Our Best Tips for Straight-Line Quilting
Straight line quilting looks great and is easy to accomplish on a domestic sewing machine! Today, I'll give you some tips for straight line quilting as well as show some design ideas!
For machine quilting, it's all about the prep! Make sure you've basted your quilt really well, either with basting spray or pins. This will help prevent the fabric from folding or bunching as you handle it.
To get the stitching right where you want it, we recommend marking stitching lines before you start quilting. Water-soluble pens work great for marking your quilt. We recommend water-soluble rather than air-soluble, that way you don't have to worry about your lines disappearing if you don't get around to quilting right away. Before using a water-soluble pen, be sure to test it on a scrap piece of fabric first to make sure the marks are easily removed. If you don't want to mark up the quilt, a hera marker or masking tape can give you guide lines that won't leave marks behind.
Next is machine set up! We always recommend a walking foot for quilting. This helps feed your quilt sandwich through at an even rate. It's an optional accessory for most machines, but it's a great investment if you'll be working on a lot of quilting. When you switch over to your walking foot, it's the perfect time to put in a new needle. A fresh needle will get through all those layers much better than a dull one. We're using a 90/14 quilting needle, as it has a long sharp point to go through multiple layers. And it's always a good idea to test your quilting on a scrap sandwich first to make sure everything is working properly.
For parallel straight lines, a helpful accessory are these quilting bars. You can add these to either the right or the left side of the walking foot for perfect spacing. This Baby Lock walking foot has a little adaptor to add that holds the bar but check to see how your specific guide bar attaches. , Once you've stitched your first line of quilting, you can set the guide bar for your desired spacing, then just follow the previous line of stitching with the guide for great results!
A simple way to make your straight line quilting look custom is to echo around a shape on your quilt top and then fill in the rest with straight lines. This can accent a design in your quilt top and really make it stand out! Here, I've combined echoing and straight lines to accent the triangles. Another super helpful accessory to this Baby Lock walking foot is a ¼" foot with a guide. So you can pop off the normal foot it comes with and add this one instead! It has a guide which is really helpful to use along the edge of a shape to get a consistent echo. It also has a clear front so you can more easily see where you'll be stitching.
Another simple way to quilt with straight lines is by using a crosshatch design. A crosshatch design is diagonal lines that intersect across a block or the entire quilt top. When quilting, it's best to avoid starts and stops and make the design as continuous as possible. This design allows you to do that. Click the link in the video description for a downloadable diagram to help you when you're quilting.
Using a marking tool, mark diagonal lines across the quilt. Figure out the spacing you'll want to use throughout the quilt. Take cues from your design to see where the lines would look the best. I wanted to accent the block with the more intricate piecing, so I based my distance on that one and ended up with lines 1 ¾" apart. Begin stitching with the longest diagonal line on the quilt top, usually at the quilt center. Stitch along the marked line, pivoting once you reach the edge of the quilt (or block) and stitch in the seam allowance to get to your next line. Pivot 45 degrees. Stitch parallel to your previous stitching until reaching edge of your quilt top, pivot 45 degrees and stitch back parallel to your previous stitching line again. Repeat until you get to the corner of the quilt top. Pivot 90 degrees in the corner and stitch down your marked line. Continue in this same manner until reaching the edge of your quilt. Pivot 45 degrees. Stitch as before to complete straight line, diagonal crosshatch quilting.
For a variation of straight line quilting, try straight line quilting with a serpentine stitch instead! This gives your straight line quilting a softer look while adding a ton of texture!
Using your domestic sewing machine to quilt straight lines looks great and is easy to do! So if you're looking to finish your quilts at home using your sewing machine, try some of these designs.