Sewing and quilting go hand in hand, you must learn to sew before you can quilt. Manual sewing, using a needle and thread, represents the traditional way to connect together pieces of fabric for quilt blocks. Even when owning a sewing machine, it is best to know how to do this manually and then switch to machine help.
A comfortable needle and thimble is needed and specialized quilting thread would be recommended; this type of thread is thicker and is more resistant to various operations. Thread should be cut to equal two feet long and it should be introduced in the needle then secured at one end, to prevent it from unraveling. There is no need to use a double thread, but rather do your sewing with one layer of thread.
Put the two quilting pieces in position, with their right sides facing one another and start pinning them using at first three pins. Put one in every corner and the third one in the middle. Start your work on one corner by poking the needle through the layers of fabric and finish with it before you reach one half of a quarter of an inch near the seam line.
Then, use a backstitch to secure the end and move on with stitching. A piecing stitch may be used. Then, making sure you keep the line straight, draw the lines with the pencil on the other side. When you meet the other corner, use a backstitch; turn it at 90 degrees in the seam allowance and after that, cut the thread. Make sure your knots are carefully done, because with time these won't resist and the material will be damaged even faster.
Other stitch technique beginners have to learn in the stitch used in appliqué. In appliqué blocks, fabrics are cut, layered then stitched on another fabric and this requires sewing at the same time two fabrics together and making sure the sewing is as invisible as possible. Therefore, the appliqué stitch needs to have a free dot for stitching.
Firstly, use your sewing and quilting needle and a thread that color coordinates with the fabrics. Bast the uneven edges around to prepare the design. Gently press it with the iron, but don't iron it. Baste again the fabric in the background one to the desired position.
You can now move on with the appliqué. Place the needle under fabric pieces that serve as a background, push the needle through the material until you reach the edge. Pull the thread passing through both layers and then put the needle exactly in the place where it comes out; remember, put the needle only on the top of the background. Create a half of a quarter of an inch as a stitch and continue to do so in the fabric, until it meets the appliqué's edge. Then also stitch the fabric motif and finally end the stitching to knot and trim the work.
To conclude with, hand sewing may look like a process which eats up a lot of time, but that only happens in the beginning, until you develop a rhythm; with the proper experience, you will learn to do the sewing and quilting faster and more efficient. Because manual work is usually more treasured than machine work, hand-made quilts are given more consideration than machine-made ones.