It all started 46 years ago. I was given some sample fabric squares from the department store where I worked, and decided to make my very first quilt. After all, they were already cut into squares and I had a sewing machine. It would be simple, I thought! I was 18, and I didn’t know anyone that quilted. The internet didn’t exist yet, there were no classes, or quilt shops, so I decided to figure it out myself.
I started sewing the squares together in long strips using a 5/8” seam allowance. I pressed the seams open because that is what we learned in Home Economics for sewing clothes. My stitch length was too long so years later things started coming apart.
It wasn’t long before I discovered I didn’t have nearly enough fabric. I started gathering up old clothes, old curtains, any kind of fabric I could find just to finish my quilt. I found my Mr. Peanut bell bottoms pants (yes, I really wore them), my mom’s orange and brown curtains from the 60’s, clothes I made in high school, and lots of other fabrics that are now fun memories.
I didn’t have quilting rulers so after a lot of trial and error I cut a piece of sand paper into a square. I traced around the sandpaper onto the fabric with a pen and cut the squares with scissors. After I had all of my long strips sewn I started sewing them together. Hmm, were the seams supposed to match? I didn’t think about it and didn’t pin anything. Once in a while, when a seam did match, I thought, “Hey I’m pretty good at this quilting stuff!”
I used a bed sheet for the backing, sewed around the edges, turned it right-side out and tied the quilt with some yarn from the dime store. I was so proud of myself, and since I was officially an expert, I made another one for my sister! It wasn’t until I started working at Connecting Threads 20 years ago that I picked up quilting again, and I have come a long way since that first quilt all those years ago! Here’s a more recent project I made for my granddaughter. The pattern is the Fancy Forest Quilt Pattern by Elizabeth Hartman.
What about you? What was your first quilt? Tell us about it in the comments!