How to Use Quilting Stencils

How to Use Quilting Stencils

When it comes to quilting, the possibilities and resources to use are various, which is one of the reasons for which there are so many into this particular hobby.

What are quilting stencils?

A quilting stencil is a template you use for tracing various designs onto the top of your quilt before you start quilting.

The templates come with cut grooves that give a particular pattern and design. The slots are going trace, resulting into lines on your fabrics. You use the tracks for knowing where to sew.

It’s common for the designs to be a bit more complicated, which is why using them helps you obtain beautifully designed quilts.

There are many ways to use quilting stencils. You may use them for filling in the negative space, for adding a centerpiece, cover a quilt with an edge to edge design, or even create a specific border.

After you trace them, you may stitch the patterns with the machine or by hand- it’s up to you.

How to use the quilt stencils- at a glance

If you’re looking for the shortest guide, here’s a useful overview:

  • Gather the supplies you need for the job: quilting stencil, finished quilt top, and various marking tools
  • Baste the batting, the top, and the backing together
  • Figure out where you’re going to learn your stenciling. Do you want an edge from one side to the other side? Is a medallion in the center something that you want? Or you’d like to have a centered border instead?
  • Put the stencil on the top of your quilt, making sure it’s square and straight.
  • Use a marking tool for tracing the stencil. You may have to repeat and reposition at times.

What’s the best way to use the quilt stencils?

You should use a water-soluble marking pen or any fabric marker for your quilting stencils. The stencils come in various sizes and shapes, and so do the marking tools.

Remember that there’s no shame in using all the tools you need for quilting easier. For instance, you can find a tape that helps you master the spacing of your stitches evenly, which counts so much for any beginner. You’re lining up the tape along the area you plan on stitching, guiding yourself with the markings on the tape so that your stitches stay in line. Nobody says that you shouldn’t use all the tools you need for getting better results.

Even most beautiful quilts aren’t perfect, and it’s vital that you try and spend an excellent time while working. Practice makes perfect, after all!

  • Use the right pencils/pens for marking

There are various types of pens and pencils for marking the stitching lines. Some go for the colored lead pens/pencils, whereas others work better with a chalk marker. It’s a matter of what works better for you. A fine-point permanent marking pen is easy to use, and it’s not difficult to wash it out. A blue water-soluble marking pen on light fabrics and a white pen for dark ones are great solutions to have around.

  • Stitch on the lines

No matter the stencil you’re using (how straightforward or complicated it may appear), it’s always better that you follow the instructions on the package.

Quilting stencils feature a small road map (it’s typically on the top left-hand corner), showing you where you’re going. It may not be apparent for you where you should start, continue, or finish up. To give you an example, when a stencil comes with “S” design, you’re supposed to make a continuous design line.

You may give it a try first to see if the hand quilting is for you or not. You don’t have to get the perfect results from the first trial- it’s going to get better in time. Use a nice quilting thread for the stitching.

For some, the stitches aren’t even that important. One may go for the childlike stitches for their work.

  • Pay attention to washing

When you’re using a washable marker, it’s essential that you don’t press nor put your quilt in the dryer until every marking has been washed out. It depends on the trademarks, but some may set with the heat and removing them is going to be quite a challenge. You can always stay on the safe side and use cold water for washing the markings.

Don’t rush out into it and wash the top of your quilt with a damp cloth until all the markings are gone. Let your quilt air dry and remove it once more when not all of the trademarks are gone.

One last suggestion

When you’re using a simple quilting design, it’s going to take you a couple of days or a week to finish a small quilt (it depends on your skills, determination, and time you have for quilting). You can always make your very own stencils on paper, tracing it to template plastic afterward. You can alter the size (smaller or larger) on a copier and printing it out before using it.

Keep in mind that your stitches don’t need to be perfect; small and straight stitches are ideal but don’t beat yourself up if you don’t get it always as planned. You don’t even have to densely quilt, as Xs and straight lines give excellent results just as well.

Don’t ever undermine the beauty of hand quilting as it gives a special feeling to any quilt. When your stitching isn’t perfect, stop worrying! Antique doll quilts’ beauty didn’t come from the excellent stitching. Quilting is also about the whole process, not only about perfect stitching!

Other resources

How to Use Stencils When Quilting | Learn To Quilt on Craftsy

A Sentimental Quilter: Quilting with Stencils

Quilting stencils for outlining quilting designs, UK

How to Use Quilting Rulers

How to Use Quilting Rulers

It doesn’t matter the level of your quilting skills; a quilting ruler is fundamental for obtaining the best results. Not only that rulers guide better accuracy on your work, but they also come in a great variety of models which makes them even more critical on any quilting project.

An entry-level quilter may get overwhelmed by the diversity of rulers out there, but he/she should be focused and get to know a thing or two about rulers. After all, they’re supposed to help you get better at quilting.

What are quilter rulers?

Anyone quilting for a while now knows that there are many elements to address to obtain the results you want. The various techniques and the necessary tools to use for quilting are only some of the things you need to learn about when quilting.

One of the aspects you can never undermine when quilting is the accuracy. It’s fundamental when piecing the top of your quilt, but that’s only one of the many examples to note. You only need a few inches off for your pieces not to match, resulting into a big messy look for your quilt. Fine adjustments and perfect matching are essential for your quilting. It’s going to take some practice until you discover which technique is going to work the best for you. There are no ideal ways, and any quilter is going to develop in time special skills for getting the accuracy the quilter needs when quilting.

When you’re cutting, a mat, a rotary cutter, and a ruler are going to be fundamental. The quilting rulers are unique as they’re designed to work only for quilting.

Most of the rulers out there are made of clear acrylic and come with essential information on every side. Rectangles, triangles, and squares are very popular in the quilting world, but the variety of shapes is very generous.

What’s the best ruler for a beginner?

