Tip – Free Motion Quilting Tips

Here’s my list, in order of importance, of what you need to keep in mind when free motion quilting! Shared by Jo B.

  1. Have fun doing it!
  2. Practice, practice, practice!
  3. Nothing about free motion quilting needs to be perfect.
  4. Make up some workable sized sandwiches (not the kind you eat, although, that may help… chocolate is good!)….10”-20” squares, pinned together so you can do #2!
  5. Refer back to #1
  6. Next refer back to #3
  7. Repeat the above steps till you get it…..

Now for some more practical, but not necessarily more important matters:

  1. Attach your free motion, or darning foot
  2. Drop the feed dogs
  3. For practice, use a contrasting thread to your fabric
  4. Start with cotton thread, then move to the decorative threads when you’re comfortable with the technique
  5. Check your tension frequently and adjust as needed. If you see the top thread as a straight line lying on top of the fabric with loops of the bobbin going around it, the top is TOO TIGHT…loosen the top tension. If you see the opposite on the back of your piece, the the top is TOO LOOSE…tighten the top tension. If adjusting just the top isn’t getting good results, then fiddle with your bobbin tension…refer to your manual as to how to do it.
  6. To start, hold your top thread in your left hand, take ONE stitch only to bring up the bobbin thread…do this by giving your top thread a little tug. Then pull the bobbin thread all the way up and put both threads under the foot and behind you. Take a few mini stitches to lock the two threads. After you’ve quilted away from the starting point, clip the threads. This keeps you from quilting the tail into the back.
  7. Keep your hands, shoulders and neck relaxed. Use any tools that may help you keep a grip on the fabric and make it easier for you to move it around. (I’ve heard wine helps)
  8. Try to keep the stitch length consistent. The speed of the needle (your foot on the pedal) and the speed with which you move the fabric determine the stitch length. If the stitches are small, then either speed up the movement of the fabric, or slow down the speed of the needle with your foot. If the stitches are too big, then do the opposite.
  9. For a pattern that has points, you must actually stop at the point before moving in the opposite direction.
  10. For good looking curves, practice going in a smooth movement . . . no jerking around!
  11. Jerking around is OK…if that is the desired effect….it’s your quilting. Do as you like!
  12. Now go back to the first 7 steps in order of importance, memorize them and do it!