Don't forget your cutting mat when you use the rotary cutter and quilting rulers/squares.
You can use any material you like only anything that is stretchie or shiny will require stablishing first. This can be done a number of ways. (A) Stablishing spray (B) Starch (C) iron on interfacing to the back of the fabric.
I only buy precut bundles if they are super cheap it's generally more expensive to buy those precut fat quarters, jelly rolls and charm packs. I just buy off the roll as much as I require.
I mainly use polycotton's for my patchwork but as you might have seen I do adorn somethings with embroidery, cross stitch, ribbons and lace.
once you have you pieces cut it's very important to try and line up your pieces but not via the ends I do it by matching the seams up but you can only do that if you carefully iron open your seams on the back side. So the seam looks like an open book. Then line them up by laying them right sides together with the seams lining. Then pin then on both sides of the seam.
It's very hard to make them all fit perfectly anyway when you machine patches together. The best way is all done by hand sewing via the Traditional English paper pierching method. But even then you have to make sure all your piece's of paper/card templates are all the same size there's no margin of error.
All the best
PS Not: Patchwork is sewing the pieces together to form a design. quilting is the sewing of a design on top of your patchworked parts when you put the three layers together ie the top the batting and the botton and then you sew them together through all three layers making patterns as you do so. To stop the layers from seperating. It also helps to make the items warmer, adds strength and allow for a sewing design on top.
You can quilt fabrics without doing any patchwork. ie one sheet of material quilted ontop a second layer of material with or without the batting ie the squishie middle layer.
Traditional patchwork is done with 100% cotton fabrics, you can use others, polycotton, denim, etc, but if you're using different weights of fabric together it can be harder to keep them stable. Pin closely or tack before machining. Measure regularly as one piece being slightly out can have a knock on effect. Patchwork is usually pieced using 1/4" seams. If you are planning to quilt on your sewing machine then look at a walking foot for it, not cheap but it will be a godsend as it stops the layers creeping. Also, quilters safety pins, my Mum bought me some when I first started, they are curved so it's easier to pin the top to the wadding and backing before quilting. I buy fat quarters if they're on offer, jelly rolls are expensive but if you're doing something like a log cabin they'll be time saving. Otherwise I go to my local patchwork shop and buy what I need if it's something specific. They have a good sale in January so that's when I add to my fabric stash "just because I like it". They also do workshops but I haven't signed up for one yet, so look for your local patchwork shop, there's more of those than cross stitch shops it seems. Look on line, there are loads and loads of patchwork and quilting forums, tutorials and free block patterns. Annies online do lovely download patterns. They do kits too but don't ship outside the USA. Patchwork can satisfy that need for a finish when you're cross stitching that BAP!!! Have fun!!
I've used polycotton fabric on my dolls, but I can't get on with it. It's cheap enough round my end, but I find it awful to work with and frays so easily (probably just my inexperience at using it).
I like the 100% cotton fabrics and I was introduced to various kinds by a lady at the local haberdashery, (more money but so nice), unfortunately though she doesn't stock much. Although I'm still relatively new to the different fabrics available and have not even scraped the surface as to what's available.
I have a rotary cutter and self healing mat already, although I need to get the hang of using it - I'm not pressing down hard enough I think, so not getting a clean cut with it.
I have seen those quilters pins Sheila, and was unsure whether they were worth buying so thanks for mentioning them - have you used the basting sprays? I was looking at them as well.
I was watching a tutorial on making quilt squares on Youtube, which told me not to use pins to pin your fabric, but to hold the pieces together by hand and chain stitch through to the next piece - I found this difficult as I have never done that before, but I will take your recommendation and use pins next time.
I've been watching videos on free motion quilting and love the technique and the effects you can create are wonderful - for now though I'll just try my hand at straight line quilting and go from there, lol. Although I have already priced up the walking foot I need!
The ironing, I was told to iron the seams towards the darkest fabric being used, not like an open book as you mentioned Aisles so not to get a bulk in the centre of the square - again this is probably personal preference, but I've been ironing the seams to the dark side.
There isn't much round my end for patchworking or quilting so I have to rely on the 'net to get what I need. I've spent a fair few hours watching tutorials and finding block patterns - I'm, going to be very busy I see, lol - and yes a good way to break up that BAP!!
Thanks for your suggestions - and I will endeavour!
I usually do just hold the first pieces when machining, but I'll always pin through the seams to try and get them lined up properly. You're right about the seam pressing, both one way towards the darker side. It's worth looking out for fat quarter bundle offers, that way you get a few toning fabrics to play with. And patchwork shows often have lots of lovely stalls from shops all over the country, so they are worth the trip, and you get to see some amazing quilts, I go with my Mum occasionally, she points out the technical stuff while I'm just oohing and aahing!
I also only use 100% cotton when doing quilting as find poly cotton does not hold its shape very well. I also use a good wadding to , I love my walking foot and have also got a quilting table bit that attaches to my sewing machine which is a great help. I do use pins to put squares etc together but only when making smaller peices,and also tack them together as well when doing larger quilts i do the chain stitch thing, Like Shelia i have also been taught to iron the seams to one side and not to press them open. I also have a stitch in the ditch attachment for my sewing machine. I tend to buy fat quarters as finf them better to store and always am on the look out for when they are on sale
I've always been taught to iron them open as they give a less blunky seam so instead of 3 layers of fabric one side of the seam and one layer on one side of a seam you have an equal 2 layers of material. I can always see and feel the difference.