June 30, 2023

My First Quilt with Yvonne Fuchs

It's the last Friday of the month, which means it's time for a My First Quilt interview! This month we get to learn all about Yvonne Fuchs' first quilt.
My First Quilt with Yvonne Fuchs | DevotedQuilter.com
Yvonne and I first met back in 2014, when we both participated in the New Quilt Blogger blog hop, and I have followed her blog, Quilting Jetgirl, ever since. Yvonne is also a technical editor, and she does an excellent job editing all of my patterns. After 9 years as online friends, so far, I hope that one of these days we'll actually get to meet in person!

You can connect with Yvonne on her website, Instagram, Facebook, and Youtube. You can also sign up for her newsletter.

And now, here is Yvonne's first quilt!
My First Quilt with Yvonne Fuchs | DevotedQuilter.com

What year did you make your first quilt? What prompted you to make it?

Prompted by my paternal grandmother, Ocie, I pieced together my first quilt top when I was a sophomore in high school (circa 1995). Ocie offered to hand quilt a twin sized quilt for me to take with me and use for my college dorm room bed. While my grandmother was a prolific quilter in her life, her offer was rare and wonderful and I was excited!

My mother and I went to a local quilt shop, and we picked out a Card Trick quilt pattern that was written as a "Quilt in a Day" book by Eleanor Burns. The pattern / booklet was the Winning Hand Quilt, and I pretty much picked out fabrics that matched the cover quilt exactly. We also purchased a rotary cutter, rotary cutting mat, and the recommended acrylic templates.
The Winning Hand quilt pattern booklet | DevotedQuilter.com

What techniques were used in that first quilt? Did you quilt it yourself?

The first adventure for my mother and I was to figure out how to cut the fabric. My mother was an accomplished garment sewist, so she was used to working with pattern templates and cutting fabric by hand. I recall it taking several days to cut all the fabric. In particular, the fabric I purchased for the sashing was a striped fabric, and we meticulously (or fussy) cut the strips so that the floral design would be pieced exactly centered for the sashing.

As far as piecing techniques go, I remember strip piecing and sub-cutting units. I also think that the blocks were set on point using corner setting triangles. But mostly it was a lot of long, straight seams.

I know for a fact that my seam allowances were all over the place for this quilt. Several of my more scant seam allowances have popped open over the years, and I've simply whip-stitched them closed again, like you can see in the lower right hand corner of the block in the image below, between the white background and blue leaf print. 
My First Quilt with Yvonne Fuchs | DevotedQuilter.com
I did not quilt my first quilt. I found a high thread count solid navy sheet to use for the backing, and when my family went to grandma's for Thanksgiving, we took the quilt top and backing with us to let grandma work her magic. She had a custom wooden frame that my grandpa had made for her hand quilting that consisted of two wooden saw horses made to be the right height for her in her chair. She had different length wooden beams that would fit into slots in the saw horses that she wrapped the quilt sandwich around, depending on the size of the quilt she was working with. I did not get to see her doing any of the hand quilting, but when it was done, she mailed it back to me for finishing.

I had NO idea what "binding" a quilt meant. I used 3" wide WOF strips. I did not fold the strips in half for a double fold binding; instead, I sewed the binding to the quilt top using a 1/2" seam allowance. Then I folded the raw edge over to the back and then folded the second raw edge of the binding back to meet the trimmed edge of the quilt, making the binding on the back a wide, chunky finish of about 7/8". I hand stitched the binding to the back of the quilt, and while I started off confused and frustrated, by the end of the process I found that I was really enjoying it.
My First Quilt with Yvonne Fuchs | DevotedQuilter.com

Who taught you to make the quilt?

My mother and I sorted through making the quilt together following the instructions in the Winning Hand Quilt book by Eleanor Burns. My mother had lots of sewing experience, and I am grateful for her patience as we puzzled how to do each step together. I still remember her puzzling over the fact that the instructions said to use a 1/4" seam allowance, because garments typically work with much more generous seam allowances. Also, as a beginner, my seam allowances were anything but consistent and my mother (rightfully) worried that some of my seams were too scant.

