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Gather Your
Free Motion Machine Quilting Supplies

The machine quilting supplies listed below are just those items that you will need for practicing the free motion quilting (FMQ) patterns in the coming sections. You may already have the majority of these quilting supplies on hand.

A prepared practice quilt sandwich of at least 16 inches square

If you've just finished Beginning Quilting 101, use the practice sandwich you made for that lesson here. Otherwise, prepare a simple one out of a solid color fabric and batting. I usually take a half yard of fabric and sandwich that for practice sandwiches. You want a solid color so that your quilting is easy to see.


As we learned in Beginning Quilting 101, use the same 50 wt 100% cotton thread in the needle and bobbin. This works best for beginners. There are few, if any, tension adjustments to make. Choose a contrasting thread so you can easily see your work.

Confused about thread? Go to Machine Quilting Thread and Tension for a quick overview.


The Universal 80/12 is fine when you use the recommended cotton thread above. If you use a different thread, remember the needle eye should be roughly three times larger than the thread. Do not use a ballpoint needle; it is not meant for quilting.

If you ‘needle’ quick review see Beginning Quilting 101's Your Sewing Machine Needle.


These are to cut thread tails. A small pair is easiest to use for clipping threads close to the top of the sandwich.


Knit gloves with “grippy” fingers, wonderful for traction when moving your sandwich. To learn more about them and other methods to 'grab' the quilt sandwich, visit our page, Quilting Gloves.

Now just because it's ‘machine quilting’ supplies doesn't mean they come from the quilt or fabric store. To learn FMQ you'll also want the following non-quilting items.

Doodle Notebook and Pencil or Pen

Your machine quilting supplies arsenal should include a spiral notebook for doodling designs. You'll use it for the FMQ patterns you will learn shortly. Keep it handy for when you're waiting to pick up kids from school or dentist or doctor.

Practicing on paper helps commit a particular pattern to the brain and the motion to the hands. You can draw odd shapes and fill them in with these doodles so that you can learn to get into and out of tight spaces.

Doodling does not, however, take the place of time spent stitching at your sewing machine. Nothing can take the place of that practice.

Neutrogena Hand Cream

You can substitute this product for the Machinegers above.

Timer or Really Big Glass of Cool Water

You need to get up and stretch periodically during a quilting session. When you're in a groove you'll find you can go for days without moving...I don't know about you but my poor ol’ body just can’t take it. You can ignore a timer, even when it's set up across the room...but you can't fool with Mother Nature.

Now that you've gathered these simple machine quilting supplies, it's time to move on to the set up of your quilting room or workspace.

NEXT: Set Up Your
Quilting Room

Online Quilting Class

Table of Contents
FMQ 101

  1. Free Motion Machine Quilting Supplies
  2. Set Up Your Quilting Room
  3. Set Up Your Sewing Machine
  4. FMQ Techniques
  5. FMQ Tips

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