5 Impressive Free-Motion Quilting Background Ideas You Must Try!

Posted by on Jun 7, 2014 in Quilting | Comments


Do you ever get your beautiful quilt top finished and then wonder what can you free-motion quilt in the background that will show off your beautiful quilt?

Read on to discover free-motion quilting backgrounds that will make your quilt stand out in a crowd!

Artist's Pallette Mini Quilt - Craftsy.com

Photo via Craftsy member ButtonsButterfl

When picking your free-motion quilting background, keep in mind that you want a design that is going to emphasize your quilt and the beauty you have created as well as show off the amazing background you free-motion quilted.

1. Echo quilting

Echo quilting is the practice of taking one of the shapes in your quilt and filling your background in with free-motion quilting of that shape or a similar one. It is an excellent method of highlighting your quilt and making your background a focal point.  

Echoing free-motion quilting background

Photo via Craftsy member Susanne Menne

2. Use lines

Vertical or horizontal lines are fast becoming a fun and simple way to free-motion quilt a background. More often associated with the modern quilt movement, lines can offer a quilt symmetry and balance.

There is nothing stopping you from adding both horizontal and vertical free-motion quilting lines to your quilt. Consider diagonal lines or wavy lines as well to add interest and movement to your free-motion quilted background!

Linear free-motion quilting 

3. Add the missing piece.

Add the missing component to your quilt. Don’t hesitate to step out on the wild side a bit when considering designs for your background. This stage of the creative process can be an opportunity to “think outside the box,” letting those inspirations flow into your background.

If your quilt is all flowers, why not free-motion quilt leaves into the background, as shown below? If you did a spaceship, add some stars and the moon to the background. The sky is the limit in your design for a free-motion quilted background!

leaf free-motion quilted onto background

4. Consider more than one design.

When it comes to free-motion quilting, you are captain of your quilt. No one else is calling the shots, so why not take your creativity a step further, using several free-motion quilt designs in your background?

Don’t think you have to come up with just one design to fill your whole background. Add some visual fireworks and use multiple designs throughout your background to encourage the viewer to sit and stare awhile. If you have a large space to fill, break it into smaller sections and decide a different design for each section. If your quilt is filled with small background areas, plan a design for each area that complements its surroundings.

Adding shapes to your free-motion quilted background

5. Change up the thread color.

I have heard many a quilt designer say that thread color can change a quilt from boring to bloggable — giving it a pop that makes you excited. Remember to audition different colors of threads when giving consideration to your free-motion quilting backgrounds. There are times when you want the thread to blend into the quilt and using an invisible or  similar color of thread to the background fabric will achieve this effect. This allows the viewer to focus on the quilt top and admire the actual free-motion quilting rather than the extra visual aid of the color of the thread.

Other times you want not only the free-motion quilting design to enhance not only your background but the thread color as well. When this is the case, consider the color of your quilt, the color of the background and what you want to achieve in your background.

Using thread colour to enhance free-motion quilted backgrounds

By using all these different techniques to enhance your free-motion quilting background, you will be sure to create a quilt that gives visual joy to the viewer.

For more opportunities to learn about free-motion quilting backgrounds, as well as some amazing project inspiration, check out a few of our favorite free motion quilting classes, like Free Motion Fillers, Vol. 1 and Free Motion Fillers, Vol. 2 with Leah Day or Machine Quilting Beautiful Borders with Eva Larkin Hawkins.

What are your plans for your next free-motion quilted background?