down to two. I had it at five because I was doing some base thing. I'm going to cut that thread , and I'm going to back it up. I'm going to start again, and I'm also going to turn on my back stitching. It's going to go, [NOISE] and then it back stitches a little bit. I'm just making sure that I have the red line staying at that point where those go together. This again, is a great place where you can use your stiletto and you hold those pieces together and guide them through. [NOISE] I go pretty slow when I'm doing these [NOISE] because you really want to make sure that you keep them straight. Now this is the reason why we ironed them, because this makes it very easy to chain piece. You don't have to worry about if your piece is twisted. It doesn't matter, especially if you have a solid color you're using, and once you've ironed them you don't know what's the top and what's not. Having that ironed seem, I'm cutting off salvage here, it's very helpful. Then we're just going to chain piece. We're going to do the same thing again with it pointing up. Grabbing my next one, trimming that salvage, open it up with right sides together, making that quarter of an inch in the corner, and then I want to make sure my arrow is pointing towards the inside arm. I always lift to make sure I get it under there. Now I'm going to get my first couple of stitches. [NOISE] Now I want you to look at something. I am not straight right now. Do you see how my point right here is not lined up? With my needle in the down position, I can lift and then I can shift this so that I have my quarter of an inch here, I have my needle where it needs to be, and no harm was done. The less stitches that you take in the beginning, the better, you just want to get them anchored together. [NOISE] Now it's telling me my bobbin thread is almost empty. I'm going to fill up my bobbin thread, I'm going sew the rest of these and then we'll talk about the next step. Now that we have them all sew together we need to go ahead and separate, so we've chained pieced them all. I am just going to trim them all apart. For this next step, you can use your rotary cutter if you want, but typically I just eyeball this. We need to cut this tail off, like this. You'll know that you have lined these up right, when you're sewing and when you're going down this line, you want to feel for that crease on both sides. Then you'll feel the crease and then it lines up perfectly when you open it up. Of course your patterns won't match, you could take the time to do that, but I typically don't worry about that on binding. Again, let me show you. Here's where I sewed. This is this crease and on this side is this crease, so when I'm sewing, I look to feel that when this crease going horizontally and the one going vertically cross, that that is where my stitches are crossing on both of those creases, and that's what gives you that perfect lineup of your pieces. Not necessarily the quarter inch, that's important, but what's super important is this part right here where you make sure those creases cross where your stitches hit. I'm going to get these trimmed up and then we are going to get this attach to the quilt. 37. Attaching the Binding: I've got all these trimmed. I have my binding ready and I've got my quilt there in my lap. I wanted to show you that I always keep these pieces of fabric not thread that I cut for scraps because I use them for starters and stoppers whenever I am sewing small or chain piecing pieces. They're really nice to make sure that the thread doesn't get sucked back up in your machine. All you would do is take this, put it under and start sewing, and go past it and pull it out a little bit and then start chain piecing whatever you're sewing. When you finish, you would again fold this put it under, and sow that, and then pull it out and cut. What this does is it keeps your thread from sucking backup in your machine. This machine doesn't have that problem. It's got some features on it. But with my old 1940 machine, I have to do this all the time because it will suck that thread right back up into the machine. That's a little tip for you. I have a little jar over here that I just keep a whole bunch of scraps in. Now I'm going to take my binding, I'm going to put it to my right and I'm going to have my quilt here to my left. I'm going to start approximately in the middle. It doesn't have to be perfect. You just don't want to start near a corner. What you want to do is place your binding on the edge so that you have that extra bit, and then you want to grab a pen and you want to pin this to it and you want to have about a 10-inch tail. Then you're going to take it and you're going to follow this around. I've moved position because I can't really show you very well what I'm doing. What I did was I have the binding that I pinned onto right here, and I have my 10-inch tail. What I want to do before I do any stitching is just roughly run this around the edge. What I'm looking for is that these seams where I connected the binding strips, that they don't land on a