Quilting is a hard skill to pick up. It requires a lot of patience and perseverance. That’s why if you are a beginner you want to have the right guide to follow. This is why we interviewed Deirdre Quirk from C&T Publishing and she gave us the scoop on the best guides for the quilting beginner that will help you learn quilting step-by-step.

Let’s jump right in. 

1. How many years have you been sewing?

Personally, I’ve been sewing since I was a child, and I know that’s true for almost everyone who works in our office as well!

2. What’s your favorite sewing pattern/technique?

My favorite kind of sewing to do is mending and altering clothes. I’ve referred to the DIY Wardrobe Makeovers book many times for hemming jeans, turning a dress into a top, adding elbow patches to flannel, and many more simple and stylish fixes.


DIY Wardrobe Makeovers by Suzannah Hamlin Stanley

3. What is your favorite project that you’ve ever done?

This isn’t a favorite project I’ve made, but it is my favorite project made for me, by my wonderful colleagues. This gorgeous modern quilt was a wedding gift and each of the blocks was made by a different coworker. Then technical editor Debbie pieced it all together, and technical editor Linda Johansen quilted it into a beautiful whole. You can read more about it here.


4. Which project are you most proud of?

The project I am most proud of is an embroidered patch that I made my wife for our second anniversary. I am new to embroidery, but I used a cute radio design from Sweet Stitches by Aneela Hoey and followed the stitch instructions in the Embroidery Stitching Handy Pocket Guide by Christen Brown, and the whole process was surprisingly easy! I had so much fun choosing which stitches to use for different parts of the radio, and I love how the finished product turned out. It’s now stitched on to the shoulder of my wife’s denim jacket.

5. What is the greatest tip that you could give a beginner to learn sewing?

Start with something small and simple. It’s far too easy to get discouraged if you don’t finish or are not successful with your first projects. And don’t worry if they are not perfect, just try them again, and you’ll be surprised how much better each attempt gets.

6. What is the hardest thing about sewing?

The hardest thing about sewing is making mistakes. I know they’re supposed to teach you valuable lessons (and they do!), but I can’t help but mourn all the wasted time from making the mistake in the first place and then undoing it.

7. What are the most useful sewing books to get for a beginner?

This is a question we love to get! For children, we always recommend A Kid’s Guide to Sewing by Sophie Kerr and The Best of Sewing Machine Fun for Kids by Lynda Milligan and Nancy Smith. For teens and adults, our new release Sew Bags by Hilarie Wakefield-Dayton teaches basic techniques while readers make a series of stylish and useful bags. And for those new to quilting, might we suggest Make Your First Quilt with Alex Anderson.

The best of sewing machine fun for kids by Lynda Milligan and Nancy Smith

8. How did you come up with the idea for C&T publishing?

C&T Publishing started with an impulsive promise from founder and quilt-shop owner Carolie Hensley to her friend, Roberta Horton. When Roberta told Carolie that she wanted to write a book on Amish quilts, but hadn’t found a publisher yet, Carolie quickly said that she and her husband Tom would publish Roberta’s book. The Hensleys launched C&T Publishing from their garage, with a catalog of exactly one book: Roberta Horton’s An Amish Adventure. 

9. How many years have you been in business?

C&T Publishing has been in business for 36 years, since 1983.

10. What’s the most unique thing about your site?

Because we are a publishing company, our site features many voices and many different fiber arts! All of our authors contribute blog posts, videos, free projects, class plans, and more, so there’s sure to be something that will appeal to any style or learning approach. Whether you embroider, sew, quilt, appliqué, or even work with mixed media,  we’ve got books, patterns, and resources for you!

Want to read more about quilting? Check out our interviews with Stephanie from Swoodson Says and with Tami Meyer. And if you’re interested in starting your own sewing hobby head over to our interview with Wendy Gratz, you’re going to love it.