Machine Quilting TutorialWednesday, February 06, 2008
Tutorial - prepping a quilt for machine quilting and suggestions for stipple or puzzle quilting a small patchwork quilt with a regular sewing machine
Anyone can learn to machine quilt. Much of machine quilting success is in prep of the quilt before going to the sewing machine. My method to prep the quilt involves using quilt spray that is non-gumming to the machine needle. I only quilt smaller baby, crib, or lap sized quilts with my regular machine because I feel this is all I can handle with good success. I know others quilt full-sized quilts on a regular machine but I limit myself to this for best results.
Machine quilting your own projects is a good skill that quilters at all levels can learn. Before attempting to “stipple” machine quilt your first quilt I recommend unthreading your machine and “pretend” quilting or practicing on paper. You need to drop the feed dogs and place the darning foot on the machine. Then, practice moving the paper around while stitching and create loops or a puzzle type pattern on the paper. You might want to then move on to hot pads or coasters to try machine quilting before moving onto a larger quilt. I think I made 50 potholders before I tried my first baby quilt. My first several quilts were quite amateur but with practice comes success and I have quilted over 500 small quilts myself with good results.
Your quilt back and batting should be larger, on all sides (1-3”), than the quilt top.
1. I use Sullivan’s Quilt Basting Spray to adhere the quilt layers together. There are several basting spray brands but I prefer Sullivan’s because it adheres best. Beware; the spray carries in the air so the area surrounding the quilt may become sticky. I have tried using drop cloths, rugs, and the driveway to lay out the fabric and batting layers for prepping. I have found that a sheet of wafer board (mine is 4x8 feet) works best to use as a work surface to prep small quilts. I place the wafer board over my table or countertop.
3. Fold the batting in half on top of itself while spraying the uncovered half of the quilt back with the basting spray.
6. Next lay the quilt top over the batting centering in the middle of the batting.
11. Turn the quilt around right side up and make any adjustments needed in the quilt top smoothing as necessary. You now have a quilt sandwich created by the 3 layers consisting of the quilt back, batting, and quilt top.
4. You may also use quilting gloves with grabber type backs that help you move your quilt around under the needle with less effort. I cut the fingertips out of my gloves so that I can also feel the fabric while quilting.
5. Alternatively you can use a walking foot and stitch in the ditch, outline, or create straight lines on your quilt. This is also a good method for beginners to quilt small quilts.
6. After you have completed quilting the entire quilt use a good light and check all areas of your stitching in both top and back. Clip loose threads from areas where you changed bobbins. If you have a wrinkle in the fabric you can try unpicking stitches in that area and smoothing out the wrinkle and then re-quilt that little area. Good Luck