Quilting Your Quilt

Sew Simple it's just Squares!

Large throw Quilt Detail

Quilting is stitching which holds the three layers of the quilt 'sandwich' together while forming a decorative design. 


Before I insruct you on how to 'quilt your Quilts, I would like to provide you with a little background information about Quilting which I feel is important for you to understand before you start the a quilting turorial.


Quilting can be by hand or machine.

Hand quilting is done using a quilting 'hoop', 

(seen here pictured on the right), or a quilting frame.


Most quilters use a particular quilting thread made for hand-quilting.

Stitches go all the way through to the backing, and should be the same size on the back of 

Quilting Hoops

the quilt as on the top of the quilt. The stitches are usually small uniform 'Running Stitches'. The stitch is worked by passing the needle in and out of the three layers of the quilt.

Running Stitch

The diagram on the left illustrate how to do a basic Running Stitch.

Walking Foot

Professional Quilting Machine

Quilts can also be machine quilted. They can be quilted using your domestic sewing machine using a 'walking foot' (pictured on the left). The walking foot helps to make machine quilting smoother and pucker free because it feeds the layers of the quilt through the machine evenly.  Without it the feed dogs (those teeth under the needle) will feed the bottom layer of the fabric through the machine, leaving the batting and top layers open to puckering because they are not being fed through the machine at the same rate.


Check to see if you have a Walking Foot amongst your sewing bits and pieces. If you note down the brand and model number of your sewing machine, and go to you local sewing store you should be able to get one for your machine. 


If you are a first time quilter the actual process of 'quilting' can be quite daunting. If you do not want to quilt'your Quilt on your regular sewing machine, the other option is to send your Quilt to a Longarm Quilter. 


The Longarm Quilting Machine (pictured on the left), is very different from your sewing machine at home. It is a large piece of 


equipment. The Quilt is held stationary in a frame while the machine head moves over the quilt, quilting a particular design. The Longarm Machine can be run by hand or a computer. I recommend really large Quilts be professionally machined rather then wrestle your Quilt on your domestic sewing machine.


The cost of professional machine quilting does vary depending on the size of your Quilt and the particular type of quilting your are after. Your local Quilt Store should be able to give you some names of professional longarm quilters, alternately 'google' local machine quilters in your area. I do suggest you get a few quotes as the prices for machine quilting can vary greatly.

How I do 'my' Quilting.

I have over 16 years experience in sewing and quilting. Much of what I have learn't has been self taught. I make beautiful Handmade Quilts  for a living and to date have probably made over 200 of them!


In my Quilts I like to use a combination of machine quilting and hand quilting. I use my 'loyal' domestic sewing machine for sewing everything. It was purchased when I couldn't sew a thing when I was pregnant with my first child, Lucinda. To this day, I would not trade that sewing machine in for anything.



If you have a sewing machine you can learn to use it to quilt the Quilts you make too! The following tutorials will give you a basic start to machine quilting. There are three types of machine quilting designs to be covered- Cross Hatch quilting, quilting in the Ditch  and  quilting on Lines Drawn on Your Quilt.


Once you have basted your Quilt together you are ready to be machine quilt. It is really up to you as to which of the three types of machine quilting you choose to do on your quilt. Take your time to read and re-read the information in the tutorials before you start. You can do it!

Quilting Supplies you will need.

You will need a Quilters Ruler to mark straight-lines on your Quilt top and a Water-Soluable Felt Pen or Quilter's Chalk to draw on your Quilt top. I prefer to use the Watrer-Soluable Pen for marking my Quilts. Once you have finished quilting the pen marks can be easily removed from the quilt using water and a damp cloth. 


Your sewing machine! Talk nicely to it and it will do nice things for you. My tip is to have your stitch length, not on a small setting, aim for a larger stitch on your Quilts. Secondly, you will need a good quality Cotton Thread. I always use Gutermann, this is my personal choice.

This page offers you information and mini slide show tutorials about Machine Quilting and Hand Quilting.  The types of quilting covered are- 

Cross-Hatch Quilting Tutorial

In image a. above, the Quilt has a diagram of red lines all over it. The line are there to show you how you will draw lines on your Quilt. The lines will 'cross' one way and then the other way on the Quilt. This will give you a cross-hatched quilting result. Image b on the side, shows how the quilting looks when it is finished.