A 6.5×24” ruler is a perfect option for an entry-level quilter. It’s easy to use for cutting yardage as it has the same length as the fabric. Cutting the fabric in half or strips is comfortable to do when using this type of ruler as you’re not going to have to move the ruler around very much.

But it’s not enough for using a ruler as you also need to know how to read the information on the ruler. If you do it right, you may get even better results.

As the information is printed on both sides (in the case of acrylic rulers), you also have to get accustomed to the ruler’s layout for cutting correctly. A patented double color grid gives clarity to the ruler and eases out the reading on both light and dark fabric.

The etched squares should be 1″ each, helping you cut straight line easy. The tick marks inside the square go as low as 1/8″.

Diagonal lines help you when cutting different angles for triangles or other shapes; you want your ruler to come with diagonal lines as well. You typically turn the ruler opposing the fabric for cutting corners. You continue with lining up the edge of your diagonal with the side of the material. You’re done!

The second ruler for a beginner

The more you quilt, the better you’re going to get at it and expanding your quilting kit is the right thing to do. You should also add four square rulers (4.5″X4.5″, 6″X6″, 9.5″X9.5″ and 12.5″X12.5″) to your kit.

When you have more than just one size for the rulers, the cutting system is going to run smoother. You can try various types of cuts in all sorts of sizes and angles, without worrying about your accuracy.

Even if the 6.5×24” is versatile and can handle almost everything in quilting, some other rulers that work for the smaller details are going to count to. After all, you’re aiming for best results every single time!

How to use other shapes of rulers?

One can only ask what’s the difference between the rectangular and the square rulers. The triangle ruler sounds complicated to use as well.

Let’s take a closer look at each of them:

  • Rectangle rulers

They’re great to use when cutting strips or trimming the edges of the fabric. When you want to obtain some short pieces and secondary cutting, a small rectangle ruler is going to be a reliable option.

You can also use this type of rulers for cutting yardage. They can be long, so make sure you don’t wiggle it as you may end up with an uneven cut. Put your hand near the bottom, moving it to the middle when you get to the halfway.

  • Triangle rulers

You may use triangle rulers for cutting half-square and quarter-square triangles. They ensure the fastest and easiest way to cut angles or triangles.

  • Square rulers

Cutting strips or squaring quilt blocks is easier when using square rulers. You can also use them fot cutting angles, with the little ones being crucial for cutting blocks or units.

  • Curvy rulers

This type of rulers is dependable for making curvy log cabin quilts or other less common shapes.

Some useful tips for the road

There’s no such thing as knowing how to use the quilting rulers too well, so here are some tips to keep in mind:

Rulers should come with noticeable and easy to read markings

Most rulers come with 45-degree angle line

Double-check the new ruler for accuracy

Get an acrylic ruler as it’s going to last for a reasonable amount of time.

Many rulers feature, so it’s easier for you to hang it on a wall mounted pegboard.

Using a ruler gives you both speed and precision. Learn how to get the best out of it!

Related posts

How to Use Quilting Stencils

Other resources

How to choose the perfect quilters ruler – Arteza.com

Quilting Basics 13: Ruler Foot Quilting for Beginners – Free Motion Quilting Project

Getting The Most Of Your Acrylic Rulers – Quilting Board

Quilting Rulers that Make you Lazy

How to Use Quilting Pantographs

How to Use Quilting Pantographs

Pantographs involve a perpetual line design that is printed on a long piece of paper. You don’t know the length of the longarm frame, so it’s better that you don’t cut the pantograph design to a smaller size. You should leave it full-size, folding the excess out so that you can work better.

Let’s start with some tips!

If this is your first time working with a pantograph, you should stick to the patterns that don’t include any sharp angles nor travel back over themselves.

When you decide on directional patterns, it’s essential that you load the quilt the right way. As for the sizing, keep in mind that partial rows are easy to fix and difficult to avoid.

You can choose the pantograph size according to the size of your quilt top, and you should run the numbers accurately (the size of the quilt top, the size of the piecing and so on).

What are the steps to follow?

Being meticulous is one of the secrets when it comes to quilting, so, without any further ado, scroll down to learn about the steps to take when using pantographs for your quilt:

1. Load the quilt

You need to make sure that the machine is in the basting mode and that the zip is on the backing. The thread baste batting has to be in the horizontal lock, whereas the thread bastes quilt top goes along the top and the sides.

Even though it’s tempting, never use pins for basting when using pantographs. You end up constantly checking the pantograph, and it’s only a matter of time until the needle breaks over a pin.

You should drop the needle in the upper left corner of the top quilt (use the needle position button for the job). Turn on the laser light as well.

2. Time to load the pantograph

You continue with loading the pantograph onto the back table, right under plastic, lining up along the straight edge of the table.

You need to adjust the laser light so that it lines up with the lowest point from the first row of the design horizontally. It’s essential to fix it so that it’s easy for you to see where you need to hold the machine. Try to stand straight up, maintaining the pantograph lined up against the edge of the table.

You also need to adjust the laser vertically, using the starting end of the pantograph. You need to move the pantograph left to right for so that you can access the better points.

Don’t hesitate to use the ruler for better accuracy and make sure the paper panto remains lined up against the edge of the table — Double-Check before moving forward.

3. Choose and mark the starting point/ending point

You can use a clear ruler for marking your starting point. You need to do it for every single row if the pattern has more than just one row. The post-its are great to use for drawing fill-in.

Continue with raising the needle, dropping it in the right corner (upper one) of your top quilt. Use the clear ruler once again for deciding and marking the ending point. Again use the post-its if necessary.

You should drop the needle in the first starting point, identifying the start point for the last row. When the pattern doesn’t include a previous row, you drop the needle with the starting point of first full row.

4. Go to the front/back of the machine

You have to feed the bobbin thread, lock the stitches and remove the thread tails. Go to the regulated mode as well.

Once you’re done, go back to the back of your machine and start quilting, following the path. You should drop the needle when you get to the ending point. Return to the front of the machine once again, locking the stitches, feeding the bobbin and doing all the trimming you need.

