The Early Days… My First Quilt!

Today I have to blame Kristy Daum from St. Louis Folk Victorian for inspiring me to write this. She wrote a post awhile back showing her first quilt from back in 1994. Well, here’s mine in all it’s flannel and polyester glory:

My First Quilt

My First Quilt – It was love at first stitch!

I also started quilting in ’94 and finished my first full-size quilt in ’95 at the ripe young age of 22 (feel free to do the math now). I was so glad to be sewing that I didn’t even care how the end result turned out – it was just a thrill to create. I remember making each 9 patch block, one at a time and I felt so proud of myself each time a new one came off the machine.

deer blockTrends cycle every 20 years right? Deer fabrics have been hot again this year, LOL!!

I used a bunch of flannels I got for cheap at the discount store and knew nothing about seam allowances. I wanted 4″ squares so I cut a bunch of 4″ squares, not realizing they’d shrink up after sewing, LOL!

tied blocks

I was able to “hide” the seam intersections by tying at the corners. I don’t know what possessed me to think that sports fabric & flowers went together??

I hadn’t tried machine quilting yet so I just tied it together with yarn using a flannel sheet for the backing. From the get-go I was determined to finish my quilts myself! I had no clue how to bind so I just folded over the back to the front and sewed it down with WHITE thread and felt a grand sense of accomplishment.

quilt labelI put the label on the back at the TOP of the quilt, even! My title was very original, too – “Jason’s Quilt.” It’s worn and faded over time, but every stitch was made with love.

I gave this first (ghastly) quilt to my husband, and he’s been a great supporter of my hobby ever since. We still use the quilt to this day and it’s held up pretty well. 🙂

When did you make your first quilt? I’d love to hear all about it!

Quilt Stats:

  • Size: 62″ x 82″
  • Block Design: 10 1/2″ nine-patches set 6 x 8
  • Materials: cotton flannel, polyester flannel, polyester batting, flannel sheet for the back
  • Finishing touches: tied with yarn, machine binding

32 thoughts on “The Early Days… My First Quilt!

  1. Krista says:

    My first quilt was 1988 for my youth pastor’s first baby. I was 19. I designed it, cut out templates from a cereal box, used a BIC pen to trace it on poly blend fabric, cut it out with scissors, and pieced it with some kind of 5/8″ seams and tied it using fluffy poly batting to a flannel back that I wrapped around to the front as a self binding. For not knowing what I was doing it came out pretty good. Recently I talked to the recipient’s mom who told me that he still keeps the quilt as it was his “softie”. It’s all about the love.

  2. Sandra Davidson says:

    I had to laugh when I saw this because my very first quilt was for my son and it was all plaid flannels and back in 95 it was hard to find really good flannels in Canada. My son loves it but it is literally falling apart and I can’t fix it any more . He is in his 40’s and doesn’t want to part with it even though I made him a new one. No quilt is ugly because so much love goes into making them.

  3. Aoife says:

    I made my first quilt 2 and a half years ago for my first niece, who was born in Australia and going to be too far away for in person cuddles for a long time. I had no sewing machine so I bought a super cheap one on sale on Amazon. We had no local fabric shops and no car, so I bought a mixed bag of 5″ squares from end of bolts from an online shop and used them, and an ikea sheet for backing. I found an online tutorial to help me figure out how to make a quilt sandwich and how to add binding. I used the most godawful high loft 100% polyester batting, which I melted in one spot with an iron when I decided to add an iron-on applique on the back…

    However, it’s well loved, and gets dragged out regularly for doll’s picnics. And it hooked me on quilting. I’m making my 13th or so quilt at the moment, another baby quilt, this time for my best friend. Loved seeing your first quilt, I wonder what sort of quilts I’ll be making in 18 years!

  4. Sandra says:

    Aww, I love that quilt. Something in the air today, because on Sunday, I found my very first quilt I made at age 10/11! I wrote briefly about it this afternoon, before I read your blog post. My first “real” bed-sized quilt I made in 1995, for my eldest daughter, after I won the blocks in a block of the month draw at a small dress fabric store that was just getting into quilting fabric. Said daughter made me go in the draw! Great idea for a post!

  5. Pamela says:

    I guess my first quilt would be a charm square quilt I made with 5-inch squares from every kind of scrap fabric leftover from garment sewing that I had. I made the quilt in 1980 as a quilt for my soon-to-be husband. It was mostly cottons or cotton blends, no polyester double knits that I recall. Somehow, I knew not to do that. It did have denim and corduroy. I had learned about quilting from a classmate’s mother, as she helped us stitch together a baby quilt for our French teacher.