Are the colours you chose for your first quilt ones you would still choose today?

I still love the general colors that I used in my first quilt, but I don't use nearly as many prints in my quilts today. All of the fabrics used in the quilt top, while basically mimicking the fabrics in the cover quilt of the pattern, were pulled based around the main large floral print that was used for the outer border, as one of the prints in the blocks, and for the binding.

My favorite color, since I had a concept of what that means, has always been blue. So, while I might not lean so hard on large scale prints and borders in my quilts now, this quilt still brings a smile to my face and is a joy to nap under.
My First Quilt with Yvonne Fuchs | DevotedQuilter.com

Did you fall in love with quilting right away? Or was there a gap between making the first quilt and the next one?

I absolutely fell in love with quilting right away! While my grandmother was hand quilting my first quilt top, I promptly made my second and third quilts (much smaller lap and wall hanging sizes). There was then a bit of a gap between my third and fourth quilts; going to college definitely put a dent in my free time and my access to my mother's sewing machine. But the process of making my fourth quilt at home on long weekends (and leaving my mother's sewing and craft room an utter mess while I was back at college) prompted my parents to gift me with my first sewing machine, a Husqvarna Viking Freesia 415.

Where is the quilt now?

I still have my first quilt. While we are not entirely certain, we think it was likely the last quilt that my grandmother hand quilted. She started having mini strokes shortly after finishing it and lost her fine motor skills. Grandma knew that I was proud to use it on my dorm room bed, and I still pull it out to nap under when I want to sleep on the sofa, especially when I'm feeling sick. There's something special about knowing I'm wrapping up in my grandmother's love.
My First Quilt with Yvonne Fuchs | DevotedQuilter.com

Is there anything you wish you could go back and tell yourself as you made that first quilt?

I was definitely not in love with some of the fabric choices for the quilt top, and I remember wishing for a wider variety of options to choose from. I didn't think the red leaf print used in the blocks was a good enough color match (and pinks/reds have never been a favorite color for me). I don't know that I would tell myself anything in particular, but I am really glad to have access to high quality solids and blenders now so that when I really do want a print to shine, it can!

Anything else you want to share about your first quilt?

My bed was right by the window in my dorm room, and the fabric at the foot of the bed that was in the sun is a bit faded. Some seams have popped open, necessitating repair. It's not a perfect quilt by any stretch of the imagination, but it is holding up and is one of my most treasured possessions. It is stored so that if I have a few minutes in case of an emergency, it can be one of the few things I grab and save.

Thanks for sharing your first quilt with us, Yvonne! It's a true family heirloom, for sure ❤


  1. Thank you so much for asking me to participate in your series, Leanne. It was a treat to pull out my first quilt and think through the process of creating it and getting started on my quilting journey. And yes, I hope that one day our paths cross in real life, too!! :)

  2. What fun to travel back and hear about Yvonne's first quilt - thanks for sharing!

  3. What a fun post to read! Thanks to both of you!

  4. What an awesome story/history of a first quilt! xo

  5. So fun to see Yvonne's first quilt. I am so reminded of working with people picking first quilt fabrics based on the photo. It is so nice when we can see other options a little easier these days. This is a fun series, thanks Leanne.

  6. Man, those fabrics bring back memories of my first 'real' quilt after the Barbies one I made. Reading that you (Yvonne) meticulously (fussy) cut the floral on the border reminds me that I did that too with the floral stripe I used. Oh, my heart! as a dear friend of mine would say, about the hand quilting of grandma Ocie--I believe in the love and vibrations stitched into your quilt, so no wonder it is such a comfort to snuggle beneath. Thank you for sharing this; I love the link between the generations through this one quilt, too.


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