5. …and repeat

You should repeat the steps for all the other full rows. When you’re done, continue with rolling your quilt.

6. Return to the back of the machine

Look for the highest point of your pantograph, while dropping the needle on the last quilted row. Some pantographs have the points marked, for more comfortable use. You can always set a sign of your own (a central point) so that everything goes faster.

7. Getting closer to the end

It’s time now to remove the belly bars or the side clamps. The needle has to be dropped in the quilt, as you keep an eye on the laser light and roll the quilt so that the laser light is lining up to the precise point on the partial row.

You continue with locking the roller bars and reattaching the side clamps/belly bars. You have to take a look at the height of rear bar while basting down the sides (if needed). Complete all the rows. More often than not, the last row is a partial row.

Let’s end with more tips!

No matter how careful or meticulous you are when using pantographs, you should always pay attention to some aspects. We made it easy for you to scroll down for the last recommendations:

  • Don’t move the head of the machine if the needle is dropped in the quilt
  • Don’t beat yourself up, trying to follow the pattern precisely. The risk for jagged lines is high when doing so. It’s better that you concentrate on feeling the motions for a smoother quilting result.
  • You can try making the backing and the batting larger
  • Use your right hand for quilting as it’s more comfortable.
  • You don’t want to run out of bobbin so check it from time to time.
  • You should use the finger for tracing the pattern before you quilt; it’s going to reduce the number of path mistakes
  • When you’re not rolling right, you may end up with overlapping rows or significant gaps between your rows.
  • In the case of an overlapping row, you may leave it that way. You can also line up and roll the right way, quilting over and removing the stitches when you’re done.
  • Should you have a gap, you can fill in space with echo around your pattern. Lining up and rolling well, quilting over may also be a solution.
  • When you’re taking the stitches out at home, it’s a good idea to mark the stitches you want to remove with chalk.

Other resources

How to Use a Pantograph – Heartbeat Quilting

What Are Pantographs, and Why Quilt with Them? – Free Motion Quilting Project

Pantograph vs. free motion quilting | APQS

How to Use A Walking Foot For Quilting

A Walking Foot For Quilting

Not only that the walking foot has a cool name, but it’s also versatile and dependable for so many sewing jobs, quilting including.

What’s the walking foot?

Also known as the quilting foot, the walking foot is a sewing accessory that comes with feed dogs for guiding two or more layers of fabric when using the sewing machine.

The foot is going to feed the backing, batting and quilt top evenly through the machine. Some use it for the gentle curves or quilting the ditch with the machine.

There are many situations when you can rely on the walking foot:

  • Adding the binding of your quilt
  • Straight-line quilting
  • Sewing some plaids
  • Quilting the slick/knit fabrics

How to choose a walking foot?

First thing first, the walking foot has to match your sewing machine, so it’s essential that you know the model of your sewing machine. You may not find the right foot from the manufacturer, in which case a generic foot is going to be your best shot.

Is your machine high-shank or low-shank? It’s an important info to know about your sewing machine. You can find walking feet with channel guide attachment that you may fit on the side. It’s good to have for the parallel lines when quilting. If you use the stitch-in-the-ditch a lot, an open-toe walking foot is going to be an excellent option for you.

Why is the walking foot essential for the sewing precision?

There are many good things that the walking foot brings to the table, so here are the most notable:

  • It’s good to use for the straight line machine quilting, for the majority of stitch&ditch methods. You can also rely on it for the large and soft curved lines. The tight curves and sophisticated designs are natural to make with free-motion quilting techniques thanks to the walking foot.
  • When you’re working on bulky layers of denim or rag quilt, the walking foot is fundamental for great results
  • It’s reliable for the machine quilting. A regular quilt sandwich consists of three layers (the backing, the inner batting, and the quilt top) that are rather bulky. When you sew them together with a standard presser foot, the risk for the layers to shift is rather high, but that’s not going to happen when using a walking foot.
  • You can also use the walking foot when sewing binding to a quilt. You’re going to have to work with multiple layers of fabric when sew binding the edges of your quilt. A walking foot is a right accessory for the layers to stay in place, eliminating the risk of shifting.
  • The walking foot works when matching stripes, plaids, and various patterned materials. After you pin them right for sewing, the walking foot is going to maintain the fabric in place throughout the stitching.

Not all walking feet come with marks that help you appreciate the distance. You may have to mark the places when you have to stop sewing — stopping exactly where you need from every corner of your quilt matters for the precision miters.

When to use the walking foot for quilting?

Even though there are so many situations when you can rely on the walking foot for your quilting, we’re going to focus on the most popular ones:

  • Straight line quilting

If you’re planning to quilt on your regular sewing machine, it’s better that you use the straight line quilting.

When sewing through three layers of materials, it’s going to lead to puckering and bunching. As the feed dogs are dragging the material’s bottom, the regular presser foot is causing the top layer go in the opposite direction.

If you’re going to use a walking foot, you may not experience this type of situation. It’s because the walking foot as it’s pulling the fabric from the top too. Therefore the material is going to feed through the machine evenly as you go. It’s essential that your quilt is basted right so that the layers go under the needle at the same speed. It’s why some people refer to the walking foot as the even feed foot.

Uneven feed or puckers on the backing of your quilt are common when your machine doesn’t have the walking foot. When using a regular presser foot, you may end up with the top of the quilt dragged to one side. It’s only getting worse the more you’re using the regular presser foot.

It’s best that you save yourself from a headache and begin with a walking foot for better quilting results.

  • Attach binding

Attaching the binding all the way the edges is the last step of your quilting. You’re supposed to add two more layers of binding to the huge three-layered top that your quilt has already. A walking foot is a right tool to use as it’s going to ensure even feed so that you attach the binding with no risk for gathering or pucks.

