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 choose the right chairs for your home

How to make a pressing board

How to Build a Firm Pressing Board | LeahDay.com

DIY: Make a Pressing Board – Samelia’s Mum

How to Fix Quilting Mistakes

How to Fix Quilting Mistakes

Quilting is a lot of fun, and if you have the skills and patience, you should always make time for it. One of the significant challenges when quilting is having to deal with a mistake. Can you fix it? Is it common for quilters to mistake any now and then?

Fortunately for you, quilters are always making some mistakes, and even the most experienced ones do have to fix things at times. Without any further ado, let’s see some of the most common errors and their fixes, for the obvious reasons.

You run out of fabric

We’re only humans, and even if you’re run your measurements twice, you somehow end up with not having enough material for your quilt top.

  • What’s the fix?

Why not check the free tools out there? A popular calculator (you may find it in many places) is going to help you know how much yardage you’re going to need for your batting, backing, borders, and binding, there are also tools that count the number of fixed-size pieces that you have to cut from your fabric yardage.

Don’t forget about the go-to fabrics by the bolt as they’re easy to use and you never worry about running out. When you need a particular print, you should take a picture of it and post it as ISO (“in search of”) on social media. You may get lucky!

You get stuck in a corner

Getting stuck in a corner is quite common when you’re free quilting. It’s only too late when you understand that you didn’t allow yourself an out when designing the stage. You end up stuck in a corner and no way to get out. You could also want to move on to the next block, only to realize that you’re in the bad place. What’s the best way to take care of the thread when you cannot move anymore?

  • What’s the fix?

An experienced quilter recommends that you travel along a seam or another line until you get to the right place. Don’t stress much about perfection. You can try many small stitches in the beginning and only quilt afterward. Trying tiny stitches is a good idea, just like burying the thread or stitching in place before cutting are.

What about the mismatched rows?

It’s common for the fabric to stretch when quilting, which may lead to rows not matching with each other. The situation may occur even if you’re using sewing pins for every single seam. You may also end up tearing many of the stitches.

  • What’s the fix?

You can try the no-pin method, and here are the steps for doing it right:

Use your fingers for catching the first two seams together, inserting under the presser foot carefully

You may sew a couple of stitches back and forth, following the intersection of the two seams that you’re going to join

Once you’re done with the backstitching, you should cut the thread and go to another junction.

You need to open up the connected rows to check for the amiss seams. When you’re not happy with the results, you should rip out some of the stitches and start all over again. You may stitch the raw edges together for connecting the rows when you’re satisfied with the alignments of the seams.

The seam allowances are anything but right

Even if you’re going by the rules, you may still obtain a block that is too small. It’s because you just didn’t run the numbers for the seam allowances right.

  • What’s the fix?

Nine times out of ten, you’re going to use a quarter-inch seam allowance for the majority of quilting patterns. Everytime you use the quarter-inch foot, you’re going to obtain a precise seam allowance. Some machines feature a foot that has a quarter inch metal ridge.

When your machine doesn’t come with any of them, you should place some masking tape (a sticky note will do too) on the base, marking the accurate distance away from the right edge of the foot. You may also improve your accuracy by pressing the seams after every single step. It’s essential that you press the iron up and down and not side to side (it’s only going to alter/stretch your fabric, ruining the seams).

The borders end up wavy

You may not be able to obtain a precise edge when the left side of the quilt is two inches longer than the right side.

  • What’s the fix?

Always check to see if the top is even, both length and width-wise. You should also remove any excess before you attach the borders. It’s a good idea not to cut an exact border length; sew a long piece of fabric to the other side (remember to trim off the extra). Doing so is going to help you not ease in too much material (a common cause for the wavy borders).

Should you not have enough extra fabric for the border, make sure you measure the length and the width of the quilt using a tape measure at the center and not at the edges. Cut the limits using the measurements, pinning the center of the border to the center of the side of the quilt. Pin externally from the center and stitch in place afterward.

You run out of thread

Running out of yarn is just as frustrating as having the thread snapping the moment you get into the groove of your quilting.

  • What’s the fix?

Always double check the bobbin before quilting. Sometimes, the thread breaks. Period. You may undo a couple of stitches so that you may knot the thread, tucking it into the batting so that it doesn’t show. The yarn is going to snap a lot more when you live in a dry environment. You can place it in a plastic baggie along with a damp towel for adding some moisture to the thread. Put it in the freezer for a couple of hours before you start quilting.

Related posts

How to Make a Pressing Board for Quilting

How to Make Quilting Templates

Other resources

Common Quilting Mistakes and How to Fix Them

Common quilting mistakes: and how to avoid them!

Tips and Tricks for Fixing Quilting Mistakes – Purple Daisies Quilting

Are You Making These Common Quilting Mistakes? – Crafty House

How to Cut Strips for Quilting

Cut Strips for Quilting

If you’ve been quilting for some time now, you know that you have to be meticulous and organized to have amazing quilts when you’re done.

