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Channel Quilting

“Make It Stand Out”

Channel quilting is a perfect way to quilt appliquéd quilts.

The reason is because it makes that pretty design you worked so hard to put on your top, stand out.

How does it do that?

What is channel quilting?

How can I create this effect?

Well answer all of these questions here.


Think of a “channel” as a straight line stitched into your quilt.  The only time the line doesn’t go through the fabric is on each appliquéd piece.

Now think of several lines that are perpendicular doing the same thing. Row after row running down a quilt, only stopping at an appliqué section.  Then continuing on.

I bet you can imagine how it would make your hard work stand out now. ;)


The first step in making a quilt with this technique is to have it ready for quilting.  The finished top is sandwiched with the batting and the backing fabric.  It is already basted together.

Once that is done, you can begin making the outline of where you will sew the layers together.

This might be easier if no kids were present.  Send them outside for a while. J

Here are the steps to draw out your channels:

  • Grab your masking tape.
  • Decide which direction you want your stitches to go.  Are they going to go up and down, side to side, diagonally, or crisscross?
  • Choose how far apart the lines are going to be.  Usually it’s between 1 and 4 inches.
  • Use the masking tape to outline where each line will be.  Do this by placing the masking tape directly onto your quilt top.
  • If you feel comfortable in your placement, begin your stitching. 


  •  If this is your first time using masking tape to show you where to stitch, try using a fabric marker/pencil/chalk against the edge of the tape.  This will ensure that if your tape shifts you will still know exactly where to sew.


Once you have established the lines to sew on, begin your quilting.

This can be done by hand or machine.  Whatever your preference may be, either will work nicely.

We suggest that if you have not used a sewing machine for quilting before, hand quilt the channel stitches.

Unless you know your machine well enough to predict exactly when your stitches will stop, this is not the best method for you.

You do not want your stitches to penetrate your appliqué pieces. 

After you have stitched all of your channels, then you can finish the binding process to complete the edges of your quilt.

Wrap Up

Channel quilting may sound easy, however creating straight lines can be a challenge for most people.  Remember patience and persistence will have you the master of this technique in no time.

Until next time.

Happy quilting,

› Channel Quilting
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