Tips for Machine Quilting
- Start with smaller projects such as placemats, table runners, or baby quilts or with quilt-as-you-go projects (these are quilted in smaller sections and then joined together at the end, so you don't have to deal with a giant project at your little sewing machine).
- Start with projects that are quilted along long straight seams. This is also known as ''stitching in the ditch''. This way you don't have to worry about marking all of your quilting lines or turning your work a lot.
- Use tape to secure your backing to the floor. Lay the batting on top of this making sure that it is nice and smooth and then lay the quilt top on top of this, creating a ''quilt sandwich''.
- Make sure that your quilt is squared up. To do this, measure from one corner to the opposite corner (across the diagonal). Repeat for the other two corners. These measurements should be the same.
- Start basting the three layers together at the centre of the quilt and then work your way out to the sides and to the top and bottom. Always smooth out the top toward the sides or the top and bottom, NOT along the diagonal, as this can cause the quilt to stretch on the ‘bias' and make your corners less than 90 degrees.
- DO LOTS OF BASTING. Whether you are using long running stitches or curved safety pins, the quilt should be basted every 4''. This will help ensure your finished quilt is nice and flat.
- Quilt from the centre of the quilt and work your way out to the sides and top and bottom.
- Use a quilting needle. These needles are specially designed to go through the multiple layers of fabric and batting.
- Use a walking foot for long straight lines of quilting.
- Use a darning foot and drop your feed dogs for free-motion quilting (this is a more advanced technique).
- In the needle, use thread that matches the quilt top and in the bobbin use thread that matches the back of the quilt.
- Check your bobbin. Periodically check to see if your bobbin is running out. It can be very frustrating to have to stop and start in the middle of a long run of stitching.
- Try to avoid overlapping previous quilting. This can lead to little ''tucks'' or ''pleats'' on the top or back of your quilt and you may not see the ones on the back until you're finished.
- Avoid over-quilting. The more quilting you do, the stiffer your quilt becomes. Pay attention to minimum quilting requirements as determined by the specific batting you are using.