There’s a lot of planning and preparing in quilting and shouldn’t let anything out of site. Even a couple of inches and two uneven strips can ruin your results, so why not doing it right every single step of the way?

Prepare the fabric

You may work with printed or dyed fabric, but the excess dyes and pigments may still be on the surface of the material. Various chemicals can also coat the fabric so that it looks better and more appealing to customers.

Working with fabric that has excess chemicals and dyes on the surface isn’t the best idea. Once your quilt is done, the colors may migrate and even bleed from one color to another, ruining the quilt. Wouldn’t be a shame to have done all of this work, create a perfect quilt, only to realize that after one washing the colors bleed one to another?

  • Wash the fabric

Washing the fabric is nothing but a great idea, and you should begin with sorting the materials of similar colors, cleaning them separately. Throw a piece of white fabric into the washing machine so that you can check the colorfastness. When the white fabric comes out painted in any way, it’s better that you load them again so that you get rid of all the excess dyes.

  • Use special formulas

Look for the specially formulated products that are supposed to pull excess dye from the water. A product of this type is very efficient for the batik fabrics that may need a couple of washings until the colors don’t bleed anymore.

  • Don’t use fabric softener

It’s also essential that you’re not using fabric softener. You don’t want to work with soft fabric as it’s going to be very tricky to cut it precisely.

  • Stay away from the small pieces

Try to stay away from the precuts of fabric that is too thin or too small to take washing. Even some of them are going to “survive” the wash, some aren’t going to be useful anymore on the cause of fraying. Don’t take any chances and focus on using more significant pieces of fabric for your quilt.

  • Starching

The fabric is going to be soft after you wash it. When it’s too soft, setting the ruler on top and cut precisely is going to be difficult.

You need to apply some starch and to press your fabric until it becomes stiff and flat. Not all quilters go with starch, so you’re going to have to decide on your own if it’s working for you or not.

However, you’re going to find out that starch stiffens the fabric just enough to ease out working with the material. You need to spray it on the right side of the fabric, flipping it over and playing a bit with the cloth until the starch soaks in. You continue with pressing it from the wrong side. When you’re spraying it from the wrong side, you also need to work it a bit and finish with pressing from the right side.

An extra layer of starch is going to make your fabric paper stiff, without any stretch. Accurate cutting is going to be a breeze. It’s essential to get to this stage as it’s going to be less complicated to cut the long straight strips.

  • Pressing

You should use a firm pressing board as they’re not difficult to build, but they’re fundamental for getting amazing results. You want to press the fabric without distorting it in any way. Use a hot and dry iron for pressing and stay away from steam. Regardless of what you may think, steam is going to maintain the fabric wet and not dry the starch fast on the surface, as you want.

Now that the fabric is ready, what’s next?

With your fabric stiff and dry, you should continue for getting the strips you need for your quilting.

  • Square the edges

When the fabric is stiff and flat, you may proceed to cut. Is it that easy to cut straight long strips out of a large piece of cloth? More often than not, you need to fold the fabric so that the fibers are aligned square and straight together. It’s fundamental for obtaining the perfect looking straight strips.

  • Always cut straight and square

Once your fabric is stiff, stable, and square, you can begin cutting. You should align the ruler and square off the end of your material. Flip it over so that you can always cut with your dominant hand.

Some like using the large cutter as it remains sharp for a long time; besides, titanium blades give you accuracy. It’s why you should pay the extra buck for a nice, sharp, and durable pair of scissors or rotary cutter with titanium blades.

Remember to double check the strips, cutting two and unfolding one. You’ll know when you’re off when you see a “V” shape or some peak showing up in the folds of your fabric. You need to do it all over again, so unfold your fabric, holding it up. Make the square once more, cutting off the edge and start cutting the strips all over again.

Do you need to go through all these steps every single time?

How to Cut Strips

It’s just one method to cut strips for your quilting, and you need to discover which way works the best for you. Even if it doesn’t seem to float your boat, you should at least give it a try once. It’s an effective method that results in blocks with the same size and strips lining up just fine, and we all know how frustrating it is not to have that when quilting.

Quilting is a building process in a way, and one of the most important matters is to prepare the fabric right. You need them to be perfect for piecing and beautiful looking results later on.

Related posts

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How to Make Quilting Stencils

Other resources

Quilting Basics ~ Preparing & Cutting | Sew Mama Sew

Log Cabin Quilt – Prepare Fabric and Cut Pieces – Free Motion Quilting Project

How to Strip Piece in Quilting: 5 Tips for Successful Strip Piecing

How to Build a Cheap Sewing and Quilting Table

Build a Cheap Sewing and Quilting Table

If you’re into quilting, you know that it’s fundamental that you have the right tools for getting the best results. Quilting isn’t only about passion, being meticulous or patient, but also about using the appropriate tools throughout the whole process.

