What Foot to Use for Collage Stitching

Welcome to my studio! I make fused art quilts with free-motion machine quilting. Every inch of the colorful fabrics used in my designs is covered with fusible web. And, as a precaution, I fuse more fabric than necessary to construct a new design.

This means I have lots of cut-aways or left over fused fabrics. I save these fabrics. Once fusible web is on a fabric, you can use it today or years from now. These oddly shaped fabrics also give me a palette of pre-fused colors to improvise with and often trigger new quilt ideas.

When I’m in a tidy-up mood, I like to build collages from my fused fabric scraps and use them in “color chip” quilts. Art quilts made with these chips have a lot of movement and cheerful color. But there is a trick to the free-motion stitching on this type of collage quilt made with many small snips of fabric. 

Here’s how I prepare my Bernina 750QE sewing machine for free-motion quilting on a collage quilt. (You may have to adapt the instructions to your machine.)

  • Drop the feed dogs on your machine.
  • Insert a straight stitch needle plate
  • Use a size 40 thread in the bobbin and top in your choice of color.
  • Use a chrome coated embroidery needle (best for fused fabrics). Size 14/90 recommended.
  • Use a closed quilting foot.

Why use this type of quilting foot? This foot has a wide, clear sole so you can see where you’re stitching. But most importantly, it is a closed foot. There are lots of raw edges on the fused collage you are stitching. These fabric edges can catch on the prongs of an open presser foot.

But with the closed quilting foot, the foot glides across the fabric surface and keeps those fabric edges flat as you stitch. Free-motion stitching with the closed quilting foot is slick and easy.