Machine Quilting Designs for Beginners

By Sherri McConnell

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Before beginning a project you might want to think about doing the machine quilting yourself. This not only saves money but also allows you to say, "I made the whole thing myself." Patterns with a lot of straight seams are best for beginner quilters; you'll have lots of reference points to keep your quilting in line. Four-patch and nine-patch blocks, especially with pieces that aren't too big or small, are ideal to work with. So if you're planning to quilt your project yourself, be sure to choose a pattern that will be easy to quilt.

machine quilting design

Once you've finished your quilt or pieced project the next step is selecting a machine quilting design for your creation. There are many different machine techniques that are suitable for beginner quilters. Here are just a few that will work well for you!

Quilting 1/4' or 1/2' away from seam lines is one easy way to finish projects. You can simply use your 1/4' presser foot as a guide with a ruler and chalk, or painters tape to mark 1/4' from seam lines. This technique is best to use when working with simple shapes such as squares, rectangles, and other straight-line geometric designs.

quilting design

Another beginner technique is quilting an "X" within the shapes in your quilt top. Again, this is most effective with straight-line geometric shapes, and you can work with or without a quilt marking tool. Working without a mark will give a more homespun feel to your quilting.

beginner quilting design

Cross-hatching is another easy technique. A crosshatch pattern is created when you first quilt parallel lines of an equal distance in one direction and then quilt parallel lines of the same distance perpendicular to the first set of lines. Grids, or boxes, can also easily be quilted by the beginner quilter.

beginner design

You might also enjoy the wavy zigzag stitch. Because your quilting line is wavy, small errors and mistakes won't be visible. You can adjust the stitch width while set to a zigzag stitch on your machine until you get the look you want. It's a good idea to practice a stitch like this on some scrap fabric so you can be sure to get the look you're thinking about.

All of these techniques are suitable machine quilting designs for beginners.

What is your favorite machine quilting design?

After you've done a little machine quilting on your own, you'll be ready to try some new techniques. Check out Free Motion Quilting a Sampler with Leah Day on Craftsy.

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