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.
Diagonal lines in a single direction give a modern feel to a quilt.
You can see this in the quilt Blue and White Log Cabin Sampler.
Two direction 45* lines is a classic quilting design.
Either one direction or two directions can be mixed up with variable spacing.
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.
- 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.
Begin by stitching the lines in one of the directions.
Once the diagonal lines have been stitched, add echo lines on either side using a seam guide bar for reference.
Once those lines are finished, repeat the process in the other direction.
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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See straight diagonal lines used in quilts.
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.