Top 8 Quilting Lessons from Nancy Mahoney

Nancy Mahoney, Fons & Porter Guest BloggerNancy Mahoney is one of Fons & Porter’s guest bloggers who posts a blog every other Wednesday called Nancy’s Quilting Classroom. Nancy is revered in the quilting community – she’s been quilting for over 30 years and is one of the best quilters around! Here are some of her most recent quilting lessons that have great take-aways for the rest of us:

LESSON #1: Mitered Quilt Borders 

Mitered borders aren’t for everyone and they’re not for every quilt. But, what quilts are they for exactly and how do we go about creating them? Nancy suggests using mitered quilt borders when a stunning striped quilt border is used in your quilt. She fills you in on how to add mitered quilt borders to your quilt with easy-to-follow, step-by-step directions. Whew! So helpful!

Color Play - Scrap Quilt Patterns
Color Play – Scrap Quilt Patterns

LESSON #2: Quilt Binding

Quilt binding can be confusing since there are so many techniques that quilters use to bind their quilts! Everyone seems to have something to say about binding, whether it be good or bad. Nancy tends to lean toward the “binding is good!” camp. Her preferred method of quilt binding depends upon the finished, overall look of the quilt. Read more about this, as well as how to calculate binding for your quilts and how to finish your quilts with binding. Nancy has a way of making things easy. Thank goodness!

LESSON #3: Scrap Quilt Patterns

Here’s what Nancy has to say about scrap quilts, “I love making scrap quilts! When I look at a scrap quilt, the fabrics are memories of other quilts and occasions. Much has been written about selecting fabrics for a scrap quilt and it’s easy to get overwhelmed by all the choices. I’ve found using a fabric recipe helps me choose my fabrics and plan where I want to place those fabrics in my quilt.” Take a look at Nancy’s four fabric recipes, which include details, tips and pictures.

LESSON #4: Two-Color Quilts

Who doesn’t love a traditional two-color quilt? They seem simple, but that doesn’t mean they’re easy to make. There is some planning that goes into fabric tones, values, and color palettes. Interested in making a two-color quilt of your own? Take a look at Nancy’s two-color quilts and learn how she chose the fabrics for each.

Tone on Tone Pre-cut Strips
Pre-Cut Strips – Quilting with Pre-Cuts

LESSON #5: Quilting with Pre-Cuts

Pre-cuts have a way of making quilting easier at times and that’s one of the reasons we love them. They also come in color coordinated packages that take the guess work out of choosing the right colorways for your quilts. That’s not all that goes into making quilts with pre-cuts, though! Here’s a bit of wisdom from Nancy on preparing your pre-cuts before you start making your quilts:

  • Do not wash pre-cuts! If you’re concerned about the dyes running, use a dye-catcher sheet when you wash your quilt.
  • Don’t worry too much about the pinked edges. Align the tips of the pinked edge with the edge of your presser foot, or the ¼” line on your sewing machine, and sew a ¼” seam allowance.

Good to know! It’s helpful to have expert insight before diving into a timely project. Learn about other helpful information on quilting with pre-cuts from Nancy’s blog!

LESSON #6: Quilt Patterns using Fat Quarters

Sorting, organization, using in quilt patterns… Nancy covers it all. She also includes an extremely handy chart on how many squares can be cut from a fat quarter. Oh my goodness, that’s a big help! Fat quarters are everywhere, and so are fat quarter friendly quilts, so you’ll want to make sure to take a look at Nancy’s Fat Quarter Quilt Frenzy! blog.

Rising Star - Batik Fabrics & Batik Quilt Patterns
Rising Star – Batik Fabrics & Batik Quilt Patterns

LESSON #7: Batik Fabrics & Batik Quilt Patterns

Batik fabrics are a joy to work with: no blatant wrong side to worry about, sturdy for crisp edges, and they’re pretty! Here’s some information on how they’re made:

Batiks are a dyed fabric. Removable wax is applied in a design or pattern, so the dye doesn’t reach those areas of the fabric. Then the fabric is dipped in dye. Once the dye has dried, the wax is boiled off. This exposes the previous color and design. To create multi-colored designs, the fabric is layered with wax and dyed numerous times. Since the fabric is submerged in a dye bath, it’s dyed all the way through the fabric.

Very interesting! Find out why batiks are such sturdy fabrics and what type of quilting utilizes the characteristics that batik fabrics offer.

LESSON #8: Choosing Quilting Designs

This tends to be a struggle for quilters – the quilt top is done, now what to do? This is the point where a lot of quilts become UFOs (unfinished objects). Let’s finish those quilts with some simple quilting designs, add some quilt binding and be proud of what we’ve accomplished! A sit-down, domestic sewing machine has a lot to offer in the way of quilting designs, so take a look at what your sewing machine can do for you! Since this is such a hot topic, there will be 3 parts to this blog. Keep an eye out for upcoming quilting designs tips!

There’s so much information to take advantage of out there. Make sure you’re getting your quilting information from someone you trust!

We’ll see you in Nancy’s Quilting Classroom every other Wednesday!

Carrie Sisk, Online Editor, Fons & Porter


Happy Quilting!

Carrie Sisk, Fons & Porter, Online Editor


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Carrie Sisk

About Carrie Sisk

Carrie's first sewing machine was a gift from her dad—a better gift was never given. A crafter, trained pianist and experienced paintballer, when the opportunity arises, she's hiking in Yosemite or Rocky Mountain National Park.

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