corner. Now, it's not the end of the world if it lands on a corner, it's just harder to get those corners really, really nice and crisp. Right here, it looks like I have a seam that lands right where this is. I'm going to take this and I'm going to shift it just so that it's slightly before it. I'm going to work my way back all the way. It takes a little time to get this done, but trust me when you get to the hand sewing part, it is so much better. Saves a lot of hassle. Then I'm going to take this pin, out. I'm going to move this down, and then I'll put my pin back in, in the same place. Then I'll just run around again and check to make sure that I don't have any other seams landing on the rest of the corners. We are good to go. The other thing you don't want is for your seam to land right at the middle where this ends. We're all set now. Now we're gonna go to the machine and attach this. Now that we have our binding that we know is not going to land any corners on the seams. We want to take our binding and start where we pen, giving at least a 10-inch tail here. But we also need to make sure that we are on the inside of the base seam line that was put on when we did our quilting. Here's the base seam line. Here's the extra batting to make sure that we have a puffy binding, and then we need to be a quarter of an inch in from the edge. We're lining this up. The binding is flush with the quilt top. I'm going to make sure my thread is down. My thread came unthreaded here, so I'm going to grab my thread here, thread that again, you see how that's hard to pull. It's because my presser foot's down, my tension disks are closed at that point. I'm going to put that underneath there and we're going to attach this now. Now, we need our quarter of an inch to be based on the edge of the foot. We can't see our tape. It's really 387 inch, when you go from this line in the middle to here. That's what we want because we want to make sure that we hit that quarter of an inch on the inside of the basing line, we're going to do 3/8 of an inch. You can always use a little mini ruler. What I do is I find the 3/8 and that's it right there. I can double-check it because if I put it here, 1, 2, 3/8, and I can see that that is exactly where my needle lands. To the edge of the binding is 3/8 because this is 1, 2, and 3 3/8. Then I don't have to think about anything other than keeping my binding and the top of my quilt running along the side of this foot. Here we go. You also want to make sure that you're stitching is at two millimeters for this Psi or for this stitching project 2. Two-and-a-half typically remember is the default. I prefer two because I like a tighter stitch, so two or two-and-a-half is fine. Once you get to where you have one of your seams, you want to open it up, pull that seam towards you so that both of those sides flap down towards you. You don't want to stretch it, you just want to make sure that it's flat. Now I'm to the corner, and I want to zoom in here and I want you to see here is the corner of my batting and backing. Then here I'm going to lift this up and making sure I have my needle down. Here is the corner of my top. I need to go until I am 1/4 of an inch away from the corner of my top. This is important because you'll see how we're going to fold this and make that corner perfectly crisp. I'm going to slow my speed way down. I have been doing this so long, I can eyeball it. But if you're not sure, you can always use your ruler and lift it and then look and see what part of the fabric hits that quarter of an inch to give you a guide on where to stop. Once you get there, you're going to lift your presser foot. You're going to turn so that the point of your top, not the point of your backing and batting, but the point of your top, runs with this line here in the middle, your seam line. Then you're going to go right off the edge. I always go slow on this part. Just like that. Then we're going to cut our thread. Then we cut our thread. Take it out. This is where you're going to need your iron. Though my iron is going to come over here now. I'm really not worried about having somewhere to iron on top of because I am just doing this corner. Be very careful. You want to fold this up so that there's a 45-degree coming from that corner. Then you're going to press your iron right there. Just for a second. You don't have to starch it or anything because there's already a lot of starch on it. Then from there, we're going to take this and we're going to pull it down so that we cover up that 45-degree. It's perfectly perpendicular to this one. But if I flip this over, you can see there's that 45-degree sewing line that I did. Then it's got this flap. We're going to keep that flap down. We're going to go back under the machine. We're going to line it up again off of the binding. I'm not quite on it. I'm on top of the batting and the backing because I want to get that corner backstitch done. I'm going to go ahead and start, and it's going to go and then do it's back stitches and then I'm going to speed up. I'm right back to what