  6. Kathy Halvorson Potts says:

    My first quilt was made in 1965 while awaiting the birth of my first child. I made a flower garden pattern………cut a hexagon out of cardboard, patiently cut out pieces of a dainty pastel blue/pink floral fabric, and white fabric, and hand-sewed the top, leaving the edges as is on the top and bottom. Not knowing about batting, I used layers and layers of the gauze diaper fabric I had a bolt of, then turned the top upside down on it and the backing, and sewed the whole thing together, leaving room for turning. After turning right side out, I slip-stitched the opening closed. Then, not knowing about quilting, I started in one corner and zig-zagged, following the seam lines to the bottom, which slightly skewed the whole thing, not knowing about basting. At any rate, I was pleased with my effort. Several years ago, my daughter gave it back to me to fix, as the backing had pretty much disappeared. Picking out all those zig-zag rows of ‘quilting’ was quite the chore. The gauze was still in good shape so I saved a lot of it for rags. A couple of the floral fabric pieces had small holes in them, so I trimmed off the edges to make the quilt square, and used some of those little floral pieces to replace the holey ones. Then I put in a cotton batting and new backing, and requilted it over the existing stitchings, only basting this time so it would lay flat. After 40+ years, there was no way to ‘erase’ the previous needle holes. Then I put on a proper binding. I returned it to her a couple of years ago and she was thrilled to have it back again! If only I had known at 18 what I know about quilting now!

  7. stitchinstein says:

    My first quilt is still in a box!!! Eek, so I guess it is not really a quilt. I started a double wedding ring in the summer of 1988, I was rather ambitious so i’ve kept it in the hopes that my skill level would eventually be able to handle it. I think I now have the skill to finish it. The first quilt to be completely finished was Carolina Christmas in 2010. I have another one I made in a class from 1999 that is half way hand quilted but is so painful to quilt it just sits! So glad I finally found a system that works for me! I’ve completed, yes, COMPLETED, 5 quilts and I have another4 tops ready to quilt!

  8. Angela says:

    It’s a great quilt! No quilt police telling you sports and flowers don’t mix! I made my first quilt a little over two years ago. It was appliqué …what was I thinking? It turned out pretty cute, but I have learned soooooo much since then! I have made several quilts since then and get better (and learn something) with each one! I have yet to do another appliqué, but I’m sure I will one day!
    Take care,

  9. Jolly and Delilah says:

    I love this! It’s not only a wonderful first quilt, but it says so much about how your style and preferences have evolved. I actually still haven’t finished my first quilt – so therefore, does it count as my first quilt anymore, or not? I made it in early 2013, spent ages finding a quilter, and didn’t get it back home until March. Actually, all the sewing is done; it’s just in need of a bit of a touch up due to a slight accident involving my husband, and a bottle of carpet cleaner, which had an unexpected result on the colors. It’s a really simple four piece block from Dare to be Square by Boo Davis. White with solids (some sort of purple Kona FQB – and yes, I’m still too scared to cut prints up!) and a weird size, because once I had the block design down, I decided I was going to use all of my FQs, then had to count the number I ended up with, and find different ways of dividing them to make a rectangle so that they’d all fit. It was such a fun experience, even if it’s all been a series of mini-disasters.

  10. Megan says:

    It’s so interesting to see where someone first started and what helped or got them hooked! This is great and I am so glad it is used regularly!!!

  11. Cheri says:

    A perfect way to use scraps too! I am working hard to get into that mode of quilting..using scraps. I am not a scrappy person…I am to detailed, structured and organized so I view “scrappy” quilts as cluttered and messy, but I am trying to look at them in a different light this year to make myself see the wonder in them. It is beginning to work! I can see using “team” colors or a favorite color in this one and scraps making up the rest. I might even try using flannel! Thanks for the inspiration!

  12. knitnkwilt says:

    How fun, your post and the memories that follow it! If you count quilts with help, I started in the seventies when pregnant. Bought a kit of blocks to be embroidered. My husband and I each embroidered half of them. I don’t remember if I set them alternately with plain blocks then or later, but they sat because I didn’t know how to quilt. I moved to a small town and a friend, who wanted to learn to hand quilt, invited women from the senior center and her friends to her home. Mine was one that we learned on. As I recall, it took me an hour to hide my first knot, and another to take my first stitch.

  13. springleafstudios says:

    My first quilt was probably around the same time you made yours. Just a small little wall hanging that has long since faded although I still like it. Nice to know we’ve all come a long way since then although when I started I didn’t realize how addicting it would become. I certainly have the stash as proof of my addiction now. : )

  14. Kristy Daum says:

    This is great! I love how none of us really knew what we were doing back then and yet did similar things like “making a binding” by wrapping the front to the back or the back to the front. And tying…that’s my favorite thing that we all did. Thanks for sharing!

