Tape is a great tool for producing straight, evenly-spaced quilting lines. While you may be familiar with using tape with a walking foot, you may not realize how it can help with free-motion quilting.
Susan from Quilt Fabrication has created an excellent demonstration. Notice how she taped off straight quilting lines, with shorter tape spacers in between. She stitched on both sides of the tape pieces that span the width of the quilt.
In the demo notice how she goes around the outside edges of the applique shapes when she comes to them. This process allows Susan to keep all the quilting lines evenly spaced and at the same angle. Plus, the lines match up on opposite sides of the applique shapes. And, the entire quilt can be quilted in one pass.
She also used a ruler specifically designed for quilting (like this one). The ruler is thick enough to contain the bobbing ruler foot.
While the demo is done with a longarm machine, this will also work nicely on a standard machine set up for free-motion quilting.
Click here to watch the video at YouTube if it doesn’t play on your device.
You’ll find a lot of helpful tips in Susan’s article, linked to below.
Blue painters tape works nicely, as it doesn’t leave any residue on the fabric. Masking tape is also a good choice.
Susan keeps a variety of widths on hand. Get a pack of 1/4″, 1/2″, and 3/4″ wide painters tape here.
You’ll find a pack of 1/4″, 3/8″, 1/2″, 5/8″, 5/6″, and 1⅙” wide masking tape here.
Quilter’s tape is a good choice for narrow spacing. You’ll find 1/4″ quilter’s tape here.
The same concepts can also be used with a walking foot (minus the ruler). Quilt on either side of the tape and carefully sew around the applique shapes as you come to them.
Notice how Susan quilts the entire piece in one go by quilting some spots more than once in order to reach new areas.
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