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.
Most sewing machine needles are universal
The three most common types of needles are sharp, ballpoint, and universal. Sharp needles work with all woven fabric. A sharp point is especially helpful when sewing straight lines and tasks such as top stitching. The majority of needles are universal needles.
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.
Best stitch length to stitch in the ditch
To lock your quilting pieces together securely the best stitch length to stitch in the ditch with is 1.5mm. Several layers of stitching will ensure you don’t end up with a hole in your quilt and 1.5mm is sufficient to keep your pieces together tightly.
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.
Properly setting sewing machine tension
A 4.5 sewing machine tension setting is the default position for normal straight-stitch sewing. 4.5 is suitable for most fabrics, however, if you perform any stitch that requires width, like a zig zag stitch, you may find the tension is too tight. Conversely, fine threads may require less tension in order to prevent thread breaking.
About stitch in the ditch with open seams
Stitch in the ditch doesn’t work on seams that have been pressed open. This style only works on seams that have been pressed to the side. Securing the quilt top to the batting and backing requires the semi-flat surface created by side-spread seams.
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.
How to tell your sewing needle is dull
A dull sewing needle will make a popping sound each time the needle penetrates the fabric. A dull needle will not feel sharp to the touch. Using a magnifying glass you can confirm a needle is dull by comparing it to a sharp needle. You can sharpen a dull needle with the same sharpeners used on knives.
Tips for quilting on a regular sewing machine
Quilting with a regular sewing machine isn’t easy but it is possible. Straight-line quilting with a walking foot or a free motion quilting foot work best. If you want to give it a try be patient, keep the scissors handy and work a little more slowly until you get the hang of it. Beautiful sewing machine quilts are very satisfying to make.