Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Free Motion Quilting Fun

Today I was quilting my Susybee crib quilt destined for International Quilt Market, and I thought it might help someone out there to see how I give myself guidelines for free motion quilting without marking on my quilt tops. I will only make marks on a quilt top under extreme duress, that is, there's a design I really want to do and I can't figure out any other way to give myself the guides I need. In this case, I was able to avoid all marks on the quilt top, and here's one of the tricks I used.

Cutting simple shapes out of freezer paper, Steam-a-Seam 2, contact paper, or any light-to-medium sticky paper is a great way to get quilting guidelines temporarily onto your quilt top. Today I used leaf shapes cut from Steam-a-Seam 2. Freezer paper is good, but you have to use an iron to adhere it, and it doesn't have much hold, so I generally use that only for small quilts. Contact paper is stickier, and since this quilt is going to Market, I didn't want to chance any residue - the quilt won't be laundered before it's displayed. So - Steam-a-Seam 2 was the choice today. I started by cutting out a leaf shape from light card stock, and then traced it onto the SAS2 and cut out shapes. I think I cut out about 6 leaves total for this quilt; as you use them, the edges can get nicked by the needle or just generally ratty so it's nice to have a few for the project.

All you have to do is finger-press the shape onto the quilt top at the spot where you want a leaf (or whatever design you're stitching).

Machine quilt around the shape:

And then remove the paper shape.

In this case, I added a vein to each leaf without any markings or guides - freeform fun!

Then you can move the repositionable shape to the next area where you want a motif:

SO easy, and it gives me just enough guidance to get fairly uniform motifs.

Please leave a comment with any free motion quilting tips of your own. I'm always looking for new ideas!


  1. Very nice tutorial, thanks. Good to know

  2. Great hint. Thanks for sharing.


  3. The blog are the best that is extremely useful to keep.
    I can share the ideas of the future as this is really what I was looking for,
    I am very comfortable and pleased to come here. Thank you very much.