Straight line quilting is when you sew straight lines across the top of the quilt in various directions depending on one’s preference and the pattern type. What’s great about straight line quilting is that it creates an overall clean and modern look for your quilt as shown in the image below. Although it sounds simple, straight-line quilting can be tricky and multiple complications can occur depending on your sewing machine settings and if your pattern is more complex. Even though it seems like straight line quilting is a simple technique here are some tips and tricks to help make it even easier for you to do.
Tools & Needs
- A sewing machine with:
- Walking foot for your sewing machine (optional) will help things run more smoothly
- An adjustable presser foot
- Seam guide
- Quilt material:
- Quilt top and bottom fabric
- Batting material (preferably cotton)
- A new needle can make a big difference
Always increase stitch length and decrease pressure of presser foot when doing straight line stitching for best results making the stitches even more durable. Preferably use pressure at 1.5, stitch tension at 3.5 and tension at 3 if possible. Make sure to do a practice run to see if you like those settings, if not simply adjust to your own preferences. Also depending on the fabric type you are using you might want to adjust the pressure either higher or lower.
Puckering can occur when straight line quilting, especially if you sew over other seams which can cause the fabric to clump up like little bubbles. To avoid puckering, try to hold the fabric in place as much as possible when sewing. Make sure that the fabric of the quilt is supported at the back and front in order to reduce the fabric from shifting around causing more puckering to occur. When moving the fabric be cautious and gentle while using the presser foot. Also make sure to slowly guide the fabric through the walking foot when quilting for best results.
If you are a perfectionist and want exact straight lines you can also use a seam guide to help make even more perfect straight lines when quilting. A seam guide often comes with a walking foot but if it does not you can simply purchase one at a quilting store or online. A seam guide gives you extra guidance in order to evenly space your lines when sewing. A seam guide comes with two blades, one for the right side of the walking foot and the other side for left. The blades can be attached at the rear of the walking foot.
Other Helpful Tips & Tricks
- Always do a test run on an extra piece of scrap fabric to see if there needs to be any adjustments made before beginning.
- Keep testing until you are completely satisfied with your straight line stitching.
- Always change your sewing needle with a fresh new one before starting for best results.
- Back stitch every beginning of a line to help lock in the stitch to make it sturdy and durable.
- Work from the center to the outside of the quilt.
Make sure to share with us on our mobile app your favorite sewing tips and tricks that you use when sewing your quilts. Post and share some of your favorite straight line quilts as well on Quilter’s Thread mobile app.
Live well. Quilt well.