  • Sew the long seams

Everybody knows that a  regular presser foot isn’t going to be capable of moving the fabric from the top, feeding the material a bit unevenly. If you’re sewing some short seams in patchworks, bags, or other garments, it’s not a big drama. The situation changes entirely in the case of a long seam when the uneven feed is only becoming more significant and worse. The risk for ripples of excess fabric and tucking is rather high.

When it comes to quilting, long seams are pretty standard. You need to sew huge pieces of fabric together for creating the backings of your quilt, and the walking foot can feed them all evenly. It’s also great to use for sewing borders and sashing into the top of your quilt.

Some tricks are going to help you obtain even better results. Using pins for increasing the efficiency of the walking foot is one of them.

  • Every time you feel like

As walking foot is going to ensure even feed, why wouldn’t you use it every time? When it comes to piecing and sewing, there’s no apparent reason for which you shouldn’t use it.

Be aware though that the attachments of the walking foot aren’t as quiet of the regular presser foot. If you have no problem with the noise, you shouldn’t sit on the fence about using a walking foot. At the end of the day, what counts for you the most? The accuracy or the quiet environment?

Related posts

How to Use Quilting Pantographs

How to Use Quilting Rulers

Other resources

How to Use a Walking Foot to Make Quilting a Breeze

How to Choose and Use a Walking Foot

How to Use a Walking Foot for Quilting

How to Use A Quilting Frame

How to Use A Quilting Frame

No matter if you like a lot of hand quilting or you want to work fast and use a machine quilting instead, a quilting frame is going to help you so much on your crafting projects.

Let’s start with the beginning: what are quilting frames?

A quilting frame is a big structure that supports all three parts of the quilt: the top, the batting, and the backing.

The frame is going to work just as helping hands, as it’s going to maintain the quilt taut during your crafting.

Typically, you’re going to use the frame for hand quilting, but it can also be of great help for machine quilting.

You can find frames made of metal or wood, but most of them are made of plastic. You may use frames for finishing jobs, especially when you don’t want to baste the quilt.

What’s the best way to use a quilting frame?

Due to the variety of quilting frames, how you use each of them may differ. However, there are some general tips and guidelines to help you use a quilting frame a lot more efficiently:

  • If you’re going to work on a large project, look for large quilting frames. They come in all sorts of sizes
  • Use some cheap materials for making your very own quilting frame
  • It’s best that you work from one side to the another (right or left, it’s up to you) every time
  • It’s essential that you stitch toward yourself and away from yourself
  • Select a cozy chair when using a frame. An armless chair with rollers is a useful option. If you go with one with arms, make sure that the arms are parallel to the floor.
  • The back has to be 6” longer than the top, whereas the bat could use an extra 4-5” length as compared to the top
  • It’s important that you baste or sew the layers together
  • Place the backing of your quilt face down on the floor (a flat surface can work too). You need to place the batting over the backing and only afterward the quilt top. You may either sew or baste the layers together.
  • It’s easier to load the frame with someone. It’s not easy to load the machine all alone
  • If you’re using frames with rollers, it’s a good idea to choose flower head pins as they can lay down flat. Using them is going to reduce the risk for lumps in your fabric during rolling.
  • Don’t forget to mark the pattern on the quilt before loading the quilt.

How to load a quilting frame

If you’re new to quilting, don’t stress out about how to load the quilting frame. As a matter of fact, there are different ways to do it so scroll down for the details to figure out which one may work for you the best way.

Every quilt loading method comes with ups and downs, and you shouldn’t think of them as “best” or “worst.” Some ways ensure quick loading/unloading but may require a perfectly squared and real quilt for best results. Other techniques may offer better control over the layers, but they may restrain your ability to quilt off the edge during a pantograph project.

You should try each of the methods and decide for yourself which one works the best for you.

There are three main types of loading styles: “partial float,” “full float,” and “full attachment.” A quilt “floats” when one of its sides is resting on the top of the backing and batting. Even if you hold it to the backing/batting with pins, it may still not be connected straight to the canvas or the frames.

  • The partial float

With these methods, the top connects one edge to the frame, but not the opposite end as well. You attach one side of the quilt to the top roller; it makes the winding easier and gives you better control over the top of the quilt. Keep in mind that the opposite end isn’t connected to the Pick Up Roller as it lays on the batting and backing. You can use basting stitches/pins for holding it down.

You can use the partial float for pantographs as it lets you quilt off the edge without damaging the frame’s canvas.

  • The full float

When you’re using the total float, you’re not connecting any part of the quilt to the frame. The quilt is going to hang over the backing and the batting.

It’s a fast method for loading the quilt as you only need to attach the backing frame to the frame. Some quilters like to remove the entire Quilt Top Roller from the frame, but they need a unique accessory for that. It’s a “Texas Hold’em Bracket” that makes the roller brake work.

Be aware that this method doesn’t provide much control over the top of your quilt.

  • The full attachment method

You’re going to pin the top quilt to the Pick-Up roller, not only to the backing fabric. The technique ensures independent adjustments for the top and backing material, providing effective control over all the three layers. It’s going to be a breeze to ease the edges as there aren’t going to be many steps to do it. You shouldn’t use it for a pantograph that has to travel over the raw edge. You may end up a stitch on the canvas.

When you’re aiming for effective control of the top of your quilt, don’t hesitate to use the full attachment method.

One recommendation

Every method comes with both good and bad things (sort to speak). You’re a better quilter if you know to use each of them so that you use the right one for a specific quilting project. For instance, the full floating method works great when you use a regular backing fabric and need to quilt four placemats side by side.

There’s no such thing as “the best” way for loading the quilt. However, some techniques work better in specific projects, which is why you should master each of them.

Related posts

How to Use A Walking Foot For Quilting

RESOURCES

What Are Quilting Frames and Why Should You Get One?

