Learn how to set up your sewing machine with our handy checklists.
Quilting, especially free motion quilting, is one of the most demanding tasks for your sewing machine.
Use your sewing machine as a quilting machine and it runs constantly.
It's not unusual to use up several bobbins in a row.
Time for a new bobbin?
The sewing machine runs, yet again, to wind it. It gets hot.
Pay attention to its sound and temperature. Your baby can over heat.
Check your sewing machine or quilting machine manual for when, and if, it needs lubrication. Clean the bobbin case regularly to remove lint.
Changing threads? Clip thread close to the spool. Pull the tail out through the needle. Lint won't be drawn back up through the tension disks. For more info see Sewing Machine Maintenance.
Follow these steps to set up the sewing machine for quilting. Be sure to refer to your instruction manual and foot installation guides for help.
This first one is so important that it has it's own section.
If at all possible, reduce your sewing machine's top stitching speed. This feature is available on many newer models via a button or knob.
I'll say it again. As you are learning, do not stitch at top speed. This is just so important. Quilters are routinely told that they must stitch ‘all out’ or ‘pedal to the metal’ for free motion quilting. Horse-hockey!
Choose a sewing speed that is only as fast as you can control.
For a beginner, trying to coordinate the movement of the quilt sandwich and needle speed at the same time to get even stitches takes time and practice. This is normal.
The car analogy applies.
Drive somewhere unfamiliar, the road is curvy and littered with obstacles, you instinctively slow down...to be in control. It's the same for quilting. More comfortable with the terrain? Naturally, you speed up. It's all about practice and confidence.
If the maximum sewing speed can be reduced by pushing a button, you can ‘stomp’ down on the foot control. Your sewing machine will not race along out of control. You won’t need to make constant adjustments on your foot pedal. You can just concentrate on moving the quilt sandwich.
Check the manual for other required settings for your sewing machine for quilting. (i.e. On my Designer I a free motion quilting menu must be chosen. For Pfaff owners, check your manual to see if the presser foot should be in the half-darning position.)
Test the tension settings on your sewing machine. Quilting on a sample quilt sandwich made from scraps of fabric and batt from the quilt is helpful. In fact, use it to warm up. Most of the time, the needle tension will need to be decreased. Test and fine tune on this practice sandwich instead of ripping stitches out of your quilt.
For additional information go to Sewing Machine Tension.
Table of Contents
Free Motion Quilting 101
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