I need to do. I will go ahead here and saw this and then I'll show you one more time on the next corner and then we'll meet on how to end it at the beginning. We are at the corner again. We have our needle down and we're going to go until we get to 1/4 of an inch away from the quilt top edge. I'm there now, so I'm going to lift and I'm going to turn and then. I put my presser foot down and I want to make sure that I keep this top coming off there. Go ahead and cut. Then I'm going to pull it out. I want my iron handy. I'm going to fold this back like this. Now here you can see I went a little bit too far on that, that time and that happens. It's not a big deal. You just want to grab your seam ripper. You just take out one to two stitches so that you can lift that to meet the corner of the top. I have that folded back like this. It's running up and out of 45 degree angle. I'm going to place my iron on there for a moment. Then I'm going to take this and I'm going to fold it flat down, making sure that it's even right across the top. For an added good measure, I'm going to put the iron on there one more time to make sure that crease is really there. Then I'm going to go back to the machine, I'm going to place it into the backing in the batting to make sure that I get that back stitching on my binding. I'll continue on and do this for the rest of the quilts. Now I'm back to the beginning. Here's my starting strip and here's where I'm ending. I want to stop so that I have plenty of space to work with these two ends. I stopped about that 10 inches from the end of that strip as well. I'm going to do a couple of back stitches, and then I'm going to cut my thread, and take it out. Now, I'm going to turn this so that it's in front of me. I'm going to take my ends and I'm going to bring them together. Now, on this one, I have a seam right here, so I want to make sure that when I cut this, that this seam gets cut off. How do we know where to cut? Well, this is like magic, how this works. We cut our strips two and a half inches wide. We're going to cut the overlap two and a half inches wide. If you did two and a quarter inches for yours, then you would cut two and a quarter inches for your overlap. We're going to take our bottom one here. The first one is on the bottom and then the top one right on top of that. Then I'm using my little ruler here and you can turn it whichever way you want. You want to go two and a half inches from the edge of the bottom one. I have my little marker here. That's where it is from the bottom. Then I'm just going to press that and hold it and making sure you only cut the top. Cut it. Two and a half inches of overlap. Then what's going to happen is you're going to pick them up like this and you're going to put your finger in-between both of them. You're going to stand them up and face them towards each other. Now it matters which way you turn this. I'm going to do it again. I have my left one on top, I'm going to pick it up and put it towards my other one. Then my right one, I'm going to pick it up and I'm going to put it towards that one, so they're saying hi to each other. I'm going to lay it down again. Left one up, right one up. Then I'm going to put them together like this. I'm going to bring them together and I'm going to turn them. I brought my left one away from me, my right one towards me. That's going to give me my cross. Now, I'm not worried about it being a quarter of an inch right this second, my goal is to get this up to the machine. I'm going to just bunch the quilt together out of the way. I'm going to get my pieces. Now, I'm going to get my quarter of an inch pretty close and to make sure that I am stitching in the right place, I want to turn and I want to make sure that my fabric is again pointing the arrow toward the inside of my machine. I haven't moved anything out of place. Those are still together where I had them. Then I'm going to bring it up and I'm going to get my first couple of stitches in. Really what I'm looking at right now is making sure that if I laid this out, here's my two arrow pieces. My point is pointing towards the inside of my machine. I'm going to back that up a little bit so you can see that. My point is pointing towards the inside of my machine. I know I'm going from the correct corner to the correct corner. I'm just going to sew that and following along that red line for where my point is. I'm going to cut it. Then when I take it out and I pull it flat like this, it's the perfect length. Then once I've checked that I did it correctly, then I'm going to grab my scissors. I'm going to trim my quarter of an inch here, making sure you don't cut the underneath. Trim that. Then you'll simply stitch it down and you'll never know where you started or where you stopped. You're going to want to start a couple of stitches back to lock those stitches in. Again, just sewing that 3/8 of an inch all the way down. Now once I get to that seam, I'm going to make sure again that I have it folded down towards me. I don't want to be pulling and stretching because that