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White on white fabric and machine quilting

Does machine quilting on white on white fabric requires special techniques?


Most of the time I would say 'no', it does not.

White on white fabrics generally have a design 'painted' onto the top of the fabric. Sometimes that paint can be a little stiff.

Choose the correct needle

If you are have any problems with your needle piercing the fabric (i.e. your stitches look 'crooked') then switch to a MicroTex Sharp needle. It has a very sharp, acute point and a slim shaft. (Schmetz codes these needles with a purple band.) It should slide through that painted areas like a knife through butter.

If there are a lot of heavily painted areas, then make sure that your needle is just big enough for the thread you are using. A large needle will leave a large hole in the painted areas, and the paint will hold the shape of the hole.

Starch to compensate...

Personally, I wouldn't use a white on white for a backing fabric. First, because of the stiffness and second, because it may have a tendency to drag on the bed of my sewing machine as I quilt...the paint acting like minute grippers.

To compensate for this, you could starch any white on white backing fabric so that it slides more easily on the bed of your machine. I frequently starch my quilt backs (regardless of the backing fabric) because of the extra 'slide'. Just be sure to at least test for bleeding fabric to confirm there are no bleeders in your quilt as you will need to wash the quilt once it's completed to remove the starch.

My final suggestion is to use quality white on whites like those purchased from your local quilt store. In general they will be less stiff and printed on a finer quality of fabric. You'll be a happier quilter.

I hope this helps. Good question!


Julie Baird

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