10 Steps To Stress-Free Machine Quilting

Let's Review 

10 Steps To Stress Free Machine Quilting

Machine quilting preparation begins before the quilt top is made and as it is constructed. Each step in making the quilt top design has a direct impact on machine quilting. 

Get help with the 10 Steps to Stress Free Machine Quilting Course.

    1- Fabric Preparation - Machine quilting is easier when fabric movement is minimized during quilting. It reduces pleats, stretching and fabric bunching.

    • wash - removes chemicals and pre shrinks cotton
    • starch - holds fabric fibers together and reduces stretch
    • Retayne, a dye fixative - helps prevent color bleeding

    2- Piecing Accuracy - Sew quilt tops with a durable stitch length and an adequate seam allowance that can withstand machine quilting.

    • seam allowance - 1/4-inch
    • stitch length - test 1.5 to 2.0 
    • quality thread - 2 or 3 ply long-staple cotton

    3- Pressing Matters - Reduce fabric bulk as much as possible. - Flat seam allowances make free motion quilting easier.

    • press seams open when possible
    • press without folds
    • pressing tools - wool mats, tailor’s pressing tools
    • pressing between each step/stage of machine quilting

    Get help with the 10 Steps to Stress Free Machine Quilting Course.

    Ruler quilt with 12 inch arc

    4- Batting Selection - Use quality batting for easy needle penetration and the correct batting type for end-use.

    • test, test, test
    • cheap batting may beard or seep through fabric fibers
    • learn how batting behaves for desired machine quilting "look"

    5- Basting Method - Which method is easy and helps make machine quilt hassle-free? How we baste a quilt will have an impact on the machine quilting experience. 

    • pins - basting pins are best applied on the fabric lengthwise grain
    • spray basting - use a spray made for quilting and less is more
    • fusible batting - requires heat application
    • running stitch - hand or machine stitch large stitches that will be removed after machine quilting is finished.

    6 - Quilt Stabilization - Reduce quilt top movement with stitch-in-ditch in selected areas. Use water-soluble thread to remove unwanted "stabilization" stitching.

    • minimize movement - easily move quilt while quilting
    • stabilize bias seams - reduces fabric movement
    • minimizes pleating on the back

    7 - Quilting Design Selection & Density - Select a design that continues the story of the quilt top design. Design can be the primary focus of the quilt or secondary. 

    • design choice to match skills
    • design works batting minimum quilting distance requirements
    • practice design on paper, quilt sandwich or orphan block
    • design complements or contrasts with quilt top pattern

    8 - Quilting Design Placement - Design placement can add pleasing texture across the surface of the quilt top.

    • create visual movement 
    • continue telling the quilt story 
    • create tension or a mood 

    9 - Thread, Color & Weight - quality machine quilting thread, color and weight to add to the quilts beauty

    Thread selection
    • thread color to blend or contrast with fabric colors
    • thread weight to create texture adds dimension
    • Thread weight to suit the quilting design
    • Thread color weight to suit the back of the quilt 
    • Color, weight to help tell the quilt story

    10 - Quilting Practice - Test the combination of batting options, basting methods, thread types and machine quilting design.

    • test on a fabric and batting sandwich
    • test on a quilt block
    • practice quilt pattern with paper and pen
    • test thread tension
    • examine stitch quality

    The Next Step

    We all have gaps or areas that need improvement. So, don't let those areas stop you from moving forward in starting or continuing in your machine quilting journey.

    Use these steps to review your machine quilting process. Make a shortlist of tasks, tools, or skills you want to learn, purchase or improve for each of the 10-steps. 

    1- Write your own steps for stress-free machine quilting. 

    Stress Free Machine Quilting

    Get help with the 10 Steps to Stress Free Machine Quilting Course.

    The course includes a community of quilters with similar goals. 

    What are the benefits of being in a community of quilters with similar goals? 

    • focus on specifics, like tools & techniques
    • get a different perspective with peer-to-peer help
    • reach goals quicker with accountability
    • share achievements for mutual encouragement

    2- Build confidence with the help of a machine quilting coach. Sign up for the Alphabet Design Course.

    Alphabet Design eBook Mini Course<

    Alphabet Design Course

    In the Mini-Course you will be a part of a community and have a quilting coach.  When you sign up for the Alphabet Design Course you get help with free-motion quilting in a supportive community and one-on-one help from the instructor.

     Learn more about the free motion quilting course.

    Categories: free motion quilting, machine quilting