Top Tips – Free Motion Quilting

To be honest, I’ve always been a bit scared of FMQ (Free Motion Quilting) so when my friend suggested we book into a FMQ demo at the Festival of Quilts recently, I leapt at the chance.

The tutor – Sarah Humphrey – was inspiring and I thought I would share some of her FMQ tips with you.

  • Practice one pattern at a time, and build on the technique. ie swirls become loops, loops become double loops, double loops can become pebbles and so on.
  • Draw your pattern first with paper and pen (no idea why I had never thought of that!!)
  • Get your posture right.
  • When quilting, lay your left hand flat and hold the fabric with your right which gives you more
  • Do a practice piece first.
  • Go at half speed on your machine – steady wins the day with FMQ.
  • Stop your hands first and then your needle…and start the opposite way around.
  • Plan your stopping points in advance – one advantage of drawing your pattern first.
  • Draw sections on your quilt with tailors chalk before quilting, then purely concentrate on that area
    (and after having planned it on paper first).

I hope those are helpful and it inspires you to get over your fear of FMQ! We shall aim to run some quilting workshops in 2018 so watch out for those. And in the meantime, don’t forget to share photographs of your quilting with us – we love to see them.


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