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Free Motion Quilting - Bobbin Thread

Why do you need to bring up the bobbin thread in free motion quilting?

I just purchased a straight stitch high speed machine and wonder if the bobbin thread needs to be brought up for quilting?


Yes, bring up the bobbin thread regardless of the type of sewing machine you do your quilting on—domestic sewing machine, mid- or long-arm—to have control over what you can't see.

I do it for two specific reasons:

  1. To make a nice first stitch.--I do all my machine quilting on my home sewing machine. By bringing the bobbin thread to the top, I can put a bit of tension on the thread tail as I hold it out of the way. This seems to eliminate a crummy first stitch. The stitch lays nicely on the quilt top.

  2. To eliminate thread throw-up or a bird's nest on the back of the quilt.--When the bobbin thread tail is left on the underside of the quilt, at some point you're going to sew over it. Even if your machine has an automatic thread cutter, it tends to leave a bit of a tail, and it's long enough to get caught in your stitching.

    Honestly, it's a pain to have to pull those threads out from the quilting stitches because the stitch has pierced the thread. An annoying waste of time.

    Depending on how your machine works, it might also create a thread mass right underneath the first stitch where there's no tension as the first stitch forms.
So for those two reasons, I always pull my thread tails to the top. If you practice this consistently it'll soon become a habit.

Does that help?


Julie Baird

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