Starting Free Motion Quilting

I recently bought an embroidery foot to start free-motion quilting. I was surprised that it is actually not that expensive, so I jumped in as I wanted to try FMQ for a long time.

Luckily for me, Craftsy classes were on sale when I was looking to start FMQ. I joined the “Start free-motion quilting” classes with Elizabeth Dackson (she has a lovely blog here by the way).

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I was so excited to start. I prepared few quilt sandwiches with solid fabric to be able to see the stitching clearly.

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As soon as I started, I had two main issues: slip stitches and thread breakage.

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Elizabeth covers these two issues in her “trouble shooting” session (very helpful session). It appears that these two issues are due to the type of needle you are using. As the thread in FMQ needs to travel faster than normal sewing, the eye of the needle needs to be bigger. I had no clue of needle sizes before, so it was very interesting to listen to the differences and the reason why. All my IG pals recommended a 90/14 quilting or top stitch needle. I went to buy new needles at my local sewing shop and it made all the difference! Whouhou.

Here is the second practice sandwich with different stitches:

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I still need to practice a lot but I already had fun making this. What I find the harder at the moment is choosing the correct speed, keeping a consistent speed and combining the speed of the machine with your hand movements. I first started sewing slowly to be more precise but I think FMQ is better when you go full speed with your machine.

I then wanted to try on a quilt block. I had a log cabin block lying around in my fabric stash who was dying for some action.

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Log cabin is a very convenient block to practice FMQ, I changed stitches at every strip.

IMG_7832IMG_7835IMG_7837The class is well structured with nine different lessons. Each lesson covers a new stich (apart lesson 1:Introduction). Elizabeth also covers a specific topic on each lesson (i.e needle sizes, marking tools, quilting gloves, threads, etc). I first found it a bit odd that she pauses in each lesson to talk about these topics as you will need to watch the entire class before starting your own FMQ. I prefer classes who “set the scene” with all the tools and then go through each lesson. I can place my iPad in front of my machine and I listen while I try.

However, this is not a major put off for me and I still enjoyed the class very much. I can’t wait to practice more. Maybe one day I will be good enough to quilt my quilts!

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10 thoughts on “Starting Free Motion Quilting

  1. Awesome! I am glad you got a quick solution for dropping stitches and breaking thread. That can be frustrating! Your first practice samples look great and I think you’ll be working on your own quilts in no time at all! :D

  2. I wish you all the fun you can have. FMQ is a bit addictive. I took some Craftsy class on FMQ (before Elizabeth Dackson class was launch) and my favorite one was FMQ a sampler with Leah Day. I really like how she explained the reason behind every action she does. One you have the proper thread and needle on your machine, it is just a question of practice, and it improves quite quickly.

  3. Sarah says:

    Thanks for the tip on needle to use. I will have to check and see what I’ve been using for quilting. I drop stitches when I do fmq sometimes.

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