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Make Your First Quilt With Melanie Ham’s Beginner Quilting Tutorial Videos

Make Your First Quilt With Melanie Ham’s Beginner Quilting Tutorial Videos

Thank you so much for sharing!

Make Your First Quilt With Melanie’s Beginner Quilting Tutorial Videos

Robert here. Are you ready to make your first quilt with Melanie’s Beginner Quilting tutorials? Yes? Great!

But first: Thank you for your continued support of Melanie’s work. I receive comments, emails, and feedback almost every day – from folks checking in on our family and sharing your grief, love, and projects.

From the bottom of my heart, thank you! Many of you have also reached out to me and asked if our family will continue posting Melanie’s content. Our goal is to distribute content slowly here with her blog, so stay tuned.

Your emotional and financial support through purchases of her online courses, and ordering your quilting supplies from her affiliate links (which costs nothing to you) has been a huge help as we persevere, process, and grieve the passing of Mel, so thank you!

Melanie’s workspace (our little Ikea dining room table) during her first quilt at our home in Alaska, 2010.
Melanie’s first quilt finished, holding it open in the beautiful Alaskan sunlight, 2010.

Melanie Ham’s Popular “Make Your First Quilt Beginner Tutorial

Melanie’s most popular tutorial series is her Beginner Quilt Tutorials and I wanted to post them all in one place for you here on her blog.

Melanie prided herself on teaching her followers to jump all in and feel confident in what you’re making.

She repeatedly encouraged each of you to remember it’s okay to fail, and that making things with your hands is about trying new things, doing your best, and enjoying the process.

So whether you are an absolute beginner or you have been on your quilting journey for a while – these beginner quilting tutorials are for you.

Each of the Six Steps of instructions for your first quilt are linked below. The six video tutorials are embedded into this post, along with six links to each of Melanie’s associated blog posts.

Follow along, one step at a time with Melanie’s written details and video demonstrations as you work. Bookmark this post, share it with a friend who needs company in their quilting journey, and return to it as you progress through the steps. You’ve got this.

Melanie Ham's second quilt she made in Alaska, 2010.
Melanie’s second quilt – made in Alaska, 2010.

Beginner Quilting with Mama Lisa

Now I’m going to hand the blog over to Mama Lisa (Melanie’s mother) as she brings back some memories and gives you helpful tips along the way.

Another early quilt from Melanie Ham's Alaska collection, 2010.
Another early “pinwheel” quilt from Melanie’s Alaska collection, 2010.
"Pinwheels" by Melanie Ham Oct. 2010.
“Pinwheels” quilt by Melanie Ham Oct. 2010.

Melanie’s Favorite Quilting Partner Mama Lisa

Hi everyone, Mama Lisa here and WOW, I am so thankful for all of you that continue to support Melanie’s work, read her blog, and watch her videos. 

Did you see that she is over 907,000 subscribers on YouTube?!  That is incredible and it speaks volumes to what she created, how she connected with people, and how much she was and still IS so loved!  

Melanie’s YouTube channel is close to one million subscribers!

Beginner Quilting Journey

I was recently working through some old emails and found one from Melanie that was the beginning of her quilting journey.

Melanie was living in Alaska and I was planning to go visit.  She said that quilting was really big in Alaska and she wanted to learn how while I was there … that was in 2010 (some of her quilts from those years are above). 

I had been learning since moving to Virginia through a charity quilt group and knew enough to get her started. 

This (below) is a picture from when we went shopping for supplies.  I do believe my intent was to capture my adorable grandson, but that little bundle of fabric in the cart was where it all started!

Eli kept us entertained while we shopped for quilting fabrics

Getting Started On Your First Quilt

Melanie used a pre-cut fabric called charm squares or 5” stackers in this video series which is a great way to get started and take out the steps for buying yardage, preparing the fabric, and cutting into all the right pieces. 

There are lots of great pre-cuts on the market so finding one you will like is easy and sets you up to making your first quilt a breeze! (If you’re looking for tips related to choosing colors for your quilts, check out Melanie’s Color Theory Course here.)

So, follow the six links below to jump right into making your first quilt!

Oh, and definitely check out the mini class she has for 5 Days to Better Quilting!  Lots of super helpful info and it’s free!

A Beginner Quilt Tutorial on Melanie’s YouTube Channel. The link below will take you to the blog post associated with Part 1 of this project.

Your First Quilt – Absolute Beginner Tutorial – Blog Post Part 1

Make Your First Quilt – Beginner Quilting Tutorials – Part TWO

Now that you have your quilt top all sewn together, it’s time to actually make it into a quilt. 

A quilt is made of two layers of fabric, a top and a backing with a soft substance in the middle usually made of cotton or wool. The term for the middle layers is “batting” or “wadding”. 

The quilt is then stitched in patterns through all the layers to prevent the filling or batting from shifting.  In order to hold the layers together so you can stitch the pattern through all the layers, you need to “baste” them together before sewing. 

