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Tips for Machine Quilting

Posted by Quilting Bee on

Machine quilting doesn’t enjoy the same stitch-quality reputation hand quilting has. In fact, when machine quilting was first introduced, it wasn’t received well and was thought inferior to hand quilting. But now that quilting is given modernity touches, machine quilting is widely recognized and appreciated because of its several benefits. It is, for one, way faster to do. It can complete work for a fraction of time required in hand quilting. Aside from that, machine quilting can accommodate heavy-duty embellishment threads that would otherwise not be possible with hand quilting. This benefit, in effect, opens up more artistic possibilities.

The problem, however, is that some people are easily intimidated by just the sight of a machine and view machine quilting as too complicated. The truth is, machine quilting is easy to learn and with some practical tips, it is manageable. Following are some tips that can make machine quilting more fun and less laborious.
  1. Run a test. If you are yet unsure of how machine quilting goes, get a piece of fabric and practice machine quilting. Don’t be disheartened if the stitches are unsightly. You can adjust the tension setting, improve your rhythm, or reposition your hand. When you get the hang of it, the stitches will be more even and consistent. 

  2. Plan how your stitches would go. Planning ahead can keep you from making too many stops and starts. Visualizing the overall appearance of your quilt can also help you decide as you move along the project.

  3. Guide your quilt through the machine with a gentle and smooth sliding motion. Too much pressure in your hands will yield erratic movements and consequently irregular stitches. 

  4. Use an even-feed walking foot when making straight lines. To use this, roll the quilt into a tube, use bicycle clips or safety pins to secure the quilt, and stitch the center and work your way out to the edges. Alternatively, use a darning foot when making freehand quilting to do curved and other decorative stitches. Keep in mind, though, that doing freehand quilting is never perfect at first attempt and takes a lot of practice to come up with the desired stitches.

  5. Relax. Take your mind off the other parts of the quilt; instead, focus on the part under the needle and that which is next to come. It would also help you relax if you have a good working space, one that can provide you and the quilt enough room. Also, have a comfortable chair to rest your back well. When your back, neck, and arms are relaxed and your mind free of distractions, you can work longer and produce a better quilt. 

  6. Rest for a while. If your hand feels stiff, your back slightly aches, or your eyes seem to blur when machine quilting, the body calls for a rest. Take a break and move around. Don’t forget to shake your hands and shoulders, close your eyes, or look up from your work once in a while. Remember, fatigue is likely to show in your quilt. 

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