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A quilt can be a symbol of friendship, a token of congratulations, an artistic medium, and even a historical record. Gathered together in museums around the United States, one can see the history of the nation play out across squares, pinwheels, and stars.

As the nation has evolved, so too have the methods of quilting. Where once you had to secure your blanket together by hand, you can now machine quilt it in your own home.

Breaking into machine quilting can feel daunting. This post will walk you through 4 tips to give buoy your confidence before you make your first quilt on a machine. Take a deep breath and read on!

1. Choose Easy Designs to Start

Some stitch patterns will be more forgiving than others. To save yourself the hassle of picking a million stitches out of the quilt face you’ve labored over, try some of the following easier designs:

  • Curved lines
  • Pebbles
  • Loopy meander
  • Square meander
  • Straight line squares

Non-repeating or random patterns are a great place to start. They give you freedom while you figure out the feel of your machine.

Additionally, different types of quilts will call for varying designs. You’ll be glad you have the basics down pat before you venture into more complicated patterns.

2. Make Practice Sandwiches

You’re going to need a place to practice your stitching patterns. With leftover fabric (off-cuts, old sheets, etc.) make small quilt sandwiches.

It’s one thing to practice on a single piece of fabric. By replicating the thickness and heft of a quilt, you’ll have a better idea of what it feels like to manipulate your quilt through your machine.

3. Slow Your Stitch Speed

Learning to machine quilt is a test of patience. You’re probably used to deftly zooming through your stitches. For this project, slow down your stitch speed.

This gives you time to figure out the coordination between the speed you’re pulling your quilt through the machine and the length of stitches you’re aiming for. Local sewing classes are a great place to go for extra help in fine-tuning these new skills.

4. Get Your Machine Ready

Must-haves for machine quilting are the right feet. A walking foot places feed dogs on the top layer of your quilt sandwich so that all layers pull through the machine evenly.

If you want to free motion quilt, you’ll need a darning foot. In free-motion quilting, remember to lower the feed dogs before you start.

The feed dogs pull your fabric in a straight line through the machine. That will inhibit your ability to direct the motion of your quilt.

Start Machine Quilting Today!

As you begin machine quilting, remember you’re just that: a beginner. Take a deep breath, practice, and most importantly have fun! Your skill level will increase each time you work at your machine.

If you’re in the Tucson area, check out Cathey’s Sewing & Vacuum. We sell sewing machines and vacuums, offer classes, make repairs, and more. Contact us today to learn about what we can do for you!

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