Backing - You do not have to
use a solid piece of fabric for your quilt back. The backing can also be
pieced. Use large squares and rectangles to make it fast and easy.
Block Size - The larger the
block, the faster the piecing process. You will also have fewer scraps and
Always save leftover pieces of batting. You can use the
bigger pieces for wall hangings and small projects, and the scraps for stuffing
pillows. You can also tie a piece around the end of a stick and use it to
pick up threads from the floor so they don't clog your vacuum cleaner.
Also, use them to make Swiffer replacement pads. They are great for collecting
dust. The polyester cotton blend of batting works well for wet jobs
Blankets - Wash old blankets
and use them as the filler in quilts that you are planning or tying or doing
some simple machine quilting.
Buttons- Buttons are expensive.
When you go to a thrift store, take a quick look at garments with good
buttons. Sometimes an item marked for $2.00 will have $10.00 (or more)
worth of buttons on it. If you use buttons for sewing clothing, or embellishing
quilt projects, this is a good way to build up a stash. You can buy
a button organizer, or just use egg cartons, safety pins, or twist ties.
Design Boards - There are many ways to
make design boards. Any hard surface covered with a little batting and felt or
flannel works. If you don't have room for a board, make a portable design board
by using the flannel back of vinyl tablecloth. Or use a flannel bed sheet. This
is also a great recycling idea for flannel sheets that have pilled.
Ebay - Cut leftover pieces of
fabric into squares and sell them on ebay, or sell by the pound.
Estate Sales - Find the
estate sale of a quilter, and you will find incredible buys on fabric.
Marking - The most
inexpensive, and accurate way, to mark some lines is with your iron. When
you fold you square in half, whether it is on grain or diagonal, and then press
it, you get a perfect line without distorting the fabric.
Needle Disposal- You can use
old needles to hang pictures. If you want to throw them away, be careful,
as they are sharp. My favorite way to dispose of them is to place them in
the plastic containers that come with SoftPics for your teeth.
Needle Threading - Always cut your thread
at an angle before threading a needle. The thread will also go through the hole
in the needle easier if you wet the needle.
Pin Cushions- Pin cushions are
easily made with pieces of leftover batting. However, another option is to use a
candle stump, the bigger the better. The wax keeps the pins from rusting
and it helps them easily slide through fabric.
Quilting - For easy quilting, use a fabric
with a large scale design for the backing. Quilt from the back using the design
as your guide. See
Scrappy Quilts and Their Backing at
Quilting to see the picture of a linear and floral design fabric that would
make a great quilt backing.
Recycle - Whether it is
the fabric for the top of a a quilt project, the back, or the batting, look for
items that can be recycled. Blankets make good batting, clothing is
fabric. Sew two shoulder pads together, cover them with fabric, and you
have a potholder.
Selvage Strips - When you tear the
selvage off your fabric, keep it and recycle it. It is very strong, and
can be used like a lightweight rope.
Sewing Rooms - You can keep your sewing
room much cleaner if you keep an empty tissue box near your sewing area and
cutting board. Use it to easily throw away bits of fabric and thread as you
Thread - You don't need to
collect a lot of different colors of thread for piecing. You will need
white, and a putty, beige color for the rest of your fabrics. If you
machine stitch the top, you can pick out multicolor thread or a special color to
match your quilt top.
Be mindful of the weight of the thread you use
with your sewing machine. A medium weight thread if best (50 weight). If you use
a thicker thread, the extra bulk of the thread will reduce the accuracy of your