Sometimes when I’m lying in bed trying to fall asleep, I reflect on life, love and quilting. There are other times when I find myself planning my amazing Oreo-based meals for the next day… but on cool fall nights, I get nostalgic about my sewing journey.
This quilting adventure we're on is a long one, full of mistakes, seam-ripping, wonky blocks and uneven stitches. That’s why we need each other, and why I found myself compiling some of the best books and resources to help anyone interested learn to quilt.
There are a LOT of books about learning to quilt in the world, and I have not read them all, but I have checked out the ones that have the best ratings and reviews and want to share them with you here. Then, if you stick around, I’ll list some additional resources, videos, and tutorials that can be extra helpful in those first exciting days… or weeks… or years… of learning to quilt.
I must interject, because although I am the one writing this post I still feel the need to interrupt, that whether you are brand new to sewing, or you've been quilting for decades, joining the Suzy Quilts Patterns group on Facebook is going to be your best first step to learning and growing with a group of other sewers. Fabric questions, machine troubleshooting, quilt math – whatever you are working through can always be posted in the group discussion and I can promise that you will always have at least one (and probably five or six) people who try to help.
It's kinda of like having your very own quilt shaman readily available to hold the reigns and gently guide you so the path doesn't feel quite as rocky.
After you join the group, be sure to skim through the Quilting 101 tab here on the SQ blog. You may be surprised what you find!
The first part of The Beginner's Guide to Quilting is an extended picture glossary, going over basic techniques and terms. Once the basics are covered, like piecing, basting and binding, the book takes a nice little turn into simple patterns.
Learning to read a pattern is not absolutely necessary to quilting, but it sure does open up a larger world of sewing projects. This book includes simple patterns for all things quilty – a tote, wall hanging, table runner, and more. There is even a section on precut bundles of fabric, since we all know how much quilters love buying those.
Six Easy Lessons you say? Is it too good to be true? Quilting can be daunting, especially for someone who has never done it before… but this book makes it a little more approachable.
I love that First-Time Quiltmaking starts at the VERY beginning, assuming you know nothing at all about quilting. There are no complicated terms that aren’t explained first, and the book provides very detailed explanations alongside clear photos so you can see exactly what’s supposed to be happening. The book is in full color, and is basically a must-have for anyone learning to quilt.
One of my favorite parts of The Patchwork Guide to Quilting is there is actually a chapter called “Mistakes Beginners Make and How to Avoid Them.” Ha! It’s like they know we’re human or something!
Along with describing all of the errors I have made in the past, this eBook covers basic techniques, piecing, and even some handy tips and tricks. A little bonus: it also includes instructions for a quilted tote and a quilted pillow, in case you want to start with something a little smaller than an entire quilt!
Cool background on this book: it was written by a graphic designer and a children’s book writer, which means it’s pretty, nicely laid out and easy-to-read… exactly what you want in a quilting book!
The beautiful pictures and simple instructions make this book great for new quilters, but also kinda fun for veteran quilters, too. This book also includes some beginner projects when you’re ready to test your skills.
Quilting 101 is not going to look like the fanciest book on your shelf, but that's because it was written to work...hard.
Designed for the complete beginner, you will learn terms, basic tools, seam allowance, using notions, choosing fabric and pretty much every foundational thing there is to know through this spiral-bound workshop in a book.
The great thing about this book's work hard play hard mentality is that you can feel completely comfortable dog-earing, highlighting and writing notes in the margins.
So, some people are book people; they can read a set of instructions and get to work, even when it comes to crafting. But others need a little more than that… Kinesthetic learners, raise your hands!
Quilting is a hands-on, physical-and-mental activity, and learning the basics takes practice. That’s why I wanted to include a few more resources that can supplement or replace books when you’re starting your quilting journey.
Learn to Quilt: Non-Book Resources
- My Craftsy class, of course! Fabric Play: Sewing Mojo Minis is labeled as an intermediate course, but only because I don't cover the absolute basics (Like, what is a rotary cutter?) However, if you know even a little bit about sewing, this is a great introduction to quilting because we make adorable mini quilts together! It's light-hearted and fun and you only need scraps of fabric to play along.
- Suzy Quilts Quilting 101 tab. This SQ blog is chalked full of tutorials, videos, lists and helpful posts to make your quilting journey easier. I've been quilting for over 17 years and have made A LOT of mistakes – which have led me to some really great best practices.
How did you learn to quilt? Is there a specific book or resource you'd recommend? Let us know in the comments!
12 thoughts on “Learn to Quilt: The 5 Best Books to Read”
My daughter-in-law asked me to make the KrissKross Quilt for her baby. I started working on it and even though it’s not one of the patterns I would say is fast, or maybe a beginner could do easily, it is very cool to see it come together.
I would make one tip that I haven’t found on your printed out instructions or on your on line tips. When you sew the solid strip to the strip with the stripe fabric, if you will fold the center of each strip you are going to join, crease it then match the two strips starting at that crease, it will make them centered and the block has a better chance of not looking skewed or “off”.
Maybe others are better at eyeballing that but it saved me a little to take a second to fold the strip in half and just find the center of the solid and the stripe of those two strips that you are sewing together.
Thanks for putting the classes and all your materials on line. Hopefully young quilters will find it appealing and keepbthis art alive!
That’s a great tip! Thanks, Becky!
Did I write this? That is exactly what I did, but don’t remember writing that email.
Would any of these books be more (or less) helpful for someone who wants to learn to hand quilt?
I don’t think any of these books cover hand quilting, but if that’s a skill you’re interested in learning, check out this post – https://suzyquilts.com/how-to-hand-quilt/
If you had to pick ONE book, which is it? Thanks.
Hmmmm…As a reference book, I think First-Time Quiltmaking and Quilting 101 are tied for first. I don’t personally like the style of the projects included, but they have really clear instructions 😉
Thank you, enjoyed your blog.
YouTube!! I have learned practically everything I know there. I made my first quilt using a “My First Quilt” series by Melanie Hamm and I Google any issue of new technique that comes up. I am pretty good at following written instructions but sometimes there is no better way to understand than seeing it (often over and over and over…)
Harriet Hargraves’ “Quilters Academy” series is awesome. The first book is for absolute beginners. The next four take you through progressively more complex piecing techniques. She also has books on machine quilting. All the books have projects and they also teach you to draft your own patterns.
Hi Suzy, I am a newbie and love your site and blogs. I recently purchased the Quilting 101 book. I do like the book but I can’t find the promised on line videos. Do you have a link you would share? Many thanks!
Hi Lynn, I don’t have links to the videos, but if you reach out to the author, Elizabeth Betts, she will be able to guide you in the right direction. Her contact info is on her website here.