How to load a quilt – 3 basic methods [part 1] | APQS

How to Put a Quilt on a Quilting Frame | eHow

How To Prevent Puckering When Quilting

Prevent Puckering When Quilting

Regardless of what you may think, puckering is one of the most common issues when working with rich seams in knitted/woven fabrics, quilting included.

As the thread is fundamental for a seam, more often than not it’s the first one to blame for causing the seam pucker. The seam build, the fabric structure, the feeding problems, and thread/needle size are also causing puckering, nevertheless.

Most of the time, several factors are causing the puckering, which is why you should look into it. No quilter likes the idea of creating a quilt top only to have to deal with puckering later on.

Why is the puckering so characteristic for quilting?

It’s only a matter of time with puckering when the three-layer quilt isn’t going under the needle all as one. One of the layers may be thicker or fuller than the other, which is why the puckering is occurring. Puckering happens a lot more on the back of the quilt as there are more stitches to result in small pleats or fabric gathers.

The drag lines between the paths of the top are easy to notice. The quilt drag is another kind of puckering, as pulling effects can develop when your quilt top is shifting throughout the quilting.

What are the common causes of puckers?

When the back of the quilt has creases, there are two leading causes for that:

  • The safety pins may have not to go through the backing. Therefore, they’re not holding the layers together. You should place them 4 inches apart or so.

Once you’ve basted the pin and removed the tape, pick up the quilt and take a look if the pins have gone through all layers or not

  • You may not have taped the backing of the quilt right, or you didn’t hold it down when layering.

How to reduce the risk for puckering when quilting?

The beauty of a handmade quilt is that it comes with fantastic imperfections. The following ideas are going to help you obtain a flatter straight line quilting, nevertheless:

  • Pin baste close

You should put your spray baster aside for a while and try the pin basting instead. You should give your best and make close pin baste (a 3″ grid is a good example). You get better at quilting when stitching, and the layers aren’t going to shift around anymore.

  • Don’t stretch the backing too much

As you’re basting the quilt, try not to pull the backing fabric too much. When one of the layers is drawn more than others, they’re also going to get loose at different rates. It’s common for quilts to over-stretch the backing throughout the taping process.

  • Don’t forget about the walking foot

When you’re doing the straight lines, the walking foot is fundamental. It can feed all the layers of your quilt sandwich right under the needle, with an even pace. When the sewing machine has a built-in foot, but you’re still struggling with wrinkles and drag, it’s a wise thing to try a walking foot attachment. An attached walking foot may work more efficiently than a built-in one.

  • Do your work on a large table

Having excellent support for your project throughout the whole process is essential. More often than not, gravity can modify flat quilting and pull one or more of the layers in all sorts of direction. Make sure that all parts of the quilt that you don’t control are on the table and don’t hang to the floor.

  • Increase the stitch length

You typically use a longer stitch length when quilting, as compared to piecing. When the stitch is too short, it can put excess pressure on the foot, managing the top too harshly. On the other hand, a longer stitch is going to let the quilt float just like one single piece.

  • Lower the pressure foot pressure

When quilting, the weight of the pressure foot may be too high, so pulling the quilt may occur more often. Every time the layers move at different rates in the sandwich, the problems of pulling may appear. It’s vital that you reduce that pressure, allowing the foot to work for better results.

  • Go slow

It’s also better that you use a slow speed throughout the straight line quilting. The walking foot works more efficiently if the rhythm is moderate. You don’t need to lift the presser foot too son. Any of these factors is going to help you obtain the basting integrity.

Still not happy with the results?

When you’ve tried all the tricks and tips, and you still don’t get the results you wanted, it’s a good idea to try to change the direction of your quilting. When you’re straight quilting lines traveling in the same direction for a long time, the machine can lead to puckering.

On the other hand, some machines are only making straight and flat line quilting, no matter for how long you have been quilting lines in the same direction. It’s a matter of luck as well.

When you’re in the middle of your project, and you find yourself completely unhappy with the results, the thought of taking out all the stitches may cross your mind. You may get away with it by using some tricks. Adding more quilting can help you hide and camouflage the puckering and dragging on some level. For instance, dense quilting is going to give a particular texture that hides the puckers efficiently.

At the same time, quilt drag shows more apparent when the stitch lines between the spaces are significant. You may fill in the areas with more quilting and a better distribution of the fabric.

When you’re out of options, buying a new sewing machine may be the ideal solution. Not all machines are suitable for straight line quilting, and you should come to terms with it. Don’t hesitate to make time and go to a sewing machine shop and test some straight lines on your practice quilt sandwich. After all, practice makes perfect!

One final thought

Thread, feed, fabric structure, and inherent pucker are common problems when quilting. You’re not the only quilter out there having to solve it somehow. Just do your homework and see what’s causing it so that you can use the perfect solution for your puckering!

Other resources

How to Stop Puckering in Straight Line Quilting

Machine Quilting: I get puckers

Quilt Backing Fabric Has Puckers

How to Make Quilting Templates

Quilting Templates

Truth be told, rotary cutters are all the rage right now, along with the cutting mat and the ruler. They’ve all become the fundamental tools used for quilting. However, there are many quilters out there that still use the quilt template as they come as the most efficient ways to design blocks with odd sizes or irregular shapes.

What’s a template per se?

The template is a piece of material that helps you outline when tracing. Particular models are cut so that they create the quilt blocks.

The quilting templates can be made of various materials. You may think of paper, but it’s not that strong nor takes several tracings. Therefore, you should choose heavier weight materials, with cardboard, poster board, acrylic, and plastic being more popular options.

Creating your very own template is a good idea, and you shouldn’t hesitate giving it a try.  You never know when you’re going to use it.

What’s the easiest way to make a cardboard quilting template?