Marking a Cross-Hatched Design on a Quilt Top



Choose & click on the particular quilting you are after and you will be taken to the tutorial information on that particular type of quilting.



1. To begin you need to 'mark' the quilt, simply draw directly onto the top of the Quilt. You will need your Quilters Ruler and Marking Pen or Chalk.


2. Starting at one of the corners on the quilt use the ruler to rule  a straight line. Draw the line diagonally across the square one corner to the other. Continue drawing your diagonal lines across each square in the same direction,  on the remaining squares on the Quilt.



3 &4. Shows the diagonal lines drawn across the Quilt. The red arrows on the images indicate which way the diagonal lines were drawn.



5. Now turn the Quilt so you can draw diagonal lines on the Quilt top which will go the other way.

6. This image show a detail of the cross- hatched lines drawn across the quilt square.

7. Shows the cross-hatched lines drawn across some of the squares on the Quilt top. Once the entire Quilt has been marked with lines you are ready to begin quilting the Quilt on the sewing machine.


The lines you have drawn are the lines you are going to sew on when you quilt the Quilt on your sewing machine.


The cotton thread you choose for the sewing machine should match the majority of the colour squares on your Quilt top, or use a neutral colour like cream or beige cotton thread.


Quilting a Cross-Hatched Design on a Quilt using a Sewing Machine



8. This Quilt has a border on it so, I started  the quilting in one of the corners on of the Quilt. If your Quilt has no border start in the corner of your Quilt top. 


To begin raise the presser foot up with the needle up. Slide the quilt into position under the needle. Lower the needle into the corner where you want to begin quilting then secure it in place with the presser foot. 


You always need to secure the thread at the beginning and end everytime you sew, otherwise the stitching will come undone at the start and stopping points.


Begin stitching by making 2 stitches and then stop. Put your machine in reverse and take 2 stitches backwards to secure the thread. Now lets get quilting! 


9 & 10. Follow the drawn lines on the Quilt and sew directly on top of them. Continue stitching and when you get to a point where the straight line stops, you will need to change direction so stop sewing.



11. When you get to a conrer you need to turn the Quilt so lower the needle into the fabric and raise the presser foot.

12. Pivot the Quilt in the direction you need to sew, lower the presser foot again and continue stitching.


When you reach a spot on the Quilt where you need to stop stitching, take two stitches backwards to secure the thread. Cut of the excess thread on the front and back of the Quilt close to the Quilt.

13, 14 & 15. Continue quilting the quilt until all the marked lines have been sewn. When you have finished remove all lines drawn on the Quilt.


If you are making the Sew Simple it's Just Squares Cot Quilt or Simple Bassinet Quilt on this Website they have a border.


These Quilts will need to have the border quilted aslo.  The particular type of quilting you will need to do is called 'Quilting in the Ditch'. The following tutorial will show you how to do Ditch quilting.

Quilting in the Ditch Tutorial




Around the Border of a Quilt





Stitching in the Ditch is a quilting method used to show as little of the stitching as possible on the top of the Quilt. On the sewing machine you are sewing the stitch on the side of the seam with less seam allowance, as close as possible to the stitching on the Quilt top.


1. To begin start at the corner of the Quilt. Raise the presser foot and the needle. Slide the Quilt into position. Drop the needle between the two fabrics which meet at the seam. 


2. Lower the presser foot and stitch two stitches forward and backwards to secure the thread. Stitch along the seam line, pulling the fabric apart slightly on both sides of the seam as you sew. Go slowly and carefully as you guide the Quilt under the needle.


Continue stitching the areas on the Quilt which require this particular type of quilting. When you get to a point where you need to turn like a corner you will need to turn the Quilt. Lower the needle into the fabric and raise the presser foot. Pivot the Quilt in the direction you need to sew, lower the presser foot again and continue stitching. Where you reach a spot on the Quilt where you need to stop stitching, take two stitches backwards to secure the thread. Cut of the excess thread on the front and back of the Quilt close to the Quilt.


3. Shows an image of how the quilting in the Ditch looks on top of the quilt.

To return to the 'I believe in Rainbows. Make a wish!' Quilt Tutorial click on this button.

