Quilting with a machine can be tricky at first, but it is still a good way to quilt if you don’t have a quilting machine. It can seem a bit daunting to do, and you may find yourself asking: can you quilt with a regular sewing machine? There are two ways to quilt with a sewing machine: you can either do a straight line or free motion quilting. Straight line quilting is good for creating stitches in a straight line or with slight curves, while free motion quilting is more open and allows for sharper turns. Below you will find some tips for quilting on a sewing machine using both of these methods.
Tips for quilting on a sewing machine
You will want to start with a project no larger than 50 inches when starting out. Starting off too ambitiously can be overwhelming and more complex than you may be ready for. You will also want to avoid a tiny project so you won’t have the worry of your fingers near the needle. This will help to prevent injuries by keeping your hands a safe distance from the needle.
Drop your feed dogs
Feed dogs are the small teeth under the plate that feed the fabric through into the needle area. You do not want the feed dogs moving while quilting because it will prevent you from being in control of your fabric. If you have trouble stopping the feed dogs, you can also opt for changing the stitch length to 0. This is similar to putting buttons on, you don’t want the fabric to move while you do it.
You don’t want to start with anything too difficult that will frustrate you. For example, designs where you need to cross lines multiple times will be tricky until you get the hang of things. If you do decide to tackle a tough design that requires you to cross lines, I would suggest adding a loop. You will also be able to learn how to control the length of the stitch and how to move the fabric.
Safety pins are a great way to help you smooth out and hold the fabric together when getting started. It will give the quilt stiffness, assisting you as you quilt through the fabric. Once you become more advanced, you will find no pins to be the best solution. You won’t have to stop to unpin, but you will still need to stop to move the fabric around, just not as frequently.
Free Motion Quilting
Things you need for free-motion quilting:
- First you will need to lower the feed dogs or remove the feed dogs so the quilter can be in control of the quilt sandwich as it is guided through the machine.
- The stitch length is determined by how fast the sewing machine is run.
- You will need a free motion foot, also known as a darning foot, or a foot similar to that.
Cover the feed dogs
If you can’t remove the feed dogs, you will want to cover them. A popular way to cover them is with a supreme slider. A supreme slider is a special material made of plastic that temporarily covers the feed dog on your machine. The supreme slider will also help your fabric move along its slippery surface as you quilt. You will then want to change the stitch length to 0. Some machines even work better with this technique.
Free Motion Foot
A free motion foot lifts and lowers so that there is less movement of the fabric while quilting. This is important in quilting to make sure your fabric stays in place when you need it to.
Straight Line Quilting
Straight line quilting on a sewing machine is done by using a regular presser foot and walking foot. The walking foot grips the top of the quilt and guides it through the machine at the same speed as the back of the quilt which is moved by the feed dogs. While the quilt is guided through the machine, the layers of the quilt (quilt sandwich) are kept from shifting apart while the quilt is sewn. The walking foot allows for slight curves, but if you desire sharper curves you will need to do free motion quilting.
Can You Quilt with a Regular Sewing Machine?
I hope this answers your question of “can you quilt with a regular sewing machine” or not. Put simply, the answer is yes, but it can be tricky to pull off. Depending on your project, it can be done with straight line quilting or with free motion quilting on a sewing machine. While straight line quilting is great for projects with little to no bending, free motion quilting allows the sewer more range over what kind of turns they can do. Remember all of the tips and tricks listed above to adjust accordingly for what is best for you.