A sewing machine is being used to sew a piece of fabric.
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Did you know you can do free motion quilting on your domestic sewing machine? Free motion quilting is the decorative stitching designs used to hold the layers of your quilt together. Many quilters will start with straight line quilting using their domestic sewing machine. This is an effective way to finish your quilts and there is nothing wrong with that. But if you want to get a little fancy, let me show you some beginner friendly free motion quilting designs.

I will be demonstrating on my Baby Lock Lyric.

First things first, you have to lower the feed dogs on your sewing machine. The feed dogs grab your fabric and push it through the machine under the needle. For free motion quilting, we need for those feed dogs to be down and out of the way.

Most important before you begin – lower those feed dogs. You cannot do free motion quilting without lowering the feed dogs. Check your machine manual to see where the feed dog switch is located.In this photo, you see the back of my Baby Lock Lyric. Directly under the needle assembly area, there is a button that can toggle back and forth to raise and lower the feed dogs. Check your machine manual to see where your feed dog release button is. Likely it is in the same area as shown here,

Here you can see that the feed dogs are now lowered into the machine. Now I can move my quilt under the needle freely and smoothly.

If your machine has an extension table, I recommend putting it on when doing free motion quilting. You’ll have a nice flat surface to work with and room to place your hands when moving your quilt. And don’t forget your quilting gloves.

Remove your 1/4″ foot from your sewing machine and add your quilting foot. Yours may look different, but these are two compatible quilting feet that work with the Lyric. On the left is the open toe foot. On the right is the darning foot. Quilting feet will have a spring component to help stitch over the thickness of a quilt sandwich.

Attach your quilting foot and you’re ready to start quilting. Below are some examples of a few designs perfect for beginners. I also have a great handout called “5 Beginner Friendly Free Motion Quilting Designs” that you can download HERE. You’ll get instructions and practice sheets to help you learn five free motion quilting designs.

Stippling. This is the first design I ever learned when I began free motion quilting. Stippling is just going here and there and everywhere without stitching over any lines. Think of puzzle pieces. They have lots of curvy, round edges and no two look the same. It’s random and you can go wherever you want….just don’t cross over previous stitching lines.

Straight and Wavy lines. What is more simple than straight lines. If you want to fill a small border or sashing strips, try straight lines. Just go up, and down and leave a little space in between each line. Wavy lines are a good way to fill small or narrow spaces in your quilt. This stitch looks good in a border

Loops. Do you remember learning to write in cursive in school? To make a loop, think of how you made the small cursive letter “e”. Start in one corner, and start making those letter e’s. Practice making loops in a straight line, then move around and make loops all over. Practice making loops from the left, from the right and upside down. Move around in all directions.

Swirl. Swirls are a great design that you can use for an all over quilt design. There are many variations you can do with swirls, but here is the basic design. Start in one corner and make a curve going up. Like you’re going to make a circle. About 3/4 of the way around start to curve in slightly–making a half circle inside the first. Stop, and follow the curve going back out, between the lines, keeping about 1/4″ from the previous stitching. Once you make your way out out, start a new swirl.

All of this can be achieved by using your domestic sewing machine. Baby Lock has a wide variety of sewing/quilting machines. To see more details on the Lyric or any other sewing machines offered by Baby Lock, click here.

I’ve got a great handout for you titled: 5 Beginner Friendly Free Motion Quilting Designs, which includes practice sheets. Click here to get yours.

Thanks for reading!


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