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Quilting a quilt with fabric paint on a Sweet Sixteen

by Lina

I have used fabric paint for decorating my princess quilt...

...what size needle would be the best to use when I machine quilt my creation...

...a larger needle...16...or avoid skipping of thread...?


Hi Lina!

I quilt on a home sewing machine—a Viking Designer I—but I think your question has more to do with the fabric paint than the type of machine.

The first thing I would recommend is to make a couple of small samples to test your needle, thread and tension on before moving to the actual quilt.

The reason for this is two-fold...

  1. It's a good habit to get into. If you don't 'nail' the appropriate combination right at the start you'll be frog stitching (ripit! ripit! ripit!) right away. That's a terrible way to start out on a project.

  2. More important is the fabric paint and what it does to the fabric.

I'm a hand dyer, and dye chemically bonds with the fibers so the fiber and color become one.

Paint adheres to the fabric through a physical process and does affect the 'hand' of the fabric. (By the way, neither is better or worse than the other, they just have different properties.)

With a painted fabric, the holes left by the needle are going to show IF the thread you use isn't big enough to fill the hole after it is made. The paint holds those holes open.

So for your project, if you feel a 16 needle is the size you need to avoid skipped stitches, then you'll want to test that the thread you use is large enough to fill that size hole. And testing is the only way to get that answer.

The other thing I'd recommend is quilting at a slower speed. That way if problems arise, you haven't laid down as many stitches.

Princess quilt? You've got me curious! (really big smile) I'd love to see it! Do consider sharing it in our Share Your Quilts page. Then other quilters get to see it, too!

Thank you for your question. I hope to have been of some small help.

Readers, what do you think? Share your thoughts using the 'comments' link below. Thank you!


Julie Baird

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