Tip Tuesday: Machine and Hand Quilting Basics

When quilting our quilts, a little friendly advice can go a long way. Machine quilting and hand quilting are acquired skills that take time. Sometimes, ideas on quilting designs – free motion quilting designs and hand quilting designs – are a hot commodity. Here are some quilting basics from fellow quilters that are meant to inspire you with your own quilting.

Tip 1: Craft Store Finds
I find that the wooden figures sold at craft stores make good quilting designs, especially for kid and baby quilt patterns!

Tip 2: Reuse those Practices Pieces
I cut my practice pieces into circles and zigzag the edges. I use the circles as protection between pieces of china when I stack them.

Tip 3: Stencil Marking
Instead of using a marking pencil with a quilt stencil, I use a foam paintbrush. I dip it into loose chalk, and dab it over the stencil. It’s really quick!
Fons & Porter Tip: Use a chalk marker, chalk pencils, or a white mechanical pencil to mark your quilt when piecing or marking free-hand quilting designs. Use a quilt pounce for quilting stencils.

Tip 4: Take Advantage of those Tools!
I use the Fons & Porter Quarter Inch Seam Marker when I mark quilting lines for hand quilting, although they work great for machine quilting, too. I like them because they’re small and easy to handle when I do a lot of marking.

Tip 5: Ideas for Machine Quilting Designs
As a new machine quilter, I’m sometimes at a loss when it comes to choosing machine quilting designs. I take pictures of quilts I like (with the owner’s permission, of course), and put them in a small photo album. I refer to the album for ideas and inspiration.
Fons & Porter Tip: You’ll never be at a loss for new quilting designs with 502 Quilting Motifs at your side!

Tip 6: Last Minute Quilter
If your quilt needs an additional small quilt design after it’s been layered, cut a design from contact paper and press it in place on the quilt. Then, stitch around the shape either by hand or machine.

Tip 7: Practice Makes Perfect
When I find a quilting pattern I like, I put a copy of it in a plastic page protector. I use a dry erase marker to practice the pattern. The lines can be removed with a scrap of batting, and i can practice over and over until I feel comfortable stitching the design.

Tip 8: Practice Makes Perfect, Again
I practice quilt designs on a dry-erase board until I get the feel of it. You can doodle away and erase over and over. Use a scrap of cotton batting as an eraser.

502 Quilting Motifs - Quilting DesignsI hope this helps with your future quilting endeavors! If you’re looking for a steady stream of designs for your quilts, try 502 Quilting Motifs. You won’t want for quilt designs for quite a while!

Easy quilt designs, machine quilting designs, free motion quilting designs, hand quilting designs – we can’t get enough of them and a little practice never hurt anyone. Do you have any quilting tips that you’d like to pass along? Send them to us via the Quilting Tips Submission page or mention them in the comments below.

Carrie Sisk, Online Editor, Fons & Porter


Happy Quilting!
Carrie Sisk, Fons & Porter, Online Editor

Other topics you may enjoy:


Fons & Porter Blog, How to Finish a Quilt
Carrie Sisk

About Carrie Sisk

Carrie's first sewing machine was a gift from her dad—a better gift was never given. A crafter, trained pianist and experienced paintballer, when the opportunity arises, she's hiking in Yosemite or Rocky Mountain National Park.