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How To Get Even Stitches When Free Motion Quilting

For sewing pros, perfection lies in how intricately they create their free-motion quilts. And if you want to learn those hidden secrets, you have appeared in the right place. Here, the post is going to explain the various steps of stitching your quilts in free motion evenly.

Imagining beautiful machine quilting designs is one thing. And implementing those imaginary ideas into your work is another. But for a professional, both the jobs seem extremely easy. That’s how free-motion quilting has its existence in the modern sewing universe.

While adding your own design through a running stitch doesn’t sound easy, quilting pros have proved the fact that nothing is impossible. And because of this, amateur sewers are in dire need of learning this technique.

If you are planning to explore the world of sewing, you should not fail to observe the beautiful aspects of free-motion quilting. So, read on!

How To Get Even Stitches When Free Motion Quilting?

But before understanding the steps, it is imperative to learn what free-motion quilts are. So, quilting in free motion is an acquired style of machine quilting. You can perform this technique at home on your fancy machine.

Alternatively, you can also get your hands on this method through your long-arm quilting machine too. But don’t forget that a darning foot is something you must use when using this technique.

In fact, its foot is designed to hover over the quilting quilt. Thereby, it allows you to move your quilt in your preferred direction. As it can move in all directions, sewers can create intricate patterns and designs over the quilting surface.

Easiest Method to Quilt In Free Motion

Quilting in free motion gives you an opportunity to move your quilts in any direction freely. While quilting pros take full advantage of this opportunity, amateurs lag behind and fail horribly.

However, this method minimizes the amount that you require for rotating & shifting a mammoth-sized quilt in the machine. And you can customize the design according to your requirement. From straight lines to squares, everything design can be achieved through free-motion quilting.

No matter how beneficial this quilting technique turns out to be, there’s no denying the challenges associated with it. That said, it doesn’t use the feed dogs (the teeth present under the presser foot). As a matter of fact, it’s responsible for feeding the quilt forward & evenly spacing the stitches.

So, there come the uneven stitches that make the work untidy. Plus, you also need to control the length of stitches and appearance by balancing the hand movement and your machine’s speed. Thus, most beginners find it difficult to master.

That calls for the easiest steps to evenly stitch your quilt in free-motion! And to simplify the process, here’s presenting the most seamless method! Read on and learn through the narrative below.

Step 1: Collecting The Required Materials for Free-Motion Quilting

Firstly, it is required to collect the materials for quilting in free motion. You will require the below-offered equipment for this purpose.

  • Darning foot
  • Walking foot
  • Quilt table for sewing machine
  • Paper for doodling
  • A pair of quilting gloves
  • Basted quilt top
  • Quilt sandwich

Step 2: Frequent Oiling And Cleaning

Sewing in free motion will tend to be faster than usual stitching methods. On top, the fibers will migrate from that batting layer. Thus, free-motion stitching leads to further lint buildup. Also, it requires frequent cleaning & oiling than other sewing types.

Hence, this is a major reason why you should keep the bobbin case tidy and clear of loose threads and lint. It will allow the hook to make perfect stitches evenly.

Step 3: Threading The Bobbin

Now, your next step is to thread the bobbin. You need to remember one thing: once you start the stitch, nothing can stop you there. So, there’s a high chance that your bobbin threads can finish off faster than usual.

That calls for the idea of threading your bobbin and making extras. Even when the bobbin needs a tension adjustment, always remember to perform it right after stitching a sample. Alternatively, you can adjust the top-most tension and proceed.

Step 4: Include A Straight-Stitch Plate

Now, you need to include the straight stitching plate. For a beginner, a stitch plate might be an alien concept. But if you are into sewing for a long time now, you already know what it is.

Just to give you a flashback of what you learned previously, it’s the metal plate sitting below the presser’s foot and needle. In fact, it features a single hole for straight stitching.

Also, it offers support to the fabric as when the needle penetrates your quilt and prevents the fabric from getting pushed into that needle opening. This, in turn, allows for a swifter and smoother formation of the stitch.

Step 5: Attaching A Table

So, your next step is to attach a table. In fact, this will offer a smoother experience, with as much support as required, while quilting in free motion. What’s ideal is a completely flat surface by the set-in cabinet for sewing.

In fact, extension tables happen to be an incredible alternative! For larger quilts, including an ironing board or table beside a sewing machine will support the quilt’s weight.

One Quick Note: You can also tape the slider if you want. For pros, it’s optional. On the contrary, for beginners, it’s a must-have.

Step 6: Inserting A New Needle

The job of quilting in free motion can be accomplished with the help of a wide range of needles. But needless to say, choosing the right needle type for your project is essential. Also, determine opting for the right needle size.

As the needle passes through the needle many times, you must begin a new project with a new needle. In addition, it is better to change the needle whenever you see any skipped stitch.

One Quick Note:

There are many types of needles, including universal, denim, quilting, Embroidery, and topstitch. Choose the one according to your project demand.

Step 7: Attaching The Quilting Foot

You must have the option for a different presser foot for the quilting project. And much to the knowledge of experts, it depends on your sewing machine model! So, the appropriate foot is called the darning foot (right).

However, you should choose the option that offers the most visibility. Let’s say an open-toe foot with the offset shank!

Step 8: Disengaging Feed Dogs

In regular sewing, feed dogs advance your fabric with each stitch. However, when it’s about free-motion quilting, a quilter should control the direction and speed the quilt sans interference from feed dogs.

For most sewing machines, the feed dogs get lowered to disengage the function just by switching one button. Otherwise, you can also set the stitch length and make it to zero. You will see that the feed dogs remain in their original position. However, they won’t advance your fabric with each & every stitch.

Step 9: Setting Up The Needle-Down Function

By setting your Needle Down function, each time, the sewing will stop. With that, the needle gets into a down position. So, this helps keep a continuous line of stitches while stopping to adjust a quilt position.

One Quick Note:

Not to forget, engaging this function is helpful as it allows maintaining a continuous line of stitching!

Step 10: Threading Your Machine

Now, you need to keep your presser foot in an upper position. This will help engage tension discs. For this reason, you need to thread your machine’s top as for regular sewing.

Step 11: Stitching A Sample & Adjust The Tension Accordingly

While starting your new project, it is imperative to stitch a test sample and adjust the test tension. Also, you need to check for the right thread color and quilting motifs. It goes without saying that most machines come with factory-set tensions for straight stitching on both fabric layers.

As a matter of fact, free-motion projects involve three layers, multiple thread types, and disengaged feed dogs. So, you may require adjusting the tension. For this reason, you must adjust the tension in the top thread prior to making the bobbin adjustments.

In fact, tension adjustments might be a quintessential requirement for every project. The fact that batting, thread, humidity, and needle, are factors affecting tension is enough to justify the above-mentioned statement.

So, do you see perfection in the stitches in your sample project? Well, now that you’ve adjusted the tension correctly, begin your stitching accordingly!

How Can You Hide Your Mistakes in Free-Motion Quilting?

No matter how eagerly you wish for accomplishing the task, there’s always room for improvement. That being said, you might want to acquire balanced, beautiful, and evenly spaced stitches through your free-motion quilting.

However, there are high chances that you would make some mistakes. In such scenarios, when you make tiny mistakes, covering them up seems exciting. Firstly, you can use multicolored fabric prints. Additionally, you may opt for a polyester or thin cotton thread for quilting in color, perfectly blending in with the quilt top.


Hello, I am Jessica Flores, and you are welcome to my website. I am a professional fashion designer and a seamstress. I always carried a passion for craftwork. My love for craft grew along with time. I have spent years researching and practicing in this field to gather colossal experience.

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