Posted on 4 Comments

I’m just saying….

Hand sewing resizedIn 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.

Grandmother's Flower Garden
Grandmother’s Flower Garden

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.

Garden Sunflower done in.....
Garden Sunflower

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.

Suzie's Box
Suzi’s Box

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.

4 thoughts on “I’m just saying….

  1. Totally agree we sewed cloths, churned butter ect we were self sufficient. Pitty these skills are lost now

  2. Hear, hear! I never in a million years thought I’d ever enjoy hand sewing, but sitting on the couch with needle, thread, and patches of fabric has truly become my happy place, and it’s all thanks to you, Jinny. Huzzah!

  3. Jinny, I made two quilts on my sewing machine before I looked into hand quilting. I bought Quiltmaking by Hand 10 years ago and have since really enjoyed piecing by hand. I love that it is portable and I can get excellent points, even in set-in pieces, every time. The last quilt top I made had both hand and machine piecing, and that worked really well for me. I also recently tried hand quilting, and find that I enjoy that as well. I think all my quilts from now on will be a mix of hand/machine piecing and quilting.

  4. My first exposure to sewing was when my grandmother gave me her mending basket and her Singer sewing machine. She wasn’t going to use them anymore and thought I might have fun with them. All the basket had were a few wooden spools, some hand sewing needles and a darning egg. I asked my grandmother what the darning egg was for. She said she used it to mend socks but that she didn’t need to anymore.
    I had to find something to sew. Woolworth’s (five and dime) had pillowcases with stamped patterns. I used my grandmother’s thread to sew the pattern, but it didn’t turn out very well. I slowly figured out about embroidery floss. Then, in the 7th grade, I had a few sewing lessons at school – loved it.
    Anyway, embroidery became my thing. But, I found I could only embroider so many things. So, three years ago I decided to try hand quilting. I read Jinny’s book (s), and was lucky enough to live close enough to take some of her classes. It’s been just wonderful. I could go on and on. So happy. Thank you, Jinny.

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