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How to Hand Quilt (Yes, It’s Possible Without a Sewing Machine! 2023)

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how to hand quilt

If you want to know how to make a quilt by hand, you’ve come to the right place. This old technique is still popular and rewarding – and not even that difficult!

Quilting is at least a few thousand years old. The oldest evidence we have is an ivory figure of an Egyptian pharaoh wearing some kind of quilted cloak. It has around 3,400 BC! While we are not sure when these techniques appeared, we know they are old. So if you thought you needed a quilting or sewing machine to make a quilt, you were no longer wrong.

Hand quilting has something magical about it. While it is slower and not as accurate as machine quilting, most experienced quilters use both methods. And if you ask them about their favorite quilts, it’s usually a hand-quilted piece. Passion for hand quilting is almost inexplicable, but I’ll try.

Why You Should Learn Hand Quilting

For hundreds or thousands of years, hand quilting was the only way to make quilts. While they have used sewing machines for some quilting tasks since its invention, the turning point was the late 20th century. Sewing and specialty quilting machines took over and became very popular. Hand quilting is still going strong and many quilters still use this technique.

There is no doubt that machine quilting has many advantages. It’s a faster and easier way to make a quilt. Especially when you are dealing with heavy fabric. In addition, machine-made quilts are usually more durable and often machine washable. So you may wonder whether hand quilting becomes redundant. Not really. And here are 4 reasons.

  1. It’s more artistic. Hand quilting is a very personal and in a way more artistic quilting method. You do everything with your hands (okay; you use thread and needle). When you complete the project, it will be a unique work of art created by you.
  2. Hand quilting has therapeutic effects. This applies to many manual works. It helps you to relax and reduce stress while doing something beautiful and useful.
  3. It is affordable. No need to buy a machine and many accessories. It all comes down to fabric, threads and needles.
  4. It is portable. You can make your quilts anywhere. You can work in any room in your home or take it with you when traveling.

What You Need to Start Hand Quilting

You Only Need A Few Items To Start Your Hand Quilting start. These are needles, thread and fabric.

  • Needles. There are different needles you can use depending on the type of project and materials you use. As a general rule of thumb, should start with slightly larger needles (size 9 or 10) then gradually switch to smaller ones as your technique improves.
  • Wire. 100% cotton thread is the most common choice for quilting projects. If you plan to use and wash your quilt a lot, a polyester thread may be a better choice.
  • Substance. As for fabric, it’s entirely up to you. Natural fiber fabrics work best. Knits have a lot of stretch, so it is more difficult to work with. Loosely woven fabrics can lose their shape when cut. But you can try.

You also have a pair scissors, ruler, pinsand clips to measure and cut your fabric. It’s not a must, but there are several tools that can be helpful when quilting. These tools include a thimble, quilting ring, rotary knife (it is an alternative to scissors), cutting mat, seam ripperand iron.

how to hand quilt

Hand Quilting – 5 Essential Tips

There are dozens of techniques and styles for hand quilting. But basically it boils down to sews continuous stitches through three layers of your quilt. So here are the basic guidelines.

  1. Cut the thread so that it is approximately 18 ” long 18 ” long ” 0]. Tie a knot at the end. Insert the needle through the top, but not through the batting and the back. Do it a few inches from where you want to start. Give the button a little tug to get it through the quilt. Now your button hides in the quilt.
  2. For classic hand quilting, it is easier to use a thimble. Your dominant hand should be above the quilt and the other below it. Pierce all three layers of your quilt until you feel the point of the needle on your finger underneath the quilt. Instead of pushing the needle through, shake it back to the top of the quilt. Use your finger underneath to push the needle back up. Push the needle through and that’s your first stitch.
  3. Normally you should make a few stitches at a time. So if you push the needle back up to the top of the quilt, don’t push it all the way through. Just pull out the required length of the stitch and pierce the fabric again. Then keep getting measurable results up and down at regular intervals.
  4. While we like to have small stitches; it is more important that they are the same. So you can start with about 6 stitches per inch. As your skills improve, aim for the optimum range of 8 to 12 stitches per inch for most projects.
  5. To finish your stitches, tie the knot and use the same knot. popping technique from step 1.

Final thoughts

Hand quilting is a traditional technique, but much more when looking at it. There are so many reasons to use a sewing machine to make quilts. It is faster, more accurate, heavy fabrics are no problem and the end product is stronger and more durable. Still, hand quilting just wouldn’t go away. I’ve seen countless amazing machine-made quilts, butWhen I see a beautiful hand quilted piece, my heart skips a beat.

We live in a hectic and restless world. Learning how to hand quilt can be another way to slow down a bit. It will help you appreciate and enjoy your craft more. As well as the other aspects of your life. Hopefully you can find time to indulge in some type of craft. If you you want to quilt, you can find some helpful tips in our article “ Quilting for Beginners ”.

Avatar for Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim is the founder and editor-in-chief of, a site dedicated to those passionate about crafting. With years of experience and research under his belt, he sought to create a platform where he could share his knowledge and skills with others who shared his interests.