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Easy Machine Quilting

“Smooth and Stress Free”

Easy machine quilting can be accomplished with just a little effort.  Although this page is dedicated for those that are just learning how to quilt with their home sewing machines, the tips we give here are valuable. 

You never know when you’ll learn something new.  That’s why this page is worth the read even if you’ve been quilting with your home machine for years.

We’ll give you some little hints of the trade to keep machine quilting as stress free and easy as possible.

How to Start

Even though we don’t machine quilt that often and we prefer the feeling of doing it by hand, we have learned several tips that keep it less trying on our mental state than it was when we first approached the idea.

The best place to start when taking on a project of this nature is to assess the situation.

When thinking of beginning this task, keep these questions in mind:

How big is the neck opening of your machine?

Does the machine have a special quilting stitch that you want to use or a straight stitch that will be fine for your project?

Are you going to use a stencil for your guide?

How are you going to mark your guide?

How big is the quilt going to be?

Will you be able to roll up the materials tight enough for the roll to fit in the neck of the sewing machine?

Is your seating arrangement for using the machine going to be comfortable?

That’s just a few questions to get you started.  You might come up with more questions as you answer the ones listed here.

Before you move on to stitching on the new masterpiece it would be a good idea to try the stitching out on some scrap fabric first.  Make sure the spacing and tightness of stitches are what you desire.  

Uneven stitches are the number one deterrent from easy machine quilting.

What’s Next

After considering your answers and the decision is still to use your machine for the quilting project we can begin with the steps to get stitching.

Use these tips after the quilting top and cookie are already assembled.  Everything should already be basted together.

Are you going to stitch in the ditch or use a special guide?

If you want to use a guide, we recommend using a stencil.  We teach you how to make your own stencils here.

Mark our where the quilting stitches will be on the quilt top if you are using a pattern.

Wither a guide is being used or the stitches will be in the ditch now is the time to start rolling up the material. 

For full size to larger quilts it’s best to roll till you reach the center of the quilt.  It’s much easier to work from the center to the outer edges, just like you would for hand quilting.  This way it’s also less of a hassle to get bigger quilts done with a machine that doesn't have as much of a neck grace.

To keep the material out of your way, use a basting pin (they look like big diaper pins) to keep the quilting sandwich rolled up.  Just remember to unpin it when you’re unrolling the materials for the next section.  ;)

Drop your feed dogs and raise your needle.  We suggest working with the free motion foot.  It tends to be easier for quilting. 

Begin moving the materials into place.

Make sure to slide the quilting cookie gently under the needle of the machine with the roll fitting into the space of the neck.  Glide it until the center of the quilt is resting under the needle.

Get comfortable and make sure you have plenty of light.  When you’re ready, start stitching at a slow and steady pace.  Then gradually increase the speed to one that you are confident with.

Work in a motion that is either pushing away or towards yourself.  Remember to stitch from the center out.  Work in rows this way to keep it an easy machine quilting motion.

When you reach the edge with the stitches, remove the materials from the machine.  Unpin and unroll to reveal the next section to be worked on.

Keep working in this manner until all of the quilting is done.

Additional Quilting Tips

When looking at the quilt think of it divided into quarters. Always work from the center out, finishing a quarter before moving on and rotating to the next one.  This makes it easier to manage with a home sewing machine.

Use basting pins, thread, or a basting gun.  Basting guns are wonderful for quilting.  They baste the quilt with little plastic tags, like the ones that carry the price tags onto clothing at Walmart.  

The tags used are called fasteners and are really inexpensive to buy as a refill for the gun.  1000 fasteners has lasted us over 2 years!  You can fine basting guns at reasonable prices at Fabric.comJoann’s and of course Walmart.

Using these little plastic tabs are a simple way to have easy machine quilting because the machine won't catch on the basting pins while the materials are being moved around.

Wrap Up

These steps ensure easy machine quilting.  Try them with a smaller quilt such as a twin size.  As your confidence grows, move on to using the sewing machine for larger sizes.  We’re sure it will be a lot less frustrating using the tips that have been given here. 

Remember to keep it fun and to take several breaks to avoid problems with staying in position for too long.

Until next time.

Happy quilting,

› Easy Machine Quilting
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