Quilting is a delightful hobby that is growing in popularity, with more quilters investing in specialized quilting machines every day. A quilting machine, when used correctly, offers a great way for quilters to create beautiful, useful quilts much faster than hand quilting. Quilting machines are different than standard sewing machines, so this should be kept in mind when purchasing any type of quilting supplies. Consider the following tips and enjoy quilting with a quilting sewing machine!
How Quilting Machines Are Different
Quilting machines are specialized sewing machines designed to make large quilting projects easier than when quilted by hand. Although they are simple in one respect, as quilting machines sew only straight stitches and no decorative or other stitches, they are different than most other sewing machines used today. Quilting machines are bigger than the average sewing machine, with a large "throat." The throat is the area behind the needle where fabric can roll up and be maneuvered as a quilt is being sewn or under which a quilting frame can be slid.
Different Types of Machine Quilting
The two basic types of machine quilting are straight-line and free-motion. Straight-line quilting requires the use of a walking foot on the machine and is best for sewing patterns designed with mainly straight lines. Straight-line quilting is also the easiest to learn, which beginners will want to perfect before moving onto free-motion quilting that involves sewing free-form curves and designs. Free-motion quilting requires a curved darning foot, which allows for other than straight stitching.
Working with Large Quilting Projects
The larger a project, the more difficult it is to manage and maneuver all the fabric. To keep things in order and prevent accidents, such as a heavy quilt pulling the sewing machine right off the sewing table, it is recommended that either the fabric be rolled or that a machine quilting frame be used. In either case, a portion of the project stays flat while there is an already-sewn roll to the rear of the needle and a roll to the front that is the portion yet to be sewn. By continually releasing fabric from the front roll, sewing it, then rolling it onto the back roll, quilting projects can be kept under control.
Sandwich the Quilt Design First
Before actually getting started with any machine quilting project, you must sandwich layers of fabric together so they will stay positioned and not slide out of the way while being sewn. This can be done in a number of ways, either with hand basting, applying Spray and Fix, pinning, or pinning combined with running a walking stitch along rows of quilt blocks to keep things in order. Once the layers are secured, the actual quilting adventure can begin.
Creating a quilt by using quilting machines may take some time to learn; however, just like anything else, practice makes perfect. The correct use of these machines, as well as any quilting accessories, is important for safety reasons and to achieve the best results. By using the tips referenced above, proficiency with a quilting machine will build, and quilters can watch as their beautiful quilting projects come to life!