Image description

Oh, joy! Your first patchwork quilt. And hand sewen as well. This is always a fun project, and it is one that makes for an exciting one as well. But the difference between hand sewing and sewing with a machine is patience. And this is why most people will give up. But, and I know that this sounds like I am making it up, you can sew just about anything by hand. You don't need a machine.

I first learned to sew on a machine. I was excited and got busy and made a buch of projects. But when it came to finishing them off, you know what I mean – this usually calls for a little hand sewing, I was lost. I always asked my mother for help.

It wasn't until I decided to do a patchwork quilt by hand that I actually made some progress. A lot of progress, one quarter inch at a time.

And it was a real quilt. I decided to make it with the English Paper Piecing method. It had a cute charm that appealed to me then, and still does to this day. Some people get turned off of the EPP method because they think it has to be hexagonal, but the truth is that it does not have to be, though most of the patterns are. You can make it work with squares just the same.

Image description

But here is the thing, EPP works with whatever shape you want, and in whatever size you want! While you will see it being used for complicated shapes and smaller pieces the reason is because it makes them easier to handle. But the same is true for pieces that are not that complicated, it also makes them trvial to work with. So don't get overwhelmed it's definitely not just for complicated things!

And I sew almost all of my quilts by hand now.

When I started I took a fine tipped marker and drew 1/4" length, or whatever distance I wanted to use, on my thumb. Then as I worked I would hold it up against the edge of my work every little bit to make sure that I was staying in regular. But once you do it long enough our eyes becomes pretty good at doing this on their own. My grandmom, bless her heart – she brought the sewing into our family, made all her quilts by hand! I didn't see her mark them once either, when I asked she showed me the trick with the thumb marks, but by that time she didn't need them any more. She and my mother also showed me the importance of cutting and getting good seams. If your cutting wrong that will be seen in the final piece, of course you can work around this if you are using large squares but try that with hexagons.

People often ask me if I have any recomendations when it comes to learning how to sew by hand. And I usually just send them a link to since she has covered everything from the basics to the most complicated techniques in full. But honestly, it is so much easier to find good material now on the subject than when I was learning. Don't get me wrong I was blessed to have a mother and grandmother that were skilled through many years of practice, had I not had that I would have been much slower in advancing my skills.

But no matter what, it will always take time and practice.