Quilting in the Ditch in the centre of a Quilt 

The following mini slideshw tutorial covers information about Quilting In the Ditch on a Quilt. The Simple Bassinet Quilt was machine quilted in the ditch in the seams in the centre of the Quilt, and around the border of the Quilt.

Quilting a Straight Line on a Sewing Machine.


Straight Stitching on the 'Sew Simple...it's just Squares! Large Throw Quilt

Detail from the Large Throw Quilt

Quilting a stright line on a Quilt is the easiest form of machine quilting.


On the Sew Simple... it's just Squares, Large Throw Quilt I used a quilters ruler and a water soluable pen to mark staright line across and down the quilt. I sewed directly on top of the lines drawn with the sewing machine.

If you are quilting a large Quilt be sure you have a large surface to the back and to the left of the machine to help support the Quilt as you quilt. If it helps roll the two sides of the Quilt up towards the centre so you can concentrate on quilting a smaller section of the Quilt at a time.

Straight Stitch quilting on the sewing machine. 

This detail shows the lines of stitching go both ways on the Quilt.

On the 'Sew Simple... it's just Squares', Large Throw Quilt I created the Straight Stitch Quilting in the following way.


1. Firstly I prepared the Quilt for quilting by using a Quilters Ruler and Water Soulable Felt Pen to draw lines down and across the midde of each square on the top of the Quilt.


2. I chose a cotton thread which coordinated with the backing fabric's colour. The backing fabric has a blue and white print on it so I chose an off white colour thread to use in my sewing machine to quilt it. You can choose a colour thread for your Quilt which blends in with the colours of the squares on top of the Quilt or select a colour to blend with the backing fabric.


3. Set a stitch length on the sewing machine at 6-10 stitches per inch. Quilt the straight lines across the width of the Quilt first. You are going to sew moving across the Quilt, sewing each straight line from the centre to the outside of the Quilt. Place the centre of the Quilt under the sewing machine. Starting at the raw edge of the Quilt begin sewing. Sew two stitches, stop and reverse two stitches to secure the stitches.


4. Continue stitching normally on the sewing machine sewing directly on the marked lines on the Quilt. When you get to the end of the straight line where you need to stop stitching, take two stitches backwards to secure the thread. Cut the thread close to the Quilt on the front and back of the Quilt.


Remember to always secure the thread at the beginning and end everytime, otherwise the stitching will come undone.


5. Turn the Quilt and sew the other side, starting at the centre next to the last straight line sewn. Sew the remaining lines in left to right order.


6. Once all the lines have been sewn across the width of the Quilt. Begin sewing the straight lines down the length of the Quilt. Starting with the centre line first. Then sew each line moving from the centre towards the outside edge of the Quilt. Turn the Quilt and finish quilting the remaining straight lines on the Quilt.


Congratulations! You have now finished quilting straight lines on the Quilt. Now you are ready to make the Binding and sew the Binding for the Quilt. 






Quilting Your Quilt by Hand


I will begin by saying my hand quilting is nothing like 'proper' hand quilting. I break all the rules. I use an embroidery needle instead of a needle called a 'inbetween'. I use 2 strands of DMC Cotton Thread, rather then Quilting Cotton and my stitches are much larger.


If you want to learn how to quilt by hand using the master quilter's way, I suggest you go and do some of your own research on 'google'.


The hand quilting information I present to you may upset the real quilter's out there. At the end of the day you do want you are comforable with and that is what I do. The way I do my own hand quilting has served me well over the last 16 years and I am happy to share my methods of hand quilting with you. 


Hand quilting around a shape drawn on a Quilt top.

The following mini slideshow tutorial will show you how to hand quilt a shape drawn on a Quilt top .

To return to the 'I believe in Rainbows. Make a wish!' Tutorial click on the button below.

Little Heart Quilt

Circus Time Quilt

On the Little Heart Quilt you can see hand quilted hearts on some of the squares. I have also hand quilted around the applique hearts on the Quilt.


This Quilt has also been quilted in the ditch on the sewing machine.

On the Circus Time Quilt  you can see hand quilted circles in the centre of each themed square.


This Quilt has also beem cross-hatch quilted on the sewing machine.

Hand-quilting around the outside of an Appliqued Shape.


The following mini slideshow tutorial will show you how to quilt by hand around the outside of an appliqued Star on a Quilt.

Sew Handmade

for the love of handmade

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