Is Free Motion Quilting Easy? Read This First!

As you started to make your own quilts, you might learn how to do the traditional quilting made by hand, but you might be wondering if there is a method to do the quilting with your sewing machine, and how easy is to get started.

Is Free Motion Quilting Easy?

Free Motion Quilting is a good technique to get your quilts quilted with your sewing machine at home, but it requires to do some adjustments on your machine, some practice, work and time, this technique can be learned by any quilter but it requires practice.

What Is Free Motion?

Free-Motion Quilting is a technique where the quilter will be working on her/his sewing machine to machine quilting a quilt creating easy or elaborated designs. This technique requires a sewing machine with the feature to drop the feed dogs, so the quilter will be moving the quilt with her/his hands to create a design as the quilt gets quilted.

How Hard Is Free Motion Quilting?

Free-Motion Quilting can be hard when the quilter starts working on this technique, as it requires learning how to move the quilt at the same pace the sewing machine will be stitching.

To get started you will need to have enough room to lay your quilt and to keep it easy to move as you will be working on your sewing machine to free motion one area on your quilt.

When you get started, you’ll soon realize working on a big project like a quilt might not be as easy as to sew a small project, this technique will require some practice on small projects, before you work on a regular size quilt, my tip here will be to give yourself enough time to practice in small pieces as much as you can, then when you get happy with the results on small pieces, start working on a small quilt like a mini quilt, a pillow, table runner or a baby quilt.

Get creative and try some different designs, soon you will notice you get more confident to work on your sewing machine, then you can try to work on a regular size quilt.

What Do You Need For Free Motion Quilting?

To get started with Free-Motion Quilting, you need a sewing machine with the feature of drop the feed dogs and a darning foot.

You might find a good selection of sewing machines with the Free Motion Quilting feature, some come with an affordable price tag, while others belong to a high price tag group, to find the machine you want to have in your sewing machine to free motion your own quilts, you need to see what features your current machine has, it might have the drop feed dog feature, then you are ready to give it a try.

Start Small

As most sewing skills take practice, the best way to start, it’s by working on a small sampler. You can prepare a sandwich quilt 6 x 6 inches or 8 x 8 inches, on a solid color fabric, pin enough safety pins, and start some free motion quilting on this piece, you will notice how your hands will need to move the piece to do the quilting, start making some straight lines and pay attention to your machine speed and how fast you need to move your project to get even stitching.

When you feel more comfortable, start working on some free motion patterns, by working this way, you will learn how to move the project to get all the shapes and how to fill up some space to create amazing quilting designs on your project.

Soon you will be ready to start working on a small quilt, and then on a regular size quilt.

Make a Plan

Most quilters make a plan on how to work the free quilting on a quilt before they start by making a pattern to follow on a notebook, by doing this, they will know what quilting patterns to do on every part of the quilt to make it to stand out for their work.

Make a plan also about how to start to work on your quilt and what part to follow, as most quilts are big in size, you need to know how to work on your quilt before you start working on it.

Learn in advance if you will be making the design for your quilt, or if you’re going to use some quilting patterns that can be purchased on the market.

What Materials and Supplies Do You Need To Do The Free Motion Quilting?

When you decide to start working on the free-motion quilting on your quilt, you will need a free motion quilting foot, some sewing machines include it, but some not, then you will need to check if there is one available for your sewing machine brand and model to be purchased.

Then you will need to get some supplies to transfer the quilting design on your quilt:

Marking tools, like pens or markers for fabric, be sure they are from a quality brand and they won’t leave any ink or marks on your quilt.

Quilting Rules, some quilting designs are made with these rules, some can be made with your regular quilting rules, but some designs need to be marked with rules that are designed for free motion quilting and there are plenty of different designs, like circles, hearts, curved rules and more.

A Plastic Sheet Cover, that will be placed to cover the feed dogs and it will help you to slide your quilt to make your work easier.

Free Motion Quilting Thread, when you love to sew, you know there is a thread for every project, and today you can find thread that is made for this technique, which will help you to work with ease and it can be found in many different colors to match your quilt fabrics or to make the free motion design to stand out.

Scissors, pins, hand sewing needles, these are also some supplies you might need, as you get started, soon you will know what tools you will need to have right next to your sewing machine.

Some Problems You Might Get When Starting Free Motion Quilting

Not Even Stitching

When working on free motion quilting, your stitching might not be even and it might look that you’re doing something wrong, this is something most quilters might face whether they are beginners or more advanced quilters and working on a new project, this problem happens because you need to work at the same time moving your quilt around to make the different patterns of free motion quilting on your project and keep your sewing machine stitching on.

As you get skilled, you will know how fast or slow to move your project and how fast your sewing machine should go.

Pulling Your Quilt Hard

Some beginners will tend to pull their projects too fast and this might cause your stitching to be long stitches on your project, this is why you should work on some small samplers to get used to work on this technique, before you work on a large quilt.

Stitching Problems

When setting up your sewing machine to work on the free-motion quilting, you’ll be working with the free motion foot, don’t forget to set up this presser foot to work, I did forget to do it a few times and all I got was a mess under the quilt, soon I got used to doing it the right way and there has been no more problems.

Know Your Sewing Machines

As there are a good deal of different sewing machines models on the market, you need to know well how your machines does free motion quilting, the more samplers you do on it, you will get to know better how it works, how fast you need to move around your quilt and how the free motion looks like when you use your machine.


Making quilts is a wonderful world, there are so many different ways and techniques to make them, and free motion quilting is here now to help us to create amazing quilts.

Don’t let some problems you might face at the beginning to stop you from do it, as you keep working on this technique to make your quilts, you’ll get skilled and you will create beautiful quilts.

If you have a tip to help beginners to get better at free motion quilting, share it on a comment, as we all learn from each others.

Happy Free-Motion Quilting!