An archive of sewing tutorials and inspiration


Machine Quilting Video Tutorial - Beginner's Quilting Tutorial Series

This post is part of the Beginner's Quilting Tutorial Series. We are going through an in depth series which will teach you everything you need to know to establish a solid quilting foundation. Click here to see all of the posts and learn more about the series. Last week for our Beginner's Quilting Series I gave you a basic introduction to Machine Quilting. We discussed Straight Line Quilting and Free Motion Quilting. For our Easy Pezzy Crib Quilt we are going to be using a method called Outline Quilting. Outline Quilting is similar to stitch in the ditch, but you will quilt lines parallel to your seam lines, and using the edge of your presser foot, or a quilting bar you will stitch 1/8" to 1/4" from the seam line on both sides of each seam. I have prepared a basic video tutorial to show you how quilt using the outline quilting method. This is my very first video tutorial, so it may be a work in progres :)

Outline Quilting

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In the video when I mention flipping the quilt and working on the opposite side, I wanted to clarify. You want to alternate directions when sewing. Top to Bottom, Bottom to Top, Top to Bottom etc. So when I finished stitching I actually flipped the quilt around and started quilting on the side where I had just finished quilting.

Quilting Troubleshooting

So everyone runs in to issues at some point. I do as well, so I wan't to talk about some of the common issues you may have when straight line quilting, and some tips to help.

Backing fabric puckers when quilting

This can happen for a few reasons like stitching on the bias of the fabric, and sometimes it absolutely doesn't make sense why its happening! Try some of these tips…
  • Be sure to use a Walking Foot
  • If you are pin basting be sure your backing is taut the whole time and you use a TON of pins
  • If you are spray basting also be sure your backing is taut, and consider adding a few pins as well
  • Check your stitch length, a short stitch length can cause puckering. Try 3+ in length.
  • Alternate directions when sewing. Top to Bottom, Bottom to Top, Top to Bottom etc.
  • Check your machines foot pressure. When quilting you need to drop the pressure on the presser foot. If it is too tight you will get puckering.

Stitches are really short, but your stitch length is at 3+

Again this could be happening because of a few reasons.
  • Make sure your quilt is not hanging of the edge of the table or stuck on your sewing machine extension table. Also be sure the quilt is not hitting your wall when quilting. If you quilt is hanging at all it could put weight on the quilt causing your stitches to lag and be very short.
  • Try Using a Supreme Slider, this reduces the friction and drag on the quilt
  • Slow down, when using a walking foot you wan't to go much slower than a FMQ foot
You may run into problems I did not address, so please feel free to email me and ask away! If I don't know the answer I will find someone who does :)

Burying your Thread Tails

Once you have your entire quilt quilted, we will need do something with your thread tails. Whenever you stop and start quilting on your quilt you will want to leave your thread tails nice and long. If you are quilting off the edge of the quilt you wont need to worry about this. I do not suggest you ever back stitch when quilting your quilt. However you don't want to just chop your thread tail down, because you run the risk of your thread coming out when washing. So I always bury my thread tails. This video tutorial will show you an easy way to bury your threads tails.

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So what do you do if your thread brakes while sewing and your thread tails are too short? Well you may not like this, but you will want to carefully pull your thread out enough to tie off your knot and bury your threads. Then begin stitching again where you left off. I hope this was helpful, please let me know if you have any questions. Next week we will square up our quilts, and learn about some different binding methods.
Alyssa Williams

Alyssa Williams

Creator of Pile O' Fabric

Alyssa Lichner is a graphic designer turned avid sewist. She writes modern quilting tutorials and shares techniques and inspiration on her blog, Pile O’ Fabric. Alyssa has a passion for exploring different techniques and applying them to modern designs. She is thankful to have the opportunity to share these techniques, through her tutorials, patterns, and classes with quilters around the world. She always encourages her readers and students to challenge themselves to try new things and to approach quilting with a fearless attitude.