For Beginners, The Ultimate Guide To Machine Quilting Update 05/2022

You’ve finished piecing the top of a quilt.

Now we need to figure out how you’re going to quilt it. Hand tying, hand quilting, and machine quilting are some of the possibilities available.

Machine quilting is the quickest of the three options, although it does necessitate the use of specific foot.

Most novice quilters are apprehensive to use their home sewing machine because they fear the finished quilt would be unattractive. New materials such as spray adhesives and marking tools have made finishing the quilt at home much easier.

A word of caution: if you’ve constructed a queen-size or larger quilt top, the area to the right of the throat plate may not allow you to quilt at home.

If you have a quilt top that huge, you can try quilting it, but be aware that it will be irritating and physically demanding.

Take a little project and work on it first if you want to learn how to machine quilt on your home sewing machine. A table runner, table topper, wall hanging, or cot size quilt are examples of small projects.

A free motion foot or a walking foot can be used for machine quilting.

Two Types of Machine Quilting Feet

1-Free Motion Foot/Darning Foot

For all-over designs that do not require straight lines, the free motion foot is used. After dropping the feed dogs, you can quilt freely by pushing the quilt around. As it sews, the foot floats slightly above the three layers and jumps up and down.

2-Walking Foot

The quilt is held in place by a box on the back, a little lever, and an extra pair of grips on the walking foot.

The walking foot’s purpose is to allow the additional grips to grab the quilt top and work in tandem with the bottom feed dogs. The quilt top and bottom are pulled together in one move with this technique.

The lever is attached to the peg above the needle bar and allows the top portion of the walking foot to move when sewing. The walking foot will not work if the lever is not secured to the peg.

sewing quilt machine quilting

Please read your instruction manual before attempting to set up your machine to use the walking foot. If it didn’t come with one, perform a Google search to see if one was made specifically for your machine.

When working with multiple layers of fabric at once, the walking foot is quite versatile and may also be used for conventional sewing. Keep the feed dogs engaged when walking with a walking foot.

Needles For Machine Quilting

It’s critical to choose the correct needle for quilting. This decision will be influenced by the sort of fabric used for the top and backing.

If you’ve quilted your quilt with batik cloth, a titanium needle will help you push through the dyes.

A titanium needle is recommended if you use cotton on top and a batik cloth for the background.

The most common machine quilting size is 12 or 14. If your quilt fabric is denim, you can also use a size 16 needle. Most quilting projects can be completed with a universal needle. If you want to utilize a certain needle brand, seek for ones that are labeled for machine quilting.

Because needles dull with prolonged use, always begin your project with a brand new needle. If you hit a pin, the needle may have bent or chipped, so replace it. When quilting, a crooked needle will damage the quality of your stitches and will frequently break thread.

If your needle is pounding or struggling to punch through the layers, you may need to switch to a larger needle.

Thread for Machine Quilting

The majority of quilters use a 40 wt cotton thread to quilt their layers. We choose 40 wt. so that the stitching on the quilt top may be seen.

Do not purchase inexpensive cotton thread from a big box store’s clearance section. It generates a lot of lint and is prone to breaking.

Choose a hue that complements or contrasts with the top, such as white, gray, or cream. If your top is brown or black, for example, use the same color thread.

Basting The Layers

A quilt top must be baste-sewn to the batting and backing. The majority of individuals choose one of the two options below.

Pin Basting

Several dozen safety pins are used in pin basting. Make sure the safety pins aren’t rusted or deformed because they’ll ruin the quilt top.

Begin by pinning through all three layers in the quilt’s center, leaving about 6 inches between pins, and working your way out to the edges. Use safety pins with a minimum size of 2 or those indicated for quilt basting.

Spray Adhesive

Spray basting is a method of holding layers together with an adhesive. Start by placing the batting down and smoothing the quilt back over it.

Apply the glue to the batting by bringing the edge of the backing to the central batting. Smooth the backing over the batting before repeating on the opposite side. All the layers should be smooth. Always spray the batting rather than the fabric itself.

Turn the batting and backing layer over so that the batting is facing up, and place the quilt top on top of it. Apply the same technique you used to attach the backing. Always use a spray adhesive made specifically for quilt basting.

You only need a small amount of adhesive because a little goes a long way.

spraying adhesive on quilt machine quilting

Marking The Quilt Top

Drawing straight lines with a ruler is the best approach to mark your first quilt top for a newbie quilter.

The lines can be marked with a variety of goods. Others will use special ceramic pencils or water/heat soluble pens, while others will utilize chalk.

Which marking method will work best depends on the type of fabric and color. If you’ve picked a batik cloth, you’ll want to mark the top with the ceramic pencil or chalk.

When you iron away the heat soluble pens, they will leave a white line. Chalk can be a nice option if your fabric is dark.

A water-soluble pen will work wonders if your fabric is light. Before marking your top, it’s best to practice with different marking tools on a scrap of similar fabric.

If you’re going to use chalk, keep in mind that it’s better to mark in small parts because the chalk will get brushed away as you move the quilt around.

To make straight lines on the quilt top, use a ruler with a length of at least 24 inches.

Begin by drawing a straight line diagonally down the middle of the quilt from corner to corner. A cross-hatch pattern will result from this procedure. Move the ruler over 1 1/2′′ or 2′′ once you’ve created the middle line.

After you’ve determined the width of the line, draw it diagonally with your marking tool. Continue until you reach the quilt’s edge, then return to the middle and mark from there to the opposing corner. If you’re using chalk, you might wish to mark only one side at a time.

It’s time to stitch the lines after you’ve finished marking the quilt top.

Cross Hatch Lines

Machine quilting will begin after you have marked the straight lines on your quilt top. Set your stitch length to 2.8 or 2.6 and attach the walking foot to your sewing machine, making that the lever bar is above the needle peg. If the stitches are too small and you make a mistake, removing those stitches will be difficult.

Grab the top thread with your left hand and drop the needle down into the quilt to start the first stitch. The needle is usually brought back up by pressing the needle down button on the sewing machine.

Pull the thread to the point where the bottom thread meets the top thread. Stitch two or three extra stitches right here. The bobbin and top threads will be locked together. After clipping the thread tails, you may start stitching.

Corner to corner stitch the first diagonal line. To secure the layers of the quilt, stitch the opposing diagonal line. This step will aid in the prevention of rippling. Move the walking foot to the next line and stitch in the opposite direction once that line is finished. It’s a good idea to flip the quilt over and inspect the back at this time. Check that none of the layers have creased or folded.

If there are any folds, you must stop and undo the stitches. Continue in this fashion until all of the diagonal lines on the quilt top have been stitched. A cross-hatch pattern should appear on the top.

marking quilt ruler machine quilting

Stitch in the Ditch

A stitch in the ditch approach is another way to employ your walking foot.

This indicates you’re stitching a quarter-inch line away from the seam.

Before stitching the entire quilt top, use a little ruler to double-check that you have a quarter-inch seam allowance. Earlier versions of stitch in the ditch required sewing directly into the seam, but this has been phased out in favor of stitching a quarter inch over from the seam.

ruler marking quilt machine quilting

Both of these ways are good for learning beginner machine quilting stitches and encouraging you to keep learning.

Other forms of stitching done using a walking foot can be found on the internet.

Quilting on your home sewing machine may be a lot of fun. You have not only completed your assignment, but you have also improved your quilting skills.

With so many lovely designs to choose from, you can make each creation completely unique.

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