I think it’s safe to assume that one of the techniques most quilters would like to learn to do better, or just learn to do at all, is how to machine quilt with their own sewing machines. I’m definitely raising my hand and joining that category of people. I still don’t feel super confident when it comes to quilting my own quilts at home on my sewing machine.
Cue Pat Sloan – quilting teacher extraordinaire! Pat has published a series of books recently, with the focus on teaching the basics of quilting. Last year she published Teach Me to Applique and Teach me to Sew Triangles.
Pat has a brand new book out now called Teach Me to Machine Quilt and focuses on lots of tips and techniques for quilting at home on your own sewing machine using both a walking foot or free-motion techniques. The book has lots of information on setting up before you even do any quilting, such as supplies like thread, pins, and needles, batting and basting a quilt, machine settings, etc. Pages of great information with helpful pictures and diagrams. There is also help for maneuvering a quilt through your home machine.
In addition to the instructions on machine quilting, the book also includes 9 unique quilts – 5 projects made for practicing your walking-foot quilting and 4 more projects to help you hone your free-motion quilting. This one is called Checkerboard Hearts.
Love this project called Cherry Pie.
I really enjoyed reading through this book and I can’t wait to use it as a reference as I try to build my confidence in quilting larger projects on my own machine. One of my least favorite parts of the quilting process is basting the front, back and batting layers together before you quilt. I know it’s SO important – and doing it right can save so much frustration when you go to do the actual quilting.
So I was excited when Pat offered to share her favorite tips for basting a quilt. Here’s what she shared:
I really believe that anytime we take a workshop we learn something because our own skill set has change with each one. For example, when I first started to learn machine quilting it was so new and I had so many things to learn, I could only absorb so much information at one time.
Then each time I took machine quilting with another person, I picked up something new because now my skill were at a new level.
One class I remember well is with an award winning British quilt maker Barbara Barber. At the time, her Quilt ‘Winter Solstice’, was winning awards and was hanging in the Williamsburg VA quilt show. It is stunning in person and I was excited to spend the day with the lady who made it. She explained a lot about her process for developing the quilting design, something I didn’t realize people did. And her biggest tip was about basting your quilt. I have used her advice ever since, and it’s the method of pin basting I share in the book.
She laid out the backing and clamped it. The placed the batting on top, the the top of the quilt on that. The tip is to leave the backing clamped to the table and baste without un-clamping it. Why? Because when you un-clamp it to clamp so that you clamp all 3 layers, you ‘release’ the backing and it springs inwards a bit and might wrinkle or pucker. It really works to do this!
Here is a video of Pat in action using this simple basting technique. I can’t wait to try this one next time I have a quilt to baste! When I asked Pat to share, I couldn’t wait to see what her awesome method was, assuming it was tricky and possibly time-consuming. And instead, I love the simplicity because it makes it feel so do-able. Now I need to go get some clamps!
If you want to hear more about Teach Me How to Machine Quilt, be sure to visit Pat Sloan’s blog and see the list of other quilters who are reviewing the book and sharing other tips about machine quilting your own quilts. Also, Pat and her publisher, Martingale, are teaming up to give away 5 copies of the book. Visit Pat’s site for all of the details and information.
Thanks again for sharing your experience and knowledge with us Pat!
*All images courtesy of Pat Sloan and Martingale publishing.
*FTC disclaimer: this post contains affiliate links. A digital copy of Teach Me How to Machine Quilt was provided by the publisher for my review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.