Freestyle quilting on my regular Sewing Machine

Posted by Alfonsina Uriburu on

Free-motion quilting FMQ is quilting using a domestic sewing machine (as opposed to a long arm quilt machine) to stitch a quilt sandwich without the aid of the feed dogs. Sometimes there is confusion with the terms “free-hand quilting” and “freestyle quilting,” which refer to quilting without a drawn pattern.


Yes, You Can Free-Motion Quilt on a Regular Sewing Machine!

Do I need a single foot for this?

Since the standard sewing presser foot is made to work directly with your feed dogs, you'll need an individual foot to use for free-motion quilting. If your machine does not come with a free-motion foot, you can get a generic darning foot that's made to fit most sewing machines.

Come up with a quilting plan before you start.

Start with a paper making a drawing of what you like to quilt. A filler design and then for more complicated designs will give you some confidence on the sewing machine.

You'll thank yourself if you take a beat and give yourself a test run or two before jumping into that queen-sized quilt.

Making a few practice samples: two 10-inch or larger scraps of fabric with a layer of batting in between. You can play with different thread combinations, try out a variety of batting types, check your tension and stitch a few designs to see how they look. Keep these samples as a reference and make notes along the way.

When you're happy with your results, make a small project such as a potholder, table runner or baby quilt, and give it away. (No one has to know that your excellent homemade gift was just a practice sample.)

Be nice to yourself

Here's the thing: nobody was born already good at FMQ. Needing to work hard and practice — maybe a lot! — To get good at this is normal. So cut yourself some slack. Your first completed quilt may not be perfect, but it's yours. And the next one will be even better.

Here are five free-motion quilting tips to help you start on your home sewing machine.
    1. Take the time to baste your quilt correctly.
    2. Choose a comfortable, allover free-motion quilting texture that doesn't require marking.
    3. Stitch in the ditch before moving into free-motion techniques.
    4. Quilt all of one color first.
    5. Put on a fresh needle and re-thread your top thread.
Super important rule: always put a fresh needle on before you start free-motioning your project. I prefer working with topstitch needles for free-motioning as they are a bit stronger than your average needle.
The larger surface you can quilt on, the better

When you’re free-motioning on your home sewing machine, you’re controlling your quilt sandwich using your fingers or fists, and the larger the surface you have for doing this, the better. And you don’t necessarily have to have a drop-in sewing table to have a large surface to quilt.
Stretch! Free-motion quilting is hard work!
Posture is super important when you’re free-motion quilting, but even with the perfect position, it’s vital to get up and stretch your muscles when you’re free-motion quilting.
Happy quilting!

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