You will need…
- Top fabric – light to medium weight, approximately 0.5 metre of 112cm wide fabric for samples
- Wadding – approximately 1 metre x 1 metre for samples
- Bottom fabric – light to medium weight, approximately 0.5 metre of 112cm wide fabric for samples
- Tacking or basting thread
- Threads – general machine thread for machine quilting or machine embroidery threads for free machining
- A fabric pen to transfer designs
The preparation of the three layers is the same for hand and machine quilting. A grid is one of the simplest designs to use. We have used a straightforward square grid.
Draw a square grid on the top fabric using a ruler and a fabric pen. Tack the three layers together ready for machining.
Using a long stitch, about 6 – 8 stitches per 2.5cm and you are ready to quilt. You can use a general machine foot or a roller foot if you have one. A roller foot is designed to roll over the fabric. The general rule is to quilt from the centre of your work outwards.
We stitched the first vertical row, followed by the first horizontal row and gradually worked our way to the outer edges.
We don’t like to waste our samples and made this one into a useful bag.
Free Machine Quilting
Free machine or free motion quilting can be very creative and effective when used to quilt fabrics. However, for someone new to the technique it can be quite exhilarating. We suggest initially you combine machine stitching with the general foot with free machine quilting.
Prepare your three layers by tacking them together in the usual manner.
We have used the general foot to stitch a large L shape, a square and a star. You can choose any shapes but simple shapes are usually the best ones when starting out on a new technique.
You will require a free machine embroidery foot (as shown in the picture). They are also available in clear plastic.
There are a few simple guidelines to free machine embroidery.
1. Attach the free machine embroidery foot.
2. Lower the teeth on your machine. Some older models may have a plate you can place over the teeth.
3. Set the tension dial to 0.
4. Place your piece to be quilted under the free machine embroidery foot and lower the presser foot. Although there is no tension you still need to lower the presser foot when you start sewing. Bring the bottom thread onto the surface by turning the balance wheel and lay the top and bottom threads to the back of your work. Work a few stitches and cut the threads on the surface. You don’t want the threads to tangle on the surface.
You are now ready to create a work of art. It will be an unusual experience because you have the freedom to move the fabric and you are not constricted by a foot holding the fabric in place. Begin with small squiggly lines until you get used to the freedom of movement.
Now try working circles. You can work each circle several times, it will enable you to practice your skill in manouvering the fabric freely.
Sketch a design using straight lines to use with the general sewing foot and curved lines to use with the free machine embroidery foot. We used geometric shapes and flowers.
Why not use your sample to create a simple cushion to show off your new skills.
Or use your straight line quilting skills to make a pretty clutch.