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Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Quilting with a newbie

Several weeks ago, my granddaughter asked me to teach her how to make a quilt, and I told her we'd better wait until school was over for the summer, since she and her family are always pretty busy. Today was the day! I got out graph paper for her to practice sewing straight lines, which she did much better than I'd expected — and with much less practice. :) Then we selected fabrics for the doll quilt she wanted to make; it's all in pinks to coordinate with the bed. I'd thought we'd make a Rail Fence quilt with three "logs" in each block, but DGD had a tough time deciding among four she liked, so we finally went with all four fabrics, arranging them to her taste.

She did so well! She's barely six years old, and she was enthralled — and very disappointed that we didn't have time to finish the quilt. This is what she accomplished today. The blocks are 4" square, and all that remains to finish the quilt top is to add that third row of blocks and a border. I did the cutting, pressing, and pinning, but she did everything else. I was less worried about possible accidents than I might have been if I hadn't had a finger guard for the presser foot on my Bernina, and I sat right behind her while she sewed so as to see exactly what she was doing.

Have you ever seen a cuter little quilter? We've set a date for the next session. :)


  1. My granddaughter asked to teach her to sew, also. We are starting with pillowcases and then move on to quilting. She is 9. What a life long skill to learn.

    1. Good for both of you! My granddaughter didn't want to start with anything other than a quilt, so that's what we're doing. It was such fun today!

  2. Yay! What fun. My oldest son has asked about quilting or embroidering a couple of times, but he does not follow directions well so I have been hesitant to let him near my sewing machine... I also vividly remember him putting GLUE down the needle hole of my Bernina when he was a toddler. I was in tears, thought it might never work again, and thank goodness for that angel of a tech who carefully cleaned every speck of glue off the bobbin case and hook race! Maybe now that he's older I should take him up on it? He IS very artistic. I'm looking forward to seeing your little quilter's progress. Any tips you'd care to pass along for teaching children? Having them practice on the lined paper is a great idea.

    1. Thanks for your comment, Rebecca Grace! I don't know your son, so I can't be sure of my answer, but I think perhaps letting him do something on your machine with close supervision and a clear outline of the "rules" would be a good idea. If he's artistic, he may really blossom through this medium. He's no longer a toddler, I assume , so perhaps you could explain that carelessness leading to repair costs would have to be his responsibility?

      As for tips, this is the first time I've done this with a child; my own two daughters had (and still have) absolutely no interest in sewing or quilting, unfortunately. I would, however, pick an easy pattern for his first attempt, giving him choices that won't make life difficult, like fabric colors and that sort of thing.

      Good luck, and have fun! :)


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