Free Motion Quilting

Free motion quilting can be done on your home sewing machine. Using this method you can easily write your name, draw curly Q’s, or color in an area as seen below.

Free motion quilting does not have to be precise.


Doodling or meandering with free motion quilting.

Free motion quilting is done using your machine, dropping your sewing machine feed dogs and attaching your darning foot. Your stitch length is no longer determined by the machine (no “feeding” by feed dogs) but by how fast your hands move your fabric and the speed of the needle going up and down. This takes some practice producing an even stitch length throughout the project. Sometimes I also like to use a “slider” on my machine to help the fabric move more freely.  If you would like to purchase the supreme slider for free motion quilting, click here.

Learn how free motion quilting is done using a sewing machine and a darning foot.

NOTE:  to enlarge the video, click the PLAY button, then click the full-screen icon at the bottom right of the video.

Transcript of video download:

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TRANSCRIPT: Free Motion Quilting, Encyclopedia

Here is my pinned basted quilt. I’m ready to do some free motion quilting on it.

Some people call free motion quilting stippling or meandering.

I’m ready to do some free motion quilting on this quilt here.

First I’ve pinned the top, the batting and the back together.

I’ve actually done some stitching in the ditch to stabilize each one of these blocks.

You don’t have to do that when you free motion quilt; that’s just the way I’m doing this design.

The free motion quilting on this quilt is going to go in these light red spots.

Before I do that quilting I need to draw that out on a piece of paper to decide exactly how big the meander was going to be, because I didn’t put a whole lot of quilting in this quilt as I am using a big meander.

It’s up to you what design you want to use.

I’m going to take my regular foot off and I’m going to add the darning foot.

Most sewing machines come with a darning foot; if not you can order them.

This one has a little circle on it; some of them have squares.

In order to do free motion quilting you are going to need that darning.  In fact, you’re also going to need to drop these feed dogs.

On my machine you just drop these feed dogs by moving a lever.

On another one of my machines, I take a plate (just like this plate) and I put it on top of this plate.

I really don’t lower the feed dogs rather I raised the plate.

So you will have to look at your sewing machine manual to see which way is is right.

So now I am ready to do my stippling or my free motion quilting.

I am going to start down here at the bottom just because I like to start in the in the bottom.

I don’t have to worry that this is going to move around because it’s pretty much been quilted all the way through.
So the first thing I do is I take and lower my pressure foot and I’m going to pull up the threads; the bobbin thread from the bottom.

I like to do that because i don’t want these these threads to get caught up in this stitching.

So I will lower my pressure foot and I will take a couple stitches in place.

The other thing i’d like to do is ….if you notice my needle is up here now… I like my needle to go down and at all times be in that … what I call a needle down position.

On my sewing machine, I can make that needle always go down.
On other sewing machines you’ll just have to fool with your needle to get it in that position.

Now I am ready to to do my free motion quilting.

I want to get this safety pin out of the way now….Notice I put my hands like an embroidery hoop around the place where I am going to be stitching.

I am ready to go.

So you see I am stitching to the side. I don’t have to stitch forward. I can stitch any which way.

And my hands… I have stopped because my hands pretty much need to be the around where I am stitching….

They only work for so long…so you see, I probably need to move these hands up a little bit more.

So I am aiming for this corner here because when you free motion stitch or any time you are stitching on the machine you don’t want to start and stop.

By starting and stopping I mean I don’t want to stop and knot here and then re-knot again.

I want to do a continuous line. So I’m gonna keep my hands around here and I am just going to work this design.

I am pretty far up there (on the quilt top). My hands are down here so I want to stop.

How am I making the stitches? The stitches are being made by the way I pull this fabric and by the speed.

So if I’m going really fast and I am pulling the fabric or really fast (CORRECTION – PULLING SLOW), the stitches are gonna be small.

If I go really slow and I’m not pulling the fabric very much (CORRECTION – PULLING FAST), then the stitches are going to be long.

So you just have to practice that. So here I go ….. and that’s how you free motion.



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