In 1974 when I taught my first quilting class, everyone in my class knew how to sew. They grew up sewing, knew how to thread a needle, take a stitch, etc. I grew up sewing my own clothes and making doll clothes…..often making my own patterns, so transferring that to quilting was not difficult.
Schools no longer teach sewing to all students, mothers work and few sew. Most beginning quilting students I have in my classes are not just new to quilting but are also new to sewing. When someone wants to take up quilting, they think the first thing they need to do is purchase a sewing machine.
When I became interested in quilting in the early 70’s, templates were made for all patchwork patterns and almost all piecing was done by hand. Today many people pass up on patterns that require templates or ones that cannot be done by machine. They only want patterns where the pieces can be cut with a rotary cutter. This eliminates a whole wealth of patterns and in my opinion eliminates a lot of the intricacies that were found in many of the quilts from the 1970’s and 80’s.
Why not take a step back, look at some of those more intricate looking patterns and try one. If you want to take a try at a pattern that uses templates, sign up for my 2015 Block of the Month free class from Craftsy. The early lessons have a lot of information on making templates and hand sewing which can be used in any pattern you may choose. Or, try the Quilter’s Design Board on my website. There, you can choose from hundreds of blocks, see how it looks in a quilt and print templates.
I’ve been thrilled with the number of you who have discovered the joys of hand piecing and told me how much you (sometimes surprisingly) enjoy it. If you haven’t already, why don’t you give it a try.