  15. golfheader says:

    My first quilt is a hexie (red, white & blue) polyester that I made in middle school all stitched by hand. It is a Grandmother’s flower garden pattern. I never quilted it, it is just a top and I am so glad I saved it! This was in the 70’s and I am now 61 and 1/2 years old! – Bell Moore


  16. Laurie says:

    My first quilt was in 1976 – I was in fith grade and to commemorate the bicentenial we were to do something the way they would have itwo hundred years ago. My grandmother made a pattern and with a little wooden template, made by my father, we cut lot of tiny diamonds from scraps and hand sewed them together . I remember doing my “homework each night for grandma to inspect. The lap sized quilt was donated to a nursing home and I don’t even have pic

  17. Lori Smanski says:

    My first quilt was for our son, 10 yrs ago. It was my first and only quilt until a year and a half ago. It was twin size. Made with civil war fabrics using a civil war pattern. Cotton, a huge mix of patterned fabrics and colors. As would have been done then. It was all machine sewn and I just used straight lines on top putting it all together. It was for Christmas for his Civil War Re-enacting. He still uses it when he goes out re-enacting.

  18. Pat Sell says:

    I had to laugh at your first quilt because I backed one ofmy first attempts with that very same fabric!! Had just about as much luck too!
    My first one was a Grandmother’s flower garden made out of cheap cotton – the hexagons were about 5 inches diameter (it was HUGE) was totally cut and sewn by hand – I too didn’t understand binding and just folded the back over the front. Whew! I’m surprised I EVER made another one!! You never know where life is going to take you! 🙂

  19. Sue says:

    Hi Christa

    I made my first quilt for my daughter back in 1976 – I didn’t realise that I was making a quilt. She wanted a red and white top for her bed and I used red with white dots and the reverse in white.. I cut 5″ squares with scissors and a ruler and sewed each one together individually and backed it with a white sheet – no batting. Wish we still had it. I didn’t start quilting as I know it until 2001.
    Sue from Perth Western Australia

  20. zenthea says:

    My first quilts were baby quilts. I still have the patterns- a jack in the box and a rocking horse. My first “real” quilt was in the summer of 79 and my grandmother paid to have it machine quilted. I still have this one and it is ragged but it gets used at picnics and the beach still.

  21. alabamamodern says:

    After moving to a small town in the middle of nowhere with a 2 year old and a 6 month old, I needed to do something to meet people. I knew no one who quilted, but did see a shop that had a quilt class. It was a quilt by Eleanor Burns and you had to buy the book and pick out fabric. I was totally lost. The fabric was mostly neutrals. Boring! The design was a log cabin. The technique was mundane. But it did inspire me to buy lots of books, watch whatever quilt shows I could find and learn what I needed to and start creating.

    My children (now with three) grew up using and abusing that quilt and I finally threw it out. It had served its purpose. I am so thankful for the quilters who kept this art form alive. I feel the same way about today’s modern quilters and the amazing work that I see coming from such a wonderful community!

  22. Evie H says:

    I made my first quilt for a great nephew when he was about three years old. He just turned 18! I had good teachers, both on TV — Eleanor Burns and Shar Jorgensen. I was not afraid! That first quilt, which I designed myself, was made of Bear Paw blocks with double borders made of half-square triangles and quilted on my DSM. I still have all the graph paper drawings! And my nephew still uses the quilt, although it’s only 48″ x 63″. Here I am, almost 20 years later and loving this craft.

  23. Lynn says:

    My first quilt was for my Grand Daughter. I had a cross stitch of a bookworm that I put in the center, because she was a book worm. And then did 4 patches with black sashing and lime green corner stones, a lime green border and a black border. It came out almost queen size and I thread basted which took me two days to do. Then since I didn’t know how to machine quilt – I quilted it by hand. It took me forever, because I think I would get tired of it and do other stuff in between. 🙂

  24. quiltingjetgirl says:

    Thanks for sharing your first quilt! I tied a good number of quilts in the beginning before getting brave enough to stitch-in-the-ditch. So many good memories and lessons learned!

  25. jenetamasson says:

    I LOVE this post (do I say that every time?). It made me smile as I thought about my first quilt. I folded over the back to the front for binding, used ‘interesting’ fabric combinations and didn’t colour match my thread. And I still have it and love it (I just would never make another quilt remotely like it!). And we are the same age (I couldn’t help but do the maths as soon as you said it!). I made my first quilt as a child, but I don’t count that one as I had help (it was a Strawberry Shortcake bed quilt that was always slightly too small for my bed!). I made my first quilt in the late 1990’s.

  26. farmquilter says:

    My first quilt was made in 2008 for my granddaughter – a Turning Twenty Again – in blues and yellows (my daughter didn’t want pinks!) – and I had the quilter quilt a family tree in the large squares in the blocks, going back to my granddaughter’s great-great-grandparents and their birth years. I obviously fell in love and purchased my own longarm 9 months later!

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