Hello, friends! I’m looking forward to beginning a new quilt along next week. (Be sure to read to the end of this post for some important details about the Sampler Spree Sew Along). But first, I thought I’d take a little time today to share How to Prepare for a Quilting Sew Along: 5 Top Tips that have helped me as I’ve participated in many, many quilt and sew along events over the past 10+ years.
Why I love a Quilting Sew Along
There are many reasons why I try to participate in a variety of different sew along events–here are just a few:
- A Sew Along (or block of the month) helps quilters to learn new skills at their own pace.
- Participation in a Sew Along can help foster a sense of community among quilters. Better yet, friendships are often developed as a result of the newfound community.
- A Sew Along allows quilters to exercise creativity when choosing fabrics.
- A Sew Along schedule (even if you don’t strictly adhere to it) help you stay on task with the project.
- I am inspired by the projects and ideas from the other participants.
With so many positive benefits, what’s not to love about a sew along?! And so with that preface, here are my best ideas for preparing for a Sew Along:
1. Get the Sew Along Details/Pattern
As soon as you are able to, purchase the pattern or book, or get basic details about the project. With mystery projects you might not be able to have all of the specific patterns or information ahead of time, but you can usually get some basic information to guide you as you prepare.
2. Gather Fabrics & Supplies
Once you collect the basic information you can begin to gather your fabric and supplies. I love to take the opportunity to use my scraps when I work on these types of projects, but here are some other great options for you to consider:
- Use a favorite bundle or fabric grouping you’ve been holding on to for awhile
- Use a holiday or seasonal collection: Christmas, 4th of July, Fall, Spring, Summer, Winter, and more
- Make a planned scrap quilt by pulling (or purchasing) a variety of fabrics for the project
You’ll also want to gather any needed supplies like thread or specialty rulers or templates you might need to use for the project.
3. Choose a Storage Container for the Project
Working on your project will be much easier if you have a definite place to keep everything you need for it in one place. As soon as you can, put your fabrics, patterns and supplies in your chosen container and choose an easy to access spot to store it. There are many options to choose from when considering a storage container for a quilt or sew along project. Here are a few of my favorite options:
- I really love keeping my most current projects in my project drawer unit. I love that air can circulate around the fabrics and that I can easily pull out the drawer to take to my workspace.
- Project Bags are another great option for storage. I tend to use these bags for projects that I work on less frequently, but they are a great option if your storage space is limited (I love to slip the handles over the top of a hanger and hang them in my sewing room closet). I have lots of details about my favorite project bags and other bags for quilters to make here.
- I love open-top baskets and bins for project storage as well. (These wire baskets with wood handles are my favorites). And I love using bin clip label holders to make sure I know what I’ve stored in each of them.
- Plastic bins and boxes are another terrific option. Be sure to label your container so it’s easy to find.
4. Keep Some Notes
I like to keep a few notes about the Sew Along and Block of the Month projects I participate in (my Quilting Life Planner is a great place for this). I record basic information such as when the project will begin, my thoughts on fabrics to use and where I’ll store everything for the project (see number 3 above). When I’ve finished the project I can also record the finishing date along with any final thoughts.
5. Plan your Sewing Schedule
Finally, you’ll want to plan when you will work on the sew along project. This might not seem like an important step, but I’ve found it to be really helpful in keeping me on track with projects. I often try to work on my sew along projects when I first get into my sewing room on the weekend. That way I have a set time and plan to sew. If I know I’m not going to be able to sew at that time I can easily work the sewing time into another part of my week. You might also want to read this post I wrote on 10 Tips for Block of the Month Projects. It also includes some helpful ideas for what to do if you get behind.
A Fun Quilting Sew Along: Sampler Spree Sew Along Details
Okay…so here are the basic details about the Sample Spree Sew Along which begins Wednesday, June 16th:
- In order to sew along, you need the book by Susan Ache to sew along and can find it here.
- The book contains 100 blocks, and the Moda Sew Along will carry on at a pretty quick pace and finish up this summer. I’m going to go a bit more slowly and make about 5 blocks a week.
- You can sew as many or as few blocks per week as you’d like. Pick a number that you feel you’ll be able to keep up with.
- The setting in the book is actually one I really like and plan to make. It uses all 100 blocks and finishes up at 83 ½″ x 83 ½″ which will make a great bed quilt. But there will be different setting options along the way in case you want to make a smaller quilt/make fewer blocks.
- There have already been several fun posts on the Moda Cutting Table Blog about this sew along. (You can find all of their previous posts here). And then they will post each Wednesday morning once the sew along begins in order to share the blocks they are sewing for the week.
I’m really looking forward to this sew along (I might have already made a few blocks). I hope you’ve enjoyed these ideas on How to Prepare for a Quilting Sew Along. Thanks so much for stopping by today…
PATTI MCCONNELL says
That was all great advice. It definitely makes sense and seems so simple when you actually see the steps written out. Thank you!
Wonderful post! Thank you for all the helpful tips and links.
Denise Driscoll says
Good tips. I would also like to know if you have any tips for those of us without a dedicated sewing room and for those of us who end up, due to the lack of a dedicated space, with constant interruptions. Thanks!
Lisa Walters says
I recieved my book today and I’m ready! So excited looking forward to info on the video tomorrow.
Debra Taylor says
Thanks for the post. How do you know how much fabric to prepare for a sew along? I fear I will run out and the quilt will end up not looking right. Thanks for the tips!
Thank you for these tips. I have started so many BOMs and quilt-alongs that my head is spinning! A serious case of FOMO!