can misshape the fabric. Stitching all the way down. Doing a couple of back stitches. Cutting. I'm done. Now it's time to go hand stitch this to the back. 38. Threading and Tying Your Needle: Today, we are talking all about threading your needle and how to tie it off. When I was first learning to hand sew, I would take my thread and put the needle on, and then I would take the two ends together like this and then I would tie it. I thought that that's how you were supposed to do it. Then you would have the needle on the loop down here. That is not how you should be tying off. To be completely honest, I didn't learn that until a few weeks into hand sewing. What you want to do is take your thread and then we're going to trim off the end. You might need to get it wet with your mouth and that helps like any fuzzies. Then you're just going to thread the needle like that. I have a really short piece of thread just because I don't have a lot of space with my hand. But here's what you're going to do. You're going to have one side shorter than the other. You're going to hold it in your right hand with the thread on the bottom and the needle pointing up, then you're going to take the thread that is longer. If you don't have one that's longer, just pull it to make it longer. You're going to bring that so that it goes opposite of the needle. The needle is pointing that way, your thread is pointing down. This is very important because if you don't do that and you try to do in both of this way , it's not going to work. Grab the thread opposite way, grab it in-between your fingers like this, and then you're going to make sure that you have just one thread. Pull that one a little bit shorter if you need to. I typically hold these with my fingers here so that they stay out of the way. You're going to take your longer thread and you're going to wrap it one, 2, 3, 4, 5. Now the important thing is when I'm wrapping it, that when I wrap like this, if you notice, that thread tries to get caught, that other side of the thread. You only want this piece that you're wrapping to go around. Then you're going to use this hand to pull it down. See how those wraps, they're gone from here, they're underneath my thumb now. I'm going to keep my hand here in-between holding this thread here. I'm going to grab the needle with my other hand now. I'm going to keep that knot in-between my fingers. It's here underneath my fingers. You can see it right there. I'm sliding that down. Now, with this hand, I'm holding both threads and I'm pulling and I'm slowly moving my other fingers out of the way. Let me get really close and I'll show you the magic that just happened. There's your knot. As easy as that. I'm going to trim this off and I'm going to show you one more time. I have my needle pointing away from me or up. Then I have my longer side of the thread pointing down or towards me, holding it with my other hand. Then with my fingers back here, I'm going to keep these threads out of the way. I'm using this hand to wrap 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. Using this hand to pull those wraps in-between my fingers. Then I'm going to pull with my hand. Then using my fingers below, I'm just guiding the thread slowly moving them. Let's see if I can keep this in the picture this time. There's your knot. Then as you're sewing, you just want to keep this other piece. You don't want to take it too closer it becomes unthreaded. But you also want to make sure as you're sewing, you only have the one thread going through the fabric. 39. Hand Sewing the Back: Now that you have your thread ready, it's time to start hand sewing on the bindings. The first thing we're going to do is, we want the backing facing us, it does not matter where you start, as long as you don't start on a corner. You can start on any side. I'm just flipping the binding, so if you look at it now on the front, [NOISE] it has a nice straight pretty line there. Now we have to attach it to the back. There are people out there that will machine stitch this on both sides. I don't do that because two reasons, one, I'm not good at it, it's very hard to get your stitches to line up and not go off of the binding on the other side because you can't see it, and two, I like a more quality invisible stitch so that I can not see the stitches on the back, so it's going to look just like this when we're done and it just looks better. To start, you're going to want to, you can see here, I'm going to zoom in. This is my basting line from when I quilted it on the long arm. This is my line where I attached the binding at that 3/8 of an inch. I want to put my needle on the closer side of that binding attaching thread line to the raw side because it's going to be a hidden stitch. I'm going to push that all the way through. A tool that I like to use sometimes is this little guy right here, it's a thimble. Typically, I have it on my middle finger, this one is a little small, I have big hands. You can use that if you need it, I actually have a callous here because I hand sow so much. You can see I have