Top 10 Beginner Quilting Patterns for New Quilters

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Your Complete Guide to Beginning Quilting Patterns

Are you interested in starting your quilting journey but feeling overwhelmed by the variety of patterns out there? You’ve come to the right place. As someone who began quilting a few years ago, I know the challenges of picking out a beginning project. In this article, I’ll walk through the different types of quilting patterns that are great for newcomers and share tips to help you choose and complete your first quilt. By the end, you’ll be ready to pick out a pattern and start sewing.

Choosing a Beginning Pattern

When selecting your first quilt pattern, there are a few things to keep in mind:

  1. Skill level: Start with something marked as beginner-friendly. Block patterns with large pieces are typically easier than intricate curved piecing.
  2. Time commitment: Simple patterns can be pieced quickly before moving on to more complex designs. Avoid anything too ambitious for your first project.
  3. Fabric requirements: Less fabric means lower cost. Consider inexpensive quilts you can complete with minimal stash.

With those guidelines in mind, here are some excellent beginner quilt patterns to explore:

Block Patterns

Individual quilt blocks are a great way to dip your toes into quilting. They allow you to focus on accurate piecing before tackling large quilt tops.

A perennial favorite is the Nine Patch block – just nine identical squares sewn together. Its repetitive piecing helps build basic skills. You can arrange Nine Patches into endless configurations, too.

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For something a bit more unique, try variations on the Four Patch block pattern, such as the Boston Common block with four different square combinations.

Quick Pieced Tops

These quilt tops get you quilting faster through simple piecing:

  1. Rail Fence uses strip piecing for an alternating stripe pattern. It looks complex but piecing goes quickly.
  2. String Quilts involve sewing long fabric strips in diagonal rows for a tidy finished look. You can improvise your own string quilt design.
  3. Log Cabin builds outward from a central square with alternating light/dark fabric strips. It’s easy to put together strip by strip.

Layer Cake Quilts

If you love a scrappy appeal, “layer cake” patterns make use of precut 10″ fabric squares, no more fussy cutting. Just pull squares at random. Two of my favorites are:

The Irish Chain alternates light and dark squares in diagonal rows with sashing in between. Easy piecing provides fast progress.

For the Garden Patch pattern, place squares in diagonal rows without sashing for a modern freeform design.

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Sandwiches and Tied Quilts

Looking for the speediest solution? Consider quilt patterns that bypass machine quilting. With a tie quilt, you simply quilt layers together with yarn or string instead of fancy stitching.

Quilt sandwiches involve making just the quilt top layers and securing them with spray adhesive or cotton twill tape without quilting at all. They make for sweet wall hangings.

Tips for Success

No matter which beginning quilt pattern you choose, the following tips can help ensure you successfully complete your first project:

  1. Take your time. Rushing will lead to mistakes. Sew slowly and accurately.
  2. Press as you go. This keeps seams crisp for precise piecing. Have pressing tools nearby.
  3. Use a seam guide. This makes sewing consistent 1/4″ seams much easier, especially for beginners.
  4. Ask for advice. Local quilt shops or online forums have loads of friendly quilters happy to help troubleshoot problems.

With the right pattern selection and preparation, your first quilt top is totally within reach. From my experience, that first completed project is so satisfying it usually hooks you for life on this creative craft. Now get out there and start sewing – happy quilting!

Top Beginner Quilting Patterns

Pattern Name Skill Level Block Count Description
Nine Patch Beginner 9 Simple grid pattern great for learning sewing skills
Checkerboard Beginner 16 Alternating light and dark blocks make this layout easy to follow
Log Cabin Intermediate Variable Build on piecing skills with this expanding border pattern
Dresden Plate Intermediate 8 Radiating points introduce curvature for more advanced piecing
Flying Geese Intermediate Variable Learn triangle paper piecing with this versatile habitat block


  1. What are some basic beginning quilting patterns?

    Basically, there are numerous simple quilting designs that are great for starters. Some examples include patchwork squares, patchwork triangles, or strip piecing layouts. These tend to be easy to put together since they involve straight seams.

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  2. Is it difficult to learn how to quilt as a beginner?

    While quilting does take practice, it’s not as hard as some people think – especially if you start with straightforward patterns. The skills are kinda like putting together a puzzle. Maybe check online videos or books from the library for guidance too. With a small investment of time, you can quilt something you’ll be proud of.

  3. What tools and supplies do I need to get started?

    The basic necessities are a sewing machine, rotary cutter, rulers, and mat for cutting fabric accurately. Also, picking up quilting threads, pins, and fabric glue will prove useful. You don’t have to go all out and purchase every gadget – just the fundamental gear is all you really need at the beginning.

  4. How big should my first quilt be?

    Most experts suggest making your initial quilt on the smaller side like a lap quilt size or baby quilt size. This is because small quilts go together more quickly than larger sizes. Nevertheless, accomplishing even a tiny quilt is an achievement as a starter. Once you gain some experience, you can take on bigger projects if you want. But baby steps are key.

  5. Should I hand quilt or use a sewing machine?

    Both methods have pros and cons. Hand quilting allows for relaxing creativity whereas machine quilting is faster. On the other hand, handwork requires a lot of patience. A better plan could be to try both to see what you prefer. Perhaps use your sewing machine to assemble the quilt top and then knot quilting by hand for fun details. It’s up to you basically!

  6. How long will it take me to complete my first quilt?

    It can honestly be very hard to say. A lot depends on factors like your weekly free time, the complexity of the chosen pattern, and how fast you catch on to quilting basics. But as a very general estimation, a simple quilt top may take anywhere from 15 to 50 hours to put together – or maybe more if you’re sort of a perfectionist. Just go with the flow and enjoy the process rather than worrying about the timeline.

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  7. What if I make a mistake – will my quilt be ruined?

    Believe it or not, quilting mistakes are kind of inevitable when you’re a rookie. But don’t sweat it! More often than not, those “errors” can be fixed with some creative adjustments. You may have to unravel a seam and redo it or hide the boo boo with clever quilting. Ask other quilters for advice too if a problem really stumps you. Chances are, your quilt isn’t doomed after all. Keep your head up!

  8. Will taking a class help me learn to quilt better?

    Classes are often amazingly useful for quilters of any skill level. An instructor can offer guidance, answer questions, and help you avoid frustrations down the road. You’ll also benefit from watching techniques demonstrated “live.” At the same time, online tutorials or books can work well too if an in-person class isn’t an option. But workshops are likely to substantially boost your skills and confidence overall.