The height of your quilting table is just as important as its surface. You want to place as much as you can from the surface of the quilt, reducing the risk for hanging, pulling, dragging, or puckering. When the table is too small, you’re not going to be able to do it. Also, when the table isn’t high enough, you may end up with back pain and strain on your shoulders or arms. Soon enough, the quilting process becomes anything but fun. Frustration is around the corner. And it’s all on the cause of your table being too short or too small.

Why is the size and height of the table important for quilting?

You need the work surface to be spacious, so that the cutting and pinning the fabric go faster. You also need good outfeed area for finishing the large projects. The quilting table has to be sturdy and robust, supporting the weight of the quilt, with minimal to no risk for vibration or shaking when quilting.

You also want the table to feature storage drawers so that you have the fundamental tools within reach, no matter the job you’re doing.

There are many methods for building yourself a sewing table for quilting, without emptying your wallet. Spend some time on research to figure out which one may work the best for you.

How to make a sewing&quilting table on a budget?

You are meticulous when quilting is fundamental, and you should prove your skills when building your sewing machine. Take a look at the steps and see if it’s an attractive project for you.

1. Take care of the skirt structure

The skirt of the table is holding everything together. You bolt the legs onto the corner and screw the table top to the dress from the underside.

You can use ¾” pine plywood for making the top and the skirt structure. Any smooth and blemish-free plywood is going to do it too.

Remember that you can adjust the size of the table to your specific needs. In this case, six 5” by 48” pieces of plywood were used. You need to trim four of them to 38 ½” for using them for the outside. Use 5″ long braces for the corners, presenting 45 beveled ends. You can glue and put in place temporarily with a nail gun.

It’s important that you trim the last strips of wood and use some glue and pocket screws for installing them on the inside of the skirt frame. It’s going to improve the support for both the top and the drawers.

The drawers make the project more sophisticated, so it’s up to you. You can use pine with ¼” plywood bottoms for making them. You can install them in different ways and add the support pieces to the skirt for better results.

2. Continue with the legs

Two 8-ft, 4″ by 4″ pine beams can work for the legs. You should cut four 31 ¼” pieces for the table legs.

You also have to cut a 45degree notch from the top of every leg so that you can bolt them to the skirt structure. Buy the special table leg bolts that come with coarse threads on one half for the locks you use into the tops of the legs. Continue with drilling a hole where you’d like to see the bolt sticking out. Use a nut threaded onto the bolt side, while screwing the lag into the wood. Keep in mind to remove the nut.

You may thread a standard 4-in bolt through holes bored from the outer part of every leg, plugging the holes with a long dowel. It’s not common, but you can give it a try.

3. The table top

Once again, it depends on the size you want for your table. We went for a 48” square piece of pine plywood. You can round over the top edge with a router, using some wood filler for filling the gaps.

4. Cut out for your sewing/quilting machine

No matter the type of machine you have, the purpose is the same: creating a sewing surface for the machine close to the level with your tabletop. It’s not a drama if it’s a bit above, but it’s a drama if it’s below. Remember that you still need easy access for changing the bobbin or run the regular maintenance.

A lot of careful measuring and marking is going to be involved. You can cut the opening six inches back from the front edge. Go for inches in from the side, using the tools you need for most accurate results.

Go ahead and use a router for creating a tiny small round so that you can remove the sharp edge on top of the opening.

5. Install the quilting/sewing machine

Some pin hinges from an old sewing machine can help when installing the machine. It’s best that you use adjustable supports to the front edge of the opening.

Side note- Mounting choices

It’s fairly easy to build a tiny table underneath the opening; you can use an alternative mounting option for the future. You screw it in place for supporting the rails. You can slide it in/out of place from right underneath.

You can also leave it there to catch oil drips or who knows what for the days to come.

6. Completing the job

Don’t forget to use a beautiful color for painting the skirt on the table. You should also give the table top, the drawers, and the legs two coats of polyurethane with some sanding of sandpaper after every layer has dried. You should also wax the table top with furniture wax, making it nice and shiny.

You may also drill the pocket holes on the inside of the skirt structure so that you can fasten the table top in place.

7. Putting it together

It’s easier to set the table top together from underneath. Bolt the legs in place, flipping the table over. You should also install the drawers and some bumpers; the ones made od sticky-back craft foam work great on the inside of the drawer faces.

Some tips instead of a conclusion

When you’re not using the sewing/quilting machine, it’s wise that you protect it with the top of a used sewing case. As long as you’re careful and dedicated, you should be able to do it right from the first trial. Happy quilting!

Related posts

How to Fix Quilting Mistakes

Other resources

Make a Custom Sewing Table: 9 Steps (with Pictures)

DIY: Sewing Machine Extension Table – And Sew We Craft

Make a Simple Quilting Extension Table | FeltMagnet