This next video will take you through the pin-basting method which is a tried-and-true method and easy for beginners.

How to Baste your First Quilt Video Tutorial. The link below will take you to the blog post associated with Part 2 of this project.

Easy Quilt Tutorial – Your First Quilt Part 2 – Blog Post

Make Your First Quilt – Beginner Quilting Tutorials – Part THREE

Yay! You have your quilt sandwich all ready now and the next step is the actual sewing of all the layers together and we call that step, quilting. 

Kind of an interesting and confusing word since we use it for generally referencing the craft but this is the actual step of the process where the name comes from.  Quilting is the process for sewing all the layers together. 

Melanie gives you lots of great tips and walks you through a very easy way to do the quilting but gives a really nice finished look to your quilt.

Have fun with this, it’s just sewing straight lines, super easy, and of course, Melanie gives you all the scoop.

Beginner Quilt Sewing Tutorial, Part Three – The link below will take you to the blog post associated with Part 3 of this project.

Easy Quilt Tutorial – First Quilt: Part 3 Beginner Quilting

Make Your First Quilt – Beginner Quilting Tutorials – Part FOUR

Great job so far – so let’s keep going and get this quilt ready to use! 

The next step is “squaring up” and binding. 

“Squaring up” is a term used in the trimming process to ensure that your quilt keeps 90-degree corners as you trim off the excess batting and backing fabric to create an edge for binding which holds all the raw edges together for a nice finished look.

A Beginner Quilt Tutorial on Melanie’s YouTube Channel. The link below will take you to the blog post associated with Part 4 of this project.

Your First Quilt Part 4: Squaring Up and Making the Binding – Blog Post

Make Your First Quilt – Beginner Quilting Tutorials – Part FIVE

Now that you have made your binding, it’s time to attach it to the quilt. 

There are several ways to do binding and everyone has preferences.  Melanie walks you through a classic method with all the tips and tricks and is an easy way to get a really pretty finish to your quilt. 

If you need more videos on binding, just go to her YouTube channel and search Binding and find a few more to watch.

A Beginner Quilt Tutorial on Melanie’s YouTube Channel. The link below will take you to the blog post associated with Part 5 of this project.

Your First Quilt: Part 5 How to Bind your Quilt – Blog Post

Finish Your First Quilt – How to Wash and Label Your New Quilt – Part SIX

Now your quilt is all finished but wait! You need to label it!

The label is your final touch to write a nice sentiment about the quilt and a few pieces of information to document the details of the quilt.  Melanie goes over an easy way to do a handwritten label that is quick.  

Even if you don’t want to write anything, it’s always good to at least add a label with the date and who made it – which means, yes, you should sign your work!

As far as washing… most quilts are made of cotton or cotton blends and can handle lots and lots of washing.  If you use a batting that is not cotton, you may not get as much of the crinkly look which is totally fine, some quilters prefer that look.  

You too can delve into all those options and the variety of methods for all the steps as you continue your quilting journey.

A Beginner Quilt Tutorial on Melanie’s YouTube Channel. The link below will take you to the blog post associated with Part 6 of this project.

Your First Quilt Part 6: How to Label and Wash your Quilt – Blog Post

Your First Finished Quilt

Congratulations, you have made your first quilt!  As Melanie says, washing it gives you that “nice, yummy crinkly goodness.” Yes, I totally agree! 

Wash, use, and enjoy your quilt, it is an expression of love to whoever uses it!

~Mama Lisa

pin basting

In Closing – From Robert

Robert here. Thanks again for continuing to support Melanie’s legacy, work, and our family by joining us on this adventure. Melanie is almost at 1 million subscribers on youtube so if don’t subscribe do so HERE. If you’re interested in what’s going on with me, my work, and our family’s life, head on over to my website and check out some of my latest blog posts, particularly One Year Anniversary of “Made With Melanie” and my Pat Tillman Leadership Summit Keynote.

Thank you! And as Melanie would say “keep making wonderful things.”

With Love, Robert

P.S. If you missed Quiltcon 2023, Laura Loewen posted a nice review of the event with great photos of trending quilt designs here.

P.P.S. If you’re looking for ideas to use up excess fabric after making your quilt, here are 8 great ideas to use up scrap fabric and batting.


Tuesday 26th of September 2023

Thank you for keeping her spirit alive with her blog. She is deeply missed. To Mama Lisa I also know the pain of losing a child. She is with you always and will send you signs. I have a book with the signs Mark has sent since 2008 and the last entry was just 2 weeks ago. God bless all of you. RIP MELANIE 🙏

Cynthia Bacon

Thursday 21st of September 2023

Oh my goodness, I can't even believe that is Ainsley in the photo! She has grown so much and is stunning, just like her mother. Thank you for continuing Melanie's legacy. She is so loved and missed.

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