If you only quilt, you probably have a bunch of fancy stitches on your sewing machine that you never use. Why not use them in quilting? It’s fun to do and looks great.
Things to consider
1. Will this detract from the piecing?
Decorative stitches attract attention, so they work best with simple piecing designs. If you have an intricately pieced top, decorative stitches might not be a good choice.
2. How heavy can the stitching be?
Some decorative stitches are quite dense. These can be used as long as you don’t have a high loft batting.
3. What type of thread do I want?
Since the stitching will already stand out, this is a fun time to use contrasting thread. Play with different thread weights and even variegated colours.
4. How much time will it take?
Some stitches take a long time to stitch up. Do a sample before you commit.
You can use decorative stitches with any straight line design. Options are unlimited, but these will get you started.
This classic quilting design is made more playful with decorative stitches.
You can see it in the quilt Scrappy Strips.
Sometimes having decorative lines cross each other is too much, but it depends on your stitch and thread choices.
- Do a stitch sample first. Sometimes they look different from the diagram.
- If you use specialty thread, you might have to adjust the tension. Use a regular thread in the bobbin.
- Even if you don’t have any decorative stitches on your machine, you can still use any utitlity stitches – even zig zag. You don’t need a high end machine with 100 options.
This sample is a small placemat, but the procedure would be the same for a quilt of any size.
Make your own quilting practice placemats with this Simple Placemat tutorial.
Design Option – Straight vertical lines with different stitches
This design is a way to play with many different stitches and see what they look like.
Mark the stitching line with a ruler and hera marker. The lines are in the middle of the squares.
Stitch along the marked line, centring the line with the sewing machine foot.
Stitch the lines on one side of the quilt.
Rotate and add the lines on the other side.
Add the lines in the other direction.
This stitching is pretty busy (especially with variegated thread). I don’t know if I would choose this on a large quilt. That’s why it’s good to do samples.
Once the quilting is done, just trim and add binding to finish it off.
Be sure to share a picture #simplequilting to inspire others.
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designer, teacher, speaker
Elizabeth enjoys doing all types of sewing and needlework and teaching others new techniques. Find out how to take a course or workshop.