Stitching in the ditch is a common technique used by quilters working on all types of quilting machines; it produces favorable results when you want to hide your stitch lines. Still, many sewists get a little nervous when first trying this technique, thinking they won’t be able to keep their lines straight.

Whether working with a tabletop machine or long arm quilting machines like the Juki TL-2200QVP, you can get great results when you stitch in the ditch and follow these simple tips.

  1. Use the Right Thread - Since the goal of stitching in the ditch with quilting machines is to hide the stitches, you should always use a thread that closely matches the color of your fabric. In doing so, your stitches will disappear into the fabric and only be visible upon close inspection. If you’re working on fabric with multiple colors, choose the color that looks the least visible against your fabric.
  2. Use A Ditch Stitching Presser Foot - For those who want to use it on their Juki TL-2200QVP, try using a ditch stitching presser foot. This foot is made with a little guide that slides right into the seam, helping you stitch a nice straight line. It aligns the needle perfectly to make strong, yet hidden quilt stitching. You don’t have to use one, but if you’re worried about straight lines when you stitch in the ditch, this foot can be a great accessory.
  3. Stitch on the Low Side - When working without a ditch stitching foot and positioning the needle on your own, press the fabric down and look at how it lays. One side of the seam will normally look slightly higher than the other because of how the seam allowance lays on the underside of the quilt top. Stitch the most inconspicuous lines with short or long arm quilting machines by stitching right on the edge of the lower side. The slightly taller opposite side will hide your stitches even more.
  4. Stitch How You Want - When stitching in the ditch, some people prefer to do it before quilting and some like to do it afterward. before they actually do the quilting. Regardless, there’s no rule as to when you do it. Do your ditch stitching whenever it feels right and you think you'll get the best results.
  5. Practice - Like all other sewing skills, practice makes perfect when it comes to stitching in the ditch. Whether you're using a ditch stitching presser foot or just a universal ¼-inch foot, go slow and do it often, practicing on scrap fabric if necessary. This technique really isn’t very difficult, so you should get the hang of it in almost no time.

Stitching in the ditch is a great way to finish quilt tops sewn using quilting machines like the Juki TL-2200QVP. The technique is fun, easy, and produces beautiful results when done correctly. By using these handy tips, anyone working with either standard or long arm quilting machines can stitch in the ditch with ease!

Juki TL2200QVP Quilt Virtuoso Pro Longarm with Grace Virtuoso King Frame

long arm quilting machines