Simple Quilting with Straight Diagonal Lines

pink and blue quilted placemat with title"Quilting with straight diagonal lines".

Diagonal lines are a type of straight line quilting design with lines that do not go parallel to the edges of the quilt. A diagonal grid of 45* is a classic quilting design that is commonly used on traditional quilts.

But there are a lot of options for different angles. Use your piecing as inspiration.

Things to consider

There are limitless options for machine quilting straight diagonal lines. Think about what will work best with your quilt top.

1. Is there a natural grid?

If your quilt is square or made up of squares or blocks, there is a natural 45* angle line to follow. If your quilt is made up of rectangles, there will be a natural line at another angle.

2. Do I want a single direction or more than one direction?

Like with vertical lines, adding directions changes the whole feel of the quilt. The difference with diagonal lines is that there are unlimited options.

You can have 45* lines in two directions, or you can have multiple lines at many angles.

3. What kind of spacing?

Regular or grouped spacing gives different effects.

Design options

One direction

Diagonal lines in a single direction give a modern feel to a quilt.

quilt diagram with straight diagonal lines in one direction.

You can see this in the quilt Blue and White Log Cabin Sampler.

Two directions

Two direction 45* lines is a classic quilting design.

quilt diagram with diagonal lines in two directions.

Variable spacing

Either one direction or two directions can be mixed up with variable spacing.

quilt diagram with multiple diagonal lines in two directions.

Many directions

Another option is to just go with random lines in all directions. This would be most effective on a modern quilt with lots of negative space.

quilt diagram with random straight lines.

Helpful tips

  • Diagonal stitching lines usually go along the bias, so baste well.
  • Stitch at a moderate pace. Resist the urge to put the pedal down and go full speed. If you have a walking foot for your sewing machine, it will be helpful.
  • The same principles as vertical lines apply. Start stitching lines with 8-12″ of space to secure everything. Then go back and add lines in between.
  • Stitch one side, then turn and stitch the other side to avoid having the quilt bunched up in the throat of your machine.
  • Before starting any quilting, check out the tips in Getting Started with Simple Quilting.


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 – Variable Spacing in two directions

This design has 45* diagonal lines in both directions. The lines go one direction in the pink squares and the other direction in the blue squares. There is one line through the corners of the squares with a 1/2″ echo on either side.


Mark diagonal lines that will be stitched. Marking your quilt sandwich with a ruler and hera marker will leave a clear line without damaging the fabric.

marking diagonal stitching lines on a quilt top.


Begin by stitching the lines in one of the directions.

check placemat with diagonal quilting lines stitched in one direction.

Once the diagonal lines have been stitched, add echo lines on either side using a seam guide bar for reference.

stitching an echo line using a seam guide.
placemat with diagonal quilting lines in groups of three.

Once those lines are finished, repeat the process in the other direction.

placemat quilted with diagonal lines.

Once the quilting is done, just trim and add binding to finish it off.

pink and blue checked placemat quilted with straight diagonal lines.

Be sure to share a picture #simplequilting to inspire others.

Want more Simple Quilting?

Get the Simple Quilting ebook.

Finish your quilts quickly and easily on your domestic machine with ten simple quilting designs and hundreds of variations.

simple quilting book cover



See straight diagonal lines used in quilts.

blue and white log cabin sampler quilt.
Blue and White Log Cabin Sampler

Elizabeth DeCroos - Epida Studio.

Elizabeth DeCroos

Elizabeth DeCroos is the designer and teacher at Epida Studio. She loves to work in quilting, pojagi and embroidery and teach these techniques to others.
Learn more and get her to speak to your group.

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