I love straight line quilting, it works so well on so many quilts, and it’s so easy! The possible
combinations of straight lines are endless. I love it so much I wrote a book Stitching Through the Layers; The Art and Elegance of Straight Line Stitching.
You will need a walking or even feed foot: The purpose of these feet is to feed all the layers at the same time, this makes machine quilting smoother and pucker-free. I think of them as feed dogs (those teeth under the needle) for the top. If your machine did not come with a walking foot, you will need to purchase one. To help reduce any shifting of the layers, check to see if your machine will allow you to reduce the presser foot pressure.
Start in the center and work out to the edges as much as possible. If you’re simply doing vertical or horizontal lines over the entire surface of the quilt, sew the first line down the center and work your way out to the right.
Marking quilts has never worked very well for me. But there’s tape. I have it in sizes from 1/4" up to 3". You can lay sizes next to each other to make whatever distance you choose between your lines. I will use any masking or painters tape that I need. I know that many people just use painters tape, and the low tack can be important, but I think that it is more important to have a tape color that contrasts well with the quilt. It is easier to see when you're quilting. The trick to “tape” is to NEVER leave it on your quilt over night. With tape, a walking foot and your imagination, you're set to go.
The first step is to place the first piece of tape. Small quilts are easy, for a large quilt setting that first line can be tricky. I use my longest ruler which is 24” long and move it only 12” at a time, that way half of the ruler in still on the old line. Making sure that first placement is straight is important because all the lines will build off of that first one. I lay my tape where I want it, and take out any of the basting pins that are in the way.
If I was going to do a row of straight lines I would reposition my tape along the stitching line and sew again repeating the process across the quilt. You will have to replace the tape eventually when it isn't sticky enough to maintain a line.
I like the accuracy of sewing with the needle right next to the tape, but sometimes I sew on the tape. I don’t seem to mind removing an occasional bit of sewn tape with tweezers. If stitching on the tape bothers you, consider positioning your walking foot next to the tape.
Remember to sew on both sides of the tape before you remove it!
For perfect half inch spacing use the outside edge of the walking foot. If your sewing machine allows you to adjust the needle position, using it gives more variety without any extra effort. I often use a combination of tape and the edge of the walking foot!
Don’t stress with the process, remember to breath! I like the look of lines that aren’t perfect. I do try to keep them from looking too messy. Depending on how densely you quilt it can be time quite consuming (take breaks! You don’t have to finish quilting all at one time!). The end results are wonderful. Have fun playing with straight lines!
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Win a copy of my book! Post on my blog why you quilt in three words or less! Be sure to include contact info, and I will mail the winner an autographed copy! Winner will be chosen on Sunday March 26th.
This is now closed! Dolores Plouffe won.