Cardboard is a versatile and dependable material to use for your quilting templates. Here are the steps to take when you decide to go with cardboard for your quilting templates:

  • Collect the supplies you need: cardboard, marker, some small scissors, and your pattern of choice. Don’t hesitate to use cardboard from a cereal, rice/pasta box.
  • Look for the single layer cardboard that is used for food and not the cardboard from the heavy-duty boxes. Cardboard with a blank interior is an excellent choice for quilting templates
  • Cut out the pattern pieces that you’re planning to use. A long-time quilter isn’t going to cut up a pattern from a professional magazine nor a book. It’s better that you make copies of the pattern pages, cutting out the pieces you need.
  • Begin tracing the patterns onto your piece of cardboard. Continue with transferring the pattern markings, labeling every single piece.
  • Use a comfortable pair of sharp scissors for cutting out the templates.

What steps you need to take when making a plastic quilting template?

Even though there are some general rules that you follow no matter the materials you’re using, it’s better that you’re aware of the differences between the materials you’re applying for your templates.

Here’s how to do it right with plastic:

  • Put together the supplies you need: template plastic, marker, patterns, and small sharp scissors. You can shop for square or rectangular sheets from a local quilt shop/craft store.
  • Place the template plastic right over your patter. You may use some tape for keeping it in place
  • Use a marker for tracing the pattern pieces onto the plastic. Continue with transferring the markings, without skipping the labeling for every piece.
  • Use the scissors for cutting out your pieces.

Once the templates are done, using them is going to be a breeze (if you know a thing or two about quilting).

Is making acrylic quilt template any different?

Many quilters are going to go with acrylic for their quilt templates, so scroll down for the tips to remember:

  • Buy a piece of acrylic from a home building supply store. Some stores can cut it precisely for you, so don’t blow that chance and don’t say “no.”
  • Measure your ruler (you can use a sharpie), scoring it with a craft blade. Apply some pressure into it as you need to cut into it a bit. It’s better that you use a straight metal edge when doing it. Flip it over, scoring the other side too.
  • You can fold over a placemat, inserting the acrylic piece into folded edge. Use a steady hand for snapping it off. It’s going to be loud, and you need to put some muscle into it. If you’re not able to do it from the first trial, go back to the edged metal ruler, but score more profound this time.
  • The chances are that the edge is a bit rough, so use some sandpaper for smoothing it out. You want it to be nice and smooth so that it doesn’t tear nor snag your quilt.
  • Use a Sharpie or a pen for marking it with a big X right in the middle — Mark 1” from the corners and the 6.5”, without skipping the top right corner. If you don’t like the results, wipe it away and do it all over again.
  • Design and make your one-of-a-kind quilting template. You can cut the acrylic into 2″ squares, using all of them for just one project.

No matter the material, here are some tips for the road

It doesn’t matter which type of material you’re going to use for your quilting templates. It’s a matter of personal taste and needs at the end of the day. What counts the most is the results, so here are some things to remember next time you’re heading toward your quilting corner in your home:

  • Not all templates are going to require seam allowances. You should check the pattern carefully to see if you need to add some
  • First things first, always proceed with reading the pattern directions before starting the work. Magazines or books don’t offer much space, which is why you may have to enlarge and print the pattern so that you obtain the right dimensions.
  • Tracing is going to work great when you’re using permanent markers with an excellent point
  • If your pattern includes a lot of straight and long edges, it’s better that you use a ruler for tracing the pieces.
  • Be meticulous and organized and write the pattern’s name on every single template piece. It’s going to be easier to find it when it gets lost.
  • It’s also a good idea to store your pattern templates in a labeled bag (or the recipient).
  • Don’t forget to transfer the markings from the pattern pieces onto your templates.
  • If you go with plastic templates, you should mark the right side of the model so that you’re using it correctly.

As long as you’re patient and meticulous, making your quilting templates can bring a lot of joy and pride, especially when you create beautiful quilts for everyone to admire!

Related posts

How To Prevent Puckering When Quilting

How to Use A Quilting Frame

Other resources

DIY: How to Make Quilt Templates

How to Make an Acrylic Quilt Template – Yarn-or-Fabric

Templates – Making and Using | Lessons – The Quilting Company

How to Make Quilting Stencils

How to Make Quilting Stencils

Quilting stencils are nothing new for the quilting world as they’re an excellent tool for obtaining cute patterns when hand quilting. You may also use them for transferring regular patterns onto your quilts, using machine quilting later on.

If you want to transfer your patterns or to duplicate classic quilting patterns onto your custom quilts, designing personal quilting stencils is a great idea.

A dress maker’s tracking wheel, your printed design, and iron-off chalk are going to be enough for creating your quilting stencil. Some say that craft foam is the secret as foam ensures a soft cushion for the tracing wheel when penetrating the paper. Using foam is going to help the stencil lines to penetrate the holes. You may use this trick for large stencils and not the sewing through the edges with an unthreaded needle for obtaining the holes.

What to consider when making quilting stencils?

Quilting-Stencils

Planning and being meticulous counts a lot when quilting and you should have that in mind when making your quilting stencils as well.

Here are some common rules to keep in mind:

  • Plan your designs

Having a clear idea about the design you want to make is essential. You should select the motifs you’re planning on using. Hearts, circles, pineapples, wavy lines, and other shapes you find exciting are going to work. Give a thought on the size of the stencils you want to use.

  • Draw your designs

You may very well repeat the plan throughout your quilt. You should give a thought on the model you want to use for the border of your quilt, where you’re going to repeat the squares. Decide on which motif is going to travel throughout the entire body of the quilt, no matter the composition or the size of the blocks that you’re piecing together.

  • Make the markings

Place the poster board on a table, using the ruler for marking where the motifs are going to be placed. You need to draw in the themes lightly. A compass and a ruler are great for giving precision. Always use the ruler for checking that the spaces between the motifs are even.

  • Sketch in the cutting lines

Continue with sketching in the cutting edges nice and easy, making sure that the cutting lines are 1/8-in wide. Once they’re cut, the lines are going to give the shape of your motif.