a callous because that's where my needle always pushes, just like that. We're going to flip this over, and the goal here is to get that it's going to be tight. You're going to feel like you have too much right here. You just want to work it. This is how you get that really full binding. I have it folded over and I can feel that the batting underneath is not folded. Then I'm going to go into the backing right underneath where my thread is coming out right here. If I pull this thread down like that, that's where my thread is coming out. That's where I want to go into the backing. I'm going to go in right here, and then I'm going to turn and I'm going to come out the fold. It makes this angle here. Then when I pull it, because I have that magic thread conditioner on there, it's not going to knot. Now, it can be a little bit tricky in the beginning because you have lots of maneuvering to do to make sure this all stays down. Don't worry if these stitches lift up right now, the important part is that you get the needle in the backing where that thread comes out, and then through the fault like that and pull. Then if that happens, just back it up a little bit and that thread conditioner will keep it from getting tangled up. My threads were sticking out, pulling out, and once I got a couple of stitches in there, it's going to stay put. I just give it a nice little tug here and it's good now. Then I'm just going to keep going all the way until I get to the corner and we're going to talk about how to handle a corner. 40. Quilt Care: [MUSIC] I want to show you some tips on how you can take care of your quilts so that it will last for generations to come. One of the most important things you're going to want to remember is to never put your quilt in the dryer. This is super important. When you have a quilt and you put it in the dryer over and over and over, over the years, it will wear out the fibers in the fabric. So let me explain to you the process for caring for your quilt. The first thing you want to do is, have some shout color catchers. I recommend just getting the shout brand. I don't even know if they make off brands, but these are the ones I've always used. They look like dryer sheets. They come in box just like dryer sheets. You can find them in the same area in the laundry aisle at your store. But they are actually at this special paper that attracts dyes. When it attracts the dye, it sucks it onto the paper instead of transferring it onto the other parts of your fabric. For example, if you think of like when you wash something red, with something white and it comes out pink. That is what a color catcher would prevent. So using the color catchers, if it's the first time the quilt is ever being washed, you want to use three to four. I know it sounds excessive, but trust me, you will be very thankful if you have a bleeding issue with the fabric. Then the more you wash it, you can just use one each time depending on how bad they bled the first time. One thing you also want to keep in mind when you're washing is, don't use fabric softener and use a mild dye-free and perfume-free laundry soap. That's going to help the fibers last longer as well. Once you've washed it and you want to make sure that you get it out of the dryer or out of the washer immediately, do not let it sit in there. If you're not going to be home to take it out of the washer, don't wash it. Because as fabric sits there when it's wet, colors will transfer. Whether you have the Shout color catchers in there or not, it will transfer color if there's any kind of bleed to the fabric, so you don't want to leave it sitting in there. When you take it out of the washer remember I said you don't want to dry it, you want to lay it out somewhere flat. The reason I say flat is, because you don't want to put it on like a laundry line or outside in the sun because that's all very harsh for the fabric and can mess with the fibers. Now if you did this one or two times, you wouldn't notice anything. But over time you're going to notice damage happening to your quilt. If you think about the heirlooms that you might have in your family over the years, they are all cared for and washed by hand because they didn't have washing machines and dryers and things and they last longer because of that. So when you lay it out flat, what I do is I'll lay it over the stair rail banister up in our hallway upstairs, then I'll turn the ceiling fan on and just shift it every now and then. If you don't have a banister, just get some chairs and drape it over the chairs and then turn your ceiling fan on or get a box fan and just have some circulation in there. Then once it's fully dry, then you can throw it in the dryer for like five, maybe 10 minutes at the most, just to get that crispiness off if you don't like that. I prefer a softer cuddles, so I always do that for five or 10 minutes at the end. If you do these things, your quilt is going to last for generations to come. The thread on the quilting is going to last and you're just going to have really good results for your quilt.