Machine Stitching: Free-Motion and Free on Fridays!


appstitch10A fused art quilt has lots of organic shapes that need free-motion stitching. And the beauty of free-motion stitching is that you can easily adapt your stitch designs to those shapes. For example, the spool has stitchery across the face of the spool that echo the fabric’s lines and the idea of thread wound around the spool. Different patterning is used on the top and bottom of the spool using that same thread.

appstitch9After the free-motion work is complete, the edges of the shapes are stitched too. My BERNINA has a great blanket stitch I used around the iron to give it a finished look. Would you like to make an iron of your own? Then please click here for a free pattern for an iron quilt called Pressing Matters. Enjoy!

Machine Stitching: From the Center Out

appstitch6The quilt is always stitched from the center out. But another important part of getting a flat quilt, is to press the quilt top frequently after stitching sections. Press the back too.

appstitch7I’ve stitched the orange fabric out to the different elements in the design (like the paint brush) and now its time to stitch them. Another good thing about free-motion stitching is that you can add definition to areas of the design like the lines on the tip of the brush. Here you see me using the BERNINA Stitch Regulator, perfect for doing exacting work like that needed on the brush tip.

Machine Stitching: Curly Fries!

appstitch4My BERNINA 750 QE is all set up and ready to free-motion stitch the quilt top. Stitching will start in the center of the quilt with the quilt edges folded up so it’s easier to grip. You’ll see the orange fabric stitched up to the paint brush. Later, free-motion stitching is added to the paint brush and then I’ll continue quilting the orange fabric.

appstitch3This is one of my favorite quilting designs, Curly Fries and Bananas.  The sets of curves and spirals vary in size according to the fabric shapes you’re stitching around. This flowing stitch has lots of potential working around organic shapes as well as building pattern in open areas.

Machine Stitching: Machine Set Up

Dye, Fuse, Cut, Stitch by Laura Wasilowski

Dye, Fuse, Cut, Stitch by Laura Wasilowski

For a fused quilt like this one, free-motion stitching is the best method of quilting the piece. Free-motion lets me get in and around all those organic shapes you see on the quilt top. Here’s how I set up my machine, a BERNINA 750 QE, for free-motion stitching:

  • Drop the feed dogs on the machine so the quilt glides smoothly under the needle.
  • Use a closed darning or free-motion foot on the machine. (An open foot can catch on the edge of some fused elements and roll the edges.)
  • Use a Titanium Embroidery Needle (14/90) in the machine. This needle does not heat up as much as a regular needle during stitching so your needle doesn’t gum up with fusible web.
  • Use the same thread in the bobbin as in the top of the machine. I like 40 weight Isacord thread.
  • Sing a tune as you stitch.

Tomorrow the stitching begins!  I’ll show you a favorite stitch pattern called Curly Fries and Bananas.

Machine Stitching: Prep

appstitch1As promised, here is a series on how I machine stitched my Personal App Quilt called Dye, Fuse, Cut, Stitch. The first step after constructing the quilt top is to remove the fused top from the release paper and iron it onto the non-scrim side of the batting. Not every batt has scrim. But if it does, the scrim can ripple the quilt surface when you iron fused fabric to the scrim. This quilt is on the non-scrim side of Hobb’s Premium Heirloom 80/20 batting.

appstitch2The quilt top is then steam set to the batting for 10 seconds in each you spot. Keep the iron moving slowly across the surface of the quilt top and steam through a dry cloth to protect your quilt top from that filthy iron. Next I’ll show you how I set up the machine.