Don’t forget that if you’re drawing lines for full shapes (hearts or circles), you shouldn’t connect the lines completely. It’s vital that you leave at least 1in of space on the outline of every motif. You shouldn’t cut out a triangle, a circle or a rectangle when cutting out the design.

  • Go to the cutting mat

Now it’s time to place the poster board with the marked cutting lines right onto the cutting mat. You should use a sharp utility knife when starting to cut the lines that your stencil includes. It’s best that you concentrate on the broader outlines in the beginning. Mark an incision that is 2 or even 3 inches farther than the shape. You should cut it out entirely, moving to the next 2 to 3 inches.

When you’ve completed the broader outlines, you can focus on the smaller shapes. Be careful to cut around your stencil, leaving 2 to 3 inches of space around your design.

What are the steps to follow when making a quilting stencil?

When you’re planning to mark linear designs for guiding you on the free-motion quilting, something spongy for the tracing wheel to punch into may be of great help. It’s a great way to make your quilting stencils, but also for the hand embroidery or guidelines.

Here’s what you’re going to need:

  • Dress maker’s tracing wheel
  • Craft foam sheets 1/8” thick
  • Pouce pad with Iron-off chalk
  • Paper&pen/ printed design
  • Fabric

You may use an image from the internet (make sure it’s copyright free), or you may very well draw a design on paper (it’s easy for the simple designs even if you don’t have the skills for it).

Here’s how to make the quilting stencil:

  • When you want to make deeper through the paper, a deep-pointy-teeth tracing wheel is a good idea
  • Place the paper on the craft foam with the print side up, tracing over the lines with your tracing wheel. The lines aren’t permanent, so it’s not a drama if you’re running over an edge or you go too fast past an intersection. Nobody is going to know.
  • You may feel like using a lot of foam, but don’t worry as the foam is rather affordable. It’s an excellent tool for this type of project, so it’s worth to buy it.
  • It’s time to transfer your stencil so you should flip the punctured design over for using it.
  • Put the stencil on the top of the fabric (it doesn’t matter if you’re still using the foam or not).
  • Pour a bit of chalk into the pounce brick, and shake the pounce pad. You want to load the chalk right into the soft surface.
  • Continue with rubbing the pad from right to left, over the backside of your stencil. You want to obtain full coverage, so you should be peeled back the stencil any now and then.

Some tricks for the road

Passionate quilters come with all sorts of ideas for making quilting stencils. One creative idea is to use tulle fabric in an embroidery hoop. You can mark your particular design on the tulle using a marker (it can even be a permanent marker on the tulle if you plan on using it again).

Trace your unique design through the tulle, right onto your quilting fabric. A washout marker is going to do it. You can use one for the tulle too; maybe you want to work with other designs also.

Crayola washable markers are a versatile option for marking the quilt, so add them to your shopping list. As for chalk, many quilters stay away from it as it does brush off easily, making the whole process a lot more time-consuming.

Other resources

How to Make Quilting Stencils | Our Pastimes

Shape Moth: How to make quilting stencils

Make Custom Quilting and Sewing Stencils by Jen Eskridge

How to Make/Build A Quilting Frame

Quilting Frame

Building quilt frames from the comfort of your home are going to require you various design skills but also some thoughtful planning ahead.

Some frames are large enough to sustain the whole quilt, where you can sit and quilt simultaneously. There are also small frames that can take only half a quilt at once.

What do you need for building a homemade quilt frame

Build A Quilting Frame

A pencil, a measuring tape, and a set of deck screws (number 8) that are 12in long are what you need at first. You’re also going to need a drill that comes with 1 ½ in drill bit attached.

A set of table legs for the quilt frame is also on the list. You also have to think about how you’re going to attach the machine carriage, and track kits are of big help for that.

The lumber is the central part you need for your quilt frame. Two 2x6x12 foot boards, six boards 1x1x24.5in, two 1x1x12 foot boards, two 1x8x12, and two boards of 1x4x24in are mandatory for making your quilt frame.

How to get started

Now that you have all the lumber in your shop, you have to put it together somehow. Remember that the table for your quilt frame doesn’t present a flat surface, and you’ll need a very long table frame (use the two 2x5x12 ft boards previously mentioned). You have to place them parallel and connect them by the four 1x4x24in.

The four boards that you connect are also known as cross members, and you can modify them for a more heavy machine (20+ in long). When you’re done, you should also set the other 24.5in boards too. You get stability by connecting the leg of the table to the cross members right in the middle.

How to add the track for machine quilting

You bolt the track across the table lengthwise. It’s essential that you also attach a paper stitching template to the shelf (make sure it’s very long).

Get a stiff wire and place one end on the carriage of the machine. Continue with bending the other side, making sure it lies right on the template design.

You should move the carriage both backward and forwards when you’re stitching the quilt. When you’re moving, the machine is stitching the design.

How to build a quilting frame with PVC pipe

You’re going to need a lot of patience and skill when quilting. As quilts are supposed to be large and loose, it’s tough to work on them without using a quilt frame that stretches the sections flat for better sewing. 

An excellent solution for quilting frames is one made out of PVC pipe as it works as well as a professionally made one. You can make quilt frames in rectangles, squares, and even triangles, in the size you need.

  • Step 1

You need to know the size and shape of your quilting frame. You will work on the area of the quilt that is connected to the frame, so it has to be small enough to ensure easy access, but large enough that you don’t need to move it as much. You also have to know if you plan on holding it on your lap or if legs are going to help you more (it’s going to stand on its own).

PVC pipes are an excellent solution for a small frame and go with CPVC (it’s a durable pipe for both cold and hot water) in the case of large frames or the ones with legs.

  • Step 2

Draw a diagram of the quilt frame you want and make the measurements you need before heading to the hardware store. If you plan on adding legs, it’s mandatory that you know if the quilting frame table is going to have a tilt. When it does, it’s easier for you to take a look at the whole section of fabric.

