How to Make a Quilt Using a Sewing Machine

Quilting for Beginners

See how to make a quilt step-by-step with pictures using a sewing machine. In seven easy steps beginners will make a simple squares quilt, and quilt it!

Picture showing a quilt and a list of seven steps on how to make a quilt.seven steps on how to make a quilt

You want to make a quilt but don't know where to start. This is the dilemma of all beginners. Let's take it from the top, together.

How do beginners start quilting?

Beginners can start to quilt by making a quilt with simple squares. It is probably the easiest quilt to make for a beginner.

Making a quilt with squares eases you into quilting. A square is a simple shape to work with and allows you to see how the most common shape for quilt blocks fit together to make a quilt top.

In a series of seven steps you will see what quilting supplies you need, how to cut fabric, sew blocks and rows together, back a quilt, make a quilt sandwich, quilt a quilt and bind a quilt.

What is the easiest quilt to make for a beginner?

The simple square quilt. The simple square quilt pattern will guide you in making your first quilt. You will see why it is probably the easiest quilt to make for a beginner.

First, let's talk about the quilting supplies you will need. Then, you will see each of the seven steps on how to make a quilt and get instructions on how to complete each one.

What supplies are needed for quilting?

You need supplies to quilt. In the beginning, you won't need a lot of fancy quilting supplies. Here's a list of basic supplies and equipment that you need to get started in quilting...

  • Fabric
  • Pattern
  • Sewing Machine
  • 1/4 inch foot
  • Walking Foot
  • Batting
  • Quilting Thread
  • 90/14 Sewing Machine Needle
  • Rotary Cutter
  • Rotary Mat
  • Quilting Pins (pinning and basting)
  • Table (or other flat surface)
  • Iron
  • Pressing Board
  • Scissors
  • Seam Ripper
  • Painter's Tape
  • Pencil
  • Work Space
  • Design Wall or Board*

*The design wall is optional.

However, you'll want to see how the quilt top comes together before stitching the blocks together. You need to have a large flat surface - floor, large table, bare wall - where you can arrange the blocks or pieces that make up your quilt top.

How do you make a quilt step by step?

In short, here's how to make a quilt...

  1. Make the blocks
  2. Stitch the Blocks Together
  3. Make the Backing
  4. Make the Quilt Sandwich
  5. Quilt the Quilt
  6. Make the Binding
  7. Bind the Quilt

How Do You Make a Simple Quilt?

To make a simple quilt use simple squares. Lay them out in horizontal and vertical rows and stitch them together.

This How to Make a Quilt Series walks you step-by-step to make a lap quilt made of nothing but simple squares.

The quilt measures approximately 40 inches x 56 inches.  It's a 5 x 7 (meaning that it has five columns and seven rows) in a straight setting.

A straight setting simply means that the blocks are set next to one another in straight horizontal and vertical rows. (Maybe the easiest quilt layout of all time!)

You will back the quilt with a single piece of regular quilting cotton that is approximately 44 inches wide.

A lap size quilt is a great size for a first quilt for beginners. It is small enough to be quilted on a home sewing machine using a walking, or even feed, foot.

You will make a quilt from scratch. You'll start with cutting up fabric to make blocks and go through to the end to quilt and bind the quilt.

Lots of pictures are included to make the process easy!

A Note to Absolute Beginners

If you are a complete newbie, before diving straight into the seven lessons save yourself some head scratching:

(A) Watch this video for an intro on How to Use a Rotary Cutter and Rotary Cutting Mat.

(B) Review this lesson on How to Cut Strips, which contains a short video.

How to Make a Quilt in Seven Steps

1. Make the Blocks

To make a quilt you make the quilt top first. You'll need a quilt pattern or at least a sketch of how you want your quilt to look.

For Step 1 of this How to Make a Quilt Series, you use the simple square quilt pattern to make your quilt top.

Note: A commercial quilt pattern will show you how to make the blocks used to make that quilt top. However, most commercial quilt patterns only show how to make the quilt top but not how to quilt the quilt.

2. Stitch the Blocks Together

Blocks are sewn together to make a row. Rows are sewn together to make the quilt top. Before you stitch the blocks together you'll need to arrange them.

In Step 2 of this How to Make a Quilt Series, you are arranging and sewing quilt squares together.

3. Make the Backing

You can back a quilt in any number of ways. Here are a few...

  • use regular width quilting cotton
  • piece together multiple pieces of fabric
  • use a combination of left over blocks and scrap yardage
  • use wide backing fabric which is made specifically for backing quilts.

Wide quilt backing fabric is sold in various widths but the most common is 108 inches wide.

In Step 3 of this How to Make a Quilt Series, you learn how to back a quilt with a single piece of regular quilting cotton that is 44 inches wide.

4. Make the Quilt Sandwich

A quilt is usually made up of three layers: quilt top, batting, backing. In quilting lingo, it's called a quilt sandwich. We've already discussed the quilt top and backing. Now for the batting and putting the quilt together.

In Step 4 of this How to Make a Quilt Series, you learn to make a quilt sandwich.

5. Quilt the Quilt

This is where your sewing machine comes in handy! You use it to actually quilt your quilt. What does this mean? One way to quilt a quilt is to use your sewing machine to sew, or quilt, the three layers together.

In Step 5 of this How to Make a Quilt Series, beginners learn how to quilt a quilt using a even feed, walking, foot.

6. Make the Binding

Once quilted, the edges of your quilt are raw and need to be covered. You use what quilters called binding to do that. Of course, you can purchase binding, but, you will make yours from scratch. :-)

In Step 6 of this How to Make a Quilt Series, you learn how to make binding.

7. Bind the Quilt

Now you need to finish your quilt. How do you do that? Bind it. We bind a quilt to protect the edges of it. Two common ways are to...

  • Finish a quilt by hand: attach the binding to the front of the quilt using a sewing machine and stitch it to the back of the quilt by sewing it by hand.
  • Finish a quilt with a sewing machine: attach the binding to the front and the back of the quilt using your sewing machine.

In Step 7 of this How to Make a Quilt Series, you learn option #2 - how to finish, or bind, a quilt with a sewing machine.

How To Make A Quilt

Congratulations...Once you complete Step 7, you've made your first quilt! You now know the basics of how to make a quilt. What an achievement! Give yourself a pat on the back.