Tips For Quilting On a regular sewing machine

by Kelsi Watts: Choose the right needle: Use a size 90/14 or 100/16 quilting needle, which is specifically designed for use with quilting. These needles are larger and stronger than standard sewing machine needles and can easily penetrate multiple layers of fabric.

Use the right thread: Choose a high-quality, long-staple cotton or polyester quilting thread. This type of thread is stronger and more durable than all-purpose thread, which is better suited for general sewing.

Adjust the tension: Quilting can put a lot of strain on your sewing machine, so it's important to adjust the tension properly. Start by setting the tension to the middle or "normal" setting, and then make adjustments as needed to achieve even, straight stitches.

Use a walking or even feed foot: This type of presser foot helps to feed the layers of fabric evenly through the machine, which can make quilting easier and more accurate.

Take your time: Quilting can be time-consuming, so it's important to take your time and be patient. Don't rush through the process, and make sure to regularly check your work for accuracy and quality.

Practice: Quilting can be challenging, especially for beginners. If you're new to quilting, it's a good idea to practice on scraps of fabric before attempting to quilt a full-sized project. This will help you get a feel for the process and improve your skills.

Explore the Top Rated Sewing Machine Needles for ideas and suggestions.

Choosing the best needle for free motion quilting

For free motion sewing machine quilting choose the needle size that best suits the weight of your thread. As a general rule 40 wt thread requires a size 75 needle. Unless you are piecing together extra thick padding a small to medium sized needle that is sharp to slightly rounded will work fine.

Stitching in the ditch by hand

Stitching in the ditch tucks two fabrics together along their seam, a process that can be done just as accurately by hand. The main benefit of stitching the ditch by hand is that it allows you to place your stitches more precisely. Overall, the choice is yours, but you can do this task by hand or by machine, whichever you prefer.

Tips for quilting on a regular sewing machine

The best machine quilting stitch length

The best stitch length for machine quilting is 2.5 to 3.0 which will give you 8 to 12 stitches per inch. Adjust your stitch length based on fabric thickness and weight, Stronger fabrics often require fewer stitches per inch but pieces with heavy padding require more.

Needle type that works best on batting

A quilting needle works best on batting because it has a thin shaft. Machine quilting qith a quilting needle is ideal for pushing through top, batting and binding materials. The slightly rounded tip and tapered shaft of a quilting needle easily pierces several layers of woven fabric, without damaging them.

Why you should stitch in the ditch

Stitching in the ditch, also known as sewing between quilting borders, helps stabilize fabric and maintain straight lines while quilting. Stitching in the ditch is optional but can prevent pattern distortion and should be done before adding any quilting design above the border.

Double needle sewing machine compatibility

A double needle will work with your sewing machine if your machine can perform both straight stitches and zig zag stitches. If your machine can only do one of those two types of stitches a double needle will not work, it’s incompatible.

Needles that fit all sewing machines

Most sewing machine needles work in all sewing machines. Sewing needle brands, such as Schmetz and Singer, work with all sewing machine brands. However, Sergers or overlock machines, embroidery machines, or specialty machines may use non-universal needles.

Between needles, when to use them

Between needles are what quilters use to ‘sandwhich’ padding and patterns together. The shaft of a between needle is shorter than average so that it does not bend as easily while quilting. Between needles come in different sizes, however, the best size for your quilting application is the one which barely allows the thread you are using to fit through the eye of the needle.

About size 11 sewing machine needles

Size 11 needles work well on light-medium weight knit fabrics and are the recommended needle size for light to medium weight embroidery. Size 11 works especially well when quilting with polyester thread. A size 11 needle should be part of a good basic sewing kit.

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