Heather Rose Sewing Boutique

Creating gifts for imaginative play and lifelong memories

Learning to free motion quilt

Heather Rose

One of my goals when I decided to start selling my items was to broaden my sewing skills in the process.  I realized last year I wanted to start free motion quilting.  Rather than sewing only in straight lines, you can set up your sewing machine to sew in straight lines, curves or swirls.  Instead of the fabric being pulled through at an even rate by the feed dogs, you use your hands to move the fabric at an even rate so that the stitches stay the same length.  You can go in any direction, but if you don't move the material in a smooth, even fashion, your stitches will be different sizes and your designs could turn wobbly.  

I was surprised that the curves were one of the harder things to free motion quilt.  I had trouble maintainting stitch length and smooth cuves. 

When I stepped back, I was happy with the curves and the movement they gave the pinwheels!

The goal in free motion quilting is not perfection...I have trouble with letting go of little imperfections...but trying to get an overall effect that enhances your quilt.  Even the best free motion quilters may have slight inconsistencies in small pieces.  By the end of the quilt I felt like I was getting the hang of it, and I'm already on the next project that I will be free motion quilting soon.  

Pictures of the process:

As a side note, I love to see people pull out a sewing machine and see what they can make whether or not they have experience.  If you have a newer sewing machine and have a basic grasp of sewing, many machines can be set up to free motion quilt (even if they aren't fancy, expensive ones)!  

So often people tell me they can't sew because they don't have the patience or that I must be incredibly fast to make what I do.  I do like to sew, but it DOES take patience!  And I may be faster than someone that is inexperienced, but sewing is TIME CONSUMING!!!!  I worked part-time, training in alterations and I loved the shop because the owner/tailor would have people argue prices constantly and he politely, with kindness, explained the process and why the prices were what they were...because sewing takes time and just like you pay your hair dresser, plumber or construction crew for their time on a job, seamstresses have also developed a skill that if you take a moment to try for yourself, I hope you realize the effort and time behind each seam.