Best ways to cut, sew, press: this quilter knows. Do you?

Review of Quiltmaking Essentials 1Lots of quilters have posted reviews of Martingale books on our website. But once in a while a review comes along that is so in-depth, we couldn’t have described the book better ourselves!

That’s the case with a review that was recently posted for Donna Lynn Thomas’s book, Quiltmaking Essentials 1. The reviewer, Rebecca Rumpf, is a quilter just like most of us, with a love for the craft and a desire to learn more. After reading Donna’s book of techniques for cutting and piecing, Rebecca tested them on some Bear’s Paw blocks she’d been making. Here’s part of what she had to say about her experience.

Quiltmaking Essentials 1Quiltmaking Essentials 1 explains everything you need to know to get started with any quilt pattern, whether it’s a stand-alone pattern, a magazine pattern, a project from another quilt book, or an idea you came up with on your own. It’s a book that will help establish good habits from the very beginning.

There are a lot of how-to quilting books on the market, and I’ve read most of them. So, what makes this one a must-have?
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Sewing tip from Quiltmaking Essentials 1So many books geared toward beginners downplay the need for accuracy in cutting and piecing. How many times have you heard quilters comforting one another by saying “there are no quilt police”? Yet, as Thomas points out, tiny inaccuracies have a way of compounding into a great deal of frustration. Quiltmaking Essentials 1 will help beginners establish good skills with their very first quilt, and will help veteran quilters correct bad habits that may be holding them back.
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Pressing tip from Quiltmaking Essentials 1The section on pressing is worth its weight in gold. I’ve read many quilt books that have warned me to “press, not iron” and that I should “be careful not to distort the bias,” but I had no idea what that actually meant. I thought “press” and “iron” were synonyms!

Thomas explains how to press seams properly with handy little diagrams. It is NOT the way I’d been doing it. When I pointed my iron like the iron in the book illustration, lo and behold, my half-square-triangle unit looked much more like a square after I pressed it open.

Create a pressing plan for quilt blocksThomas also explains the hows and whys of creating a pressing plan for your blocks. This chapter alone could have saved me frustration and tears if I’d read it 10 years ago. I’m planning to go back to some Bear’s Paw blocks that I made and press some of the seam allowances in the opposite direction to eliminate the bumps and bulges I created. I don’t think I’ve ever seen another beginning quilt book that teaches you how to create a pressing plan for your quilt.

Thank you, Donna, for giving me this opportunity to improve my own piecing and pressing skills. Your book is definitely a keeper, and one I’ll be reaching for again and again.

–Rebecca Deming Rumpf, blogger at Cheeky Cognoscenti

Thanks for allowing us to share your review, Rebecca! 

Head over to Rebecca’s blog to read her full review and take a look at the quilt she’s been working on using Donna’s techniques.

Quiltmaking Essentials IWould you like to learn the precise, efficient techniques Donna shares in Quiltmaking Essentials 1? You’ll rely on her advice for as long as you quilt:

  • rotary cutting
  • pressing
  • block construction
  • machine piecing
  • special sewing techniques

Print book: $18.99 eBook: $13.99

> Already own Quiltmaking Essentials 1? Write your review at!

What trips you up most when it comes to quilting accuracy: the cutting, the sewing, or the pressing? Tell us in the comments!

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