On we go!
First, a charm pack was selected. This will give 40 or 42 5x5 inch squares. I chose Brushed Cotton Storybook by Moda because I liked the feel of it. This limited me to only 2 coordinating bolts of fabric to put a back on and a binding.
If you are going to follow along- you need- a charm pack of your choosing (or cut 42 of the 5x5 squares out of yardage, fat quarters, cotton clothing, etc.) ; a metre for the back: 7&1/2 inches of width of fabric for the binding.
Now you mess those lovely squares up and arrange to a look that is pleasing to your eye. It's fine if 2 colours or patterns match but try to keep it random looking. Note: if you have an up and down direction to the square- try to keep them all up the same way- I didn't- but you have to look to find the 'upside down' square!
Once you've shifted them around- close your eyes or walk away and back to give yourself fresh eyes on your layout. Do you like where and what you are looking at first? Where do my eyes move next? Just some of the questions you need to think about. Like it? Best hint I can give you ... take a digital picture! This is so if you need to move it- you can re-create that 'pleasing' layout again. If you ask a friend about the layout- that's fine- safety in numbers but really- this is your project and you can do it!
If you look, this layout is not my finished setting of squares. I also started with 40 squares 8 down and 5 wide. Part way through, the ah, ha! moment...42 squares would be 7 long and 6 wide.
So now, you are enjoying the layout of your squares, let's turn those 42 squares into a quilt top!
Pick one square up and place it right sides together with another. Put a pin the the side to sew. You really don't need to pin to sew- but I usually end up sewing the seam on the wrong side and the piece doesn't fit back into the layout the way it came out. Sometimes, it's for the better but usually, I spend time with the seam ripper later.
Here's the most important tip on sewing. Hold steady at a 1/4inch seam if you can. Do not expect precision in perfectly aligned rows & squares if you sew a different seam width each time. If you have problems with a 1/4 inch seam- try a bigger 1/2 inch seam- the end result maybe smaller- but you may enjoy the process more. Keep aiming for the 1/4 inch seam but if this is your 1st quilt- it's not the seam size that matters- it's the consistency of having all the same seam size!
To join blocks into their rows, I find I got lazy and didn't check my seam size...it was crooked! To fix this, I sew the 2 blocks together each time and then I add the next 2 blocks sections on until the end of the row.
Press all the seams one way. The next row you sew will be pressed the opposite way so the seams will 'nest' together giving a nicer finish. Quilting is slower than you think.. That's another lesson I learned. It is not a speedy craft. The pedal on the sewing machine makes you think speed but it's really there for you to control the sewing. Speed makes wonky seams...slow down a bit and see if that helps you control the fabric and the seam lines if you are having problems.
Having got all the rows sewn, it will be time to attach them together! Remember the pressing... They will fit together nicely. Pin the right sides together pinning the seams on either side. Put the pins on the side you will be sewing to make the removal of pins easier. The other thing to try is to put the seam on the top that is pressed away from you. As you sew, you can ease the machine over the seam and keep it flat. The one on the bottom (if pressed opposite) will be underneath and the feed dogs will make those lay flat.
An now when the top is pressed up...
A quilt top!
Give yourself a pat on the back...you are a step closer to quilting. You have pieced a top!