How to Hand Quilt Without A Hoop

Quilting is an art that makes you relax, explore, and have fun. Though many people use a hoop for accuracy, it can be cumbersome if you have to quilt for long. Well, do you know you don’t have to use that hoop for quilting?

Yes, there is an alternative technique of quilting that lets you use your hand only. Indeed, you might need experience for this, but once you grasp the basics, it is fun and less tedious. So, how do you quilt without a hoop?

How to Hand Quilt Without a Hoop?

Quilting without a hoop may sound complicated, but it is easy once you master the three basic steps. You start by taking two layers of fabric and lay them close against each other. To stitch, place one hand under the quilt to keep the fabric firm and guide the needle and place the other hand on top.

Supplies You Need to Hand Quilt Without a Hoop

Quilting is an old profession. Back then, quilters didn’t have many tools but still made beautiful fabrics. Even today, you don’t? have to have much to enjoy the art, but to perfect the skill, here are some of the tools you can use to hand quilt without a hoop:

  1. Thimbles: It enables you to quilt without pricking yourself. It can be of metal, leather, and ceramic. Before you settle for one, try them out. Choose one that is comfortable and fits you well.
  2. Thread: Go for 100% cotton thread if you do traditional hand quilting. That is because the threads have a coat that makes them soft, glides smoothly through the layers, and doesn’t tangle when using.
  3. Needles: The needle to use for quilting without a hoop depends on your preference. That is because the needle you choose to use depends on what you are comfortable to use, the fabric you are quilting. Modern hand quilting needles are excellent as they are thick and long. You can use them for a modern look.
  4. Scissors: It is advisable to have a small, easy to carry a pair of scissors when quilting. You can clip threads, snip peeping fabrics, and move them around.
  5. Marking tools: You want your quilt to be neat, especially in blouses and dresses, right? Then you have to draw your thread path. You can use pencil or washable markers like tailor’s chalk for dark fabrics.
  6. Ruler: You need rulers to cut edges and angle lines accurately. Though you can use any hand quilting ruler, an acrylic one is easier to use. The see-through material makes it easier to read and mark where to cut and thread. Go for one that is? 24″ long and around 6″-to-8″ wide with a 45-degree angle line.

Steps to Hand Quilt Without a Hoop?

It excites you, right? Yes, the fact that you will soon quilt without a hoop sounds impressive. After making sure you have the above requirements, the following are the steps you follow:

1. Cut the Thread

Take a thread and cut it 18″-24″ long. That is a perfect length as a longer one tangles and stresses you while a shorter one makes you switch frequently. Put the thread through a needle and tie a knot on the other end.

Take the needle and thread and pull it through the back of the quilt. Make sure you accurately bring it up at the spot that you want to start your hand quilting. To hide the knot you made inside the quilt, tug a little through the backing fabric. Make sure it doesn’t come through to the other material.

2. Start Stitching

Start making your pattern depending on what you want. For neat and beautiful quilting, stitches should be small and even. For beginners, six stitches per inch are good. As you scale up, you can go as many as 8-12 stitches per inch.

3. Load the Stitches

As you continue to stitch and guide your needle up and down, remember not to pull all the thread up. To make it easier, load two or three stitches on your needle then pull up. Also, make sure that the tension is even all through. Repeat this pattern in all the places you need to stitch before you switch to the next.

  • Have a fabric sandwich. It can be stressful to trace the quilt in some patterns. That is where the marker comes in. Before you start to stitch, mark your quilting design clearly to make your work easier.
  • Don’t limit yourself. There are many patterns for you to explore. Put your creativity into practice. Of course, if it might be your first time doing this, go for more comfortable patterns like stars, hearts, leaves, or flowers.

It is easy to quilt without a hoop. For a start, try it on an old t-shirt or dress. When the skills are perfect, create artistic pieces of fabric in your home using the technique.

Types of Stitches for Hand Quilting Without a Hoop

Which types of stitches do you know and use? The old technique, which involves stitching two fabrics that have batting in between them, has many kinds of stitches you can try out. For a perfect quilt, you can use one of the following stitches that many quitters use globally.

1. Quilters Knot

A Quilter’s knot is a knot you use at the beginning and the end of a stitch pattern. To make it, take a thread and wrap it around a needle with thread three times. Next, take the three loops and pull them down over the yarn to make a knot.

Afterward, trim excess thread at the end of the knot and start stitching at the quilt center. While you do that, make sure you pull the knot you make through your fabric towards the quilt’s back. You will notice that the knot keeps your stitch pattern intact.

2. Running Stitch

You use this stitch when you want to master a stable sewing technique throughout your fabric. To start a running stitch, you first insert your needle through the front of your fabric and pinch a tiny piece of fabric at the back. What do you do next?

Insert the needle through the fabric as many times as possible in a steady pattern. It can be slow, but you can speed things up. That is by inserting a needle through several stitches before you pull the thread up and using a thimble to guard your fingers then thread with confidence.

3. Rocking Stitch

To make a rocking stitch, take one hand and place it under the fabric’s bottom layer to keep it stable. Using the other hand, start stitching each layer of the fabric starting from the top. Are you wondering where the rocking comes in?

You use a rocking motion to bring the needle to the upper layer after the needle reaches the bottom layer. You rock four to five times before you pull the thread out. Since the stitch involves a lot of moving, it is advisable to have a thick needle and combine it with both a straight and running stitch.

How Long Does It Take to Hand Quilt?

The time you take depends on the fabric size, the patterns you want to quilt, and many other factors. If you are making a small quilt, it may take 12 hours to finish, while bigger ones may take up to 8 weeks. The bigger the fabric and the more complex the pattern, the more time you take to quilt.

What Is a Quilting Hoop?

A hoop is a small, vital two-part round frame that you use when quilting. The inner part holds the layers together, keeps the tension even, and prevents any fabrics sliding while you make patterns. The outer circle has a bolt to tighten the hoop while you move it from one place to another to quilt.



I'm Jessica Flores, a professional fashion designer and an expert seamstress. Crafting has always been a deep-seated passion of mine, one that has flourished and evolved over the years. I've dedicated considerable time to both studying and practicing in the realm of fashion and sewing, amassing a wealth of experience and skills. It brings me great joy to share these insights and experiences with you all, hoping to inspire and foster a similar passion for the art of sewing.

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