Today, I’d like to tell you about free-motion quilting. This is something many quilters are afraid to try. I want to encourage you to practice, practice, practice, and soon you will be more comfortable doing it.
Grab some of those scraps in your sewing room. You know, those “ugly” fabrics you know you will never use. Make a quilt sandwich out of two pieces, with a piece of batting in between. Use safety pins, not straight pins, to secure the sandwich.
Now, to the sewing machine. Drop the feed dogs. Put a darning foot on your machine. The first thing to do, when putting the quilt sandwich under the presser foot, is to hold the top thread, needle-down and needle-up to pull the bobbin thread to the top of your sandwich, and then hold BOTH THREADS in your left hand. Put the presser foot down (your darning foot will not hold the fabric in place – it is meant to allow movement of the fabric under the foot), and take a few stitches very close together. This will lock the stitches in place. Now, you can let go of the threads, and begin to sew.
The machine should sew at a fast steady pace. Place your hands flat on the fabric on either side of the presser foot, and move the fabric at a slower, steady pace. The needle goes fast. Your fabric moves SLOWER. It will help to have music in the background, or in your own head. Move the fabric to the music, and start to play. Write your name. Draw a flower. Make a box. Draw a leaf, and then put veins in it. This is practice, so you can make mistakes and you won’t have to unsew them!
If the fabric seems to slide under your hands, try Machingers Quilting Gloves. They really do help you “get a grip.” Keep practicing – that’s what makes you a free-motion quilter! Have fun. Relax. Drop those shoulders. BREATHE.