Simple Quilting with Wavy Diagonal Lines

green and blue checked placemat with title "quilting with wavy diagonal lines".

Sometimes wavy diagonal lines are the perfect choice for finishing your quilt top. If your quilt has points that go across the quilt, but not in a perfectly straight line, these can be used as “landmarks” for stitching.

Wavy random lines give a modern feel to a quilt and are easy to sew.

Things to consider

1. Do I want the lines in a single direction, two directions or many directions?

Just like with straight diagonal lines, wavy lines can go in whatever direction you want.

2. Is there a focal point?

If there is a focal point on the quilt, you might want to have all the lines go through that point to bring attention to it.

3. Do I want regular lines or random?

Spacing of the lines can be whatever you want. Regularly spaced lines give a more structured look, and random lines are more playful.

Design options

There are limitless design options, but here are some ideas to get you started.

One direction

Wavy lines meandering in one direction on a quilt top often give the impression of waves or wind.

quilt diagram with wavy diagonal lines in one direction.

You can see it in the sample quilt Red and Aqua Log Cabin Sampler.

Two directions

This playful variation of cross-hatching gives a modern look to a traditional design.

quilt diagram with wavy diagonal grid lines.

Many directions

This quilting design works well with modern improv quilts.

quilt diagram with random wavy diagonal lines.

Helpful tips

  • There is a difference between wavy lines and curves. Keep the line generally in the same direction, but gently sway back and forth as it is stitching.
  • Try to avoid sharp turns. It’s like changing lanes when you are driving. You don’t turn dramatically.
  • Make sure the basting is secure. This quilt design requires a lot of movement of the quilt.
  • Take your time. These lines will be going on the bias, so stitching too quickly could easily stretch the quilt. Be especially careful if you don’t have a walking foot.
  • Relax and have fun. Wavy lines are by nature organic and unique. Trying to make them too uniform will just add stress.
  • Check out these general quilting tips.


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 – One direction, random varied spacing

This design has randomly spaced lines stitched at 45* in one direction.


Mark a few lines at a 45* angle. You do not need to mark every line. A quilting ruler and hera marker make this easy.

marking diagonal quilting lines on a quilt top with a ruler and hera marker.


Using the marks as reference, stitch the lines, gently moving back and forth to either side of the line.

wavy diagonal quilting lines stitched on a checked placemat.

After the marked lines have been stitched, add as many more lines as you desire. You can just eyeball the angle.

quilt quilted with wavy diagonal lines.

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

blue and green checked placemat with wavy 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



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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