  • Step 3

Begin with cutting the pipe (a CPVC pipe may be as long as 10ft). Make the measurements and use a marker for marking, cutting the pieces with a good hacksaw. Four lengths of pipe should do it for a lap frame, whereas eight lengths work for a table frame. The front legs should be 2 to 5 inches shorter than the ones in the back, but it depends on the tilt you want.

  • Step 4

Put together the shape by connecting the elbows on the ends of the cut pipe. Remember that the third opening on all the three-way fittings has to face the same way on all. The short legs should be on the front of the table.

  • Step 5

Give stability to the table by placing the PVC caps to the bottom of the legs. Mark the center on the side of the pipe (it should be 2in wide or broader than that- it all depends on the thickness of the quilt). Make signs on the top of the pipe for the number of clamps you’ll use (2in increments). One or two clamps on every side are going to do it, most of the time.

  • Step 6

Cut the pipe you need for clamps (around 2 in off). Cut every pipe (go along the length), eliminating less than half of the pipe’s circumference. You don’t want the edges to catch or pull the fabric, so make sure you sand them smooth.

You may drape the quilt fabric over the frame pipe, snapping every clamp over both. Trap the material and keep it in place against the frame pipe. Sometimes, you’re going to need multiple diameters of clamps for holding the different thickness of the fabric.

RESOURCES

DIY free quilt frame plans, build your own

Basic Instructions for Homemade Quilt Frames | HubPages

Easy Build Machine Quilting Frame

How to Make a Pressing Board for Quilting

Quilting pressing board

If you’re into quilting, you know that there are so many things that can help the whole experience run smoother, whereas the results can be better.

The pressing board is one of the tools within the category, and no experience quilter is going to disagree.

Why building your pressing board important?

building-pressing-board

You don’t realize the difference there is between the regular ironing board and the one specially designed for pressing your quilt until you’ve tried both. Classic ironing boards feature a thick foam pad that is going to wiggle and squish as you’re applying the hot iron.

It also means that, when using a traditional ironing board, the fabric is going to move along with it and shift as you’re pressing on the ironing board. When you’re preparing the material for your quilting, using a pressing board is going to give far better results. A quilting pressing board provides a robust press and doesn’t alter the fabric in any way.

You need to starch and press fabric for stiffening the surface of the pressing board. You can bond the starch to the fabric fibers. When using a pressing board, the material is going to stay in place, as the starch remains bonded with the fabric and not with your pressing board or the iron.

You also need a quilting pressing board for pressing the pieced units (half square triangles or geese that can alter the fabric, shifting it against the slipping surface). When you’re using any method of applique, the pressing board is essential for the accuracy of your projects.

What are the benefits of building a quilting pressing board?

There are many good things related to a customized pressing board for quilting:

  • It’s easy and cheap

Regardless of what one may think, building a board requires necessary materials that you can find in any hardware store. You can also find pre-cut wood in a hardware store, eliminating the need for shopping for a big piece of plywood that you have to cut down on your own at home.

  • It’s durable

Even a cheap ironing board is going to take use for a reasonable amount of time. Some can also last for years. You may have to change the canvas after some time but simply because the colors wear out and lose the beautiful colors.

  • It provides the firm surface you need

Having a durable and stable coating is essential for pressing fabric, and the pressing table is what you need for your quilting.

  • You make one perfect for your precise needs

You can create an ironing board that has the size and shape you need. You can have a large board for pressing yardage and also a smaller one for the smaller projects. And now that you’re building make one for your traveling for a quilting workshop.

What’s the easiest way to make a pressing board for quilting?

It’s vital that you gather the materials you need for this project:

  • A couple of pieces of batting. It has to be larger than your plywood board
  • A piece of plywood- get the size and shape you need
  • A portion of fabric for the outer part of the pressing board. again, it’s up to you which one
  • A staple gun with some staples.

You should look for a beautiful space on the floor where you can put everything you need within reach.

Let’s check the steps to take too:

  • Fold the batting around the plywood board. use the staple gun for stapling it down
  • Lay the fabric for the outer part, making sure that the right side is down facing. Staple the folded top section to the board.
  • Continue with folding the bottom part of the fabric. It’s essential that you pull it tight, but don’t exaggerate. You also need to staple it to the board.
  • Fold the sides over, tucking them under and don’t stop stapling.

Some suggestions

As it’s your pressing board, you can try all sorts of ways for designing and building it. No matter which way you choose, take a look at some general guidelines:

  • You should use a 100%cotton duck as it has a good grip. You can prewash it for shrinking as pressing is going to imply a lot of steaming (you want to stay safe).  Remember to take it out of the dryer before it’s scorched.
  • Use 100% cotton for the batting, but only one layer of it. It’s the surface where you’re going to work, so make sure it’s not too soft for pressing.

Some fabrics come with a 3% shrinkage rate (it depends on the materials) after your quilt is done and washed. Some manufacturers don’t recommend prewashing of the batting before you use it for the quilt. The duck is going to keep everything in place, so stapling may not even be necessary.

Many are also using the spray adhesive, but it’s again about whatever floats your boat. If you like working with it, you should give it a go. You may still control the batting only with the use of the wood and the duck, though.

One straightforward method for the newbies out there

If you’re looking for a lighter and more portable pressing board, you can easily use a piece of foil covered insulation. Cut it 4ft by 18-20” (again, you can decide on the size you need). You can take it with you wherever you go, setting it on the counter. It’s a firm surface to work on.

Don’t forget that the best part about making your quilting pressing board is making it the size you need, width and length included.

When you’re using a lot of starch in your piecing, you know that the top layer of cotton of the pressing board isn’t going to do it. You can fix it by adding another layer of cotton duck over the first one or remove it when you’re not happy with the results anymore. An extra layer of muslin on top can be a reliable solution too.

Other resources

How to make a pressing board

How to Build a Firm Pressing Board | LeahDay.com

DIY: Make a Pressing Board – Samelia’s Mum