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Keeping Consistent Stitch Length When Free-motion Quilting
Keeping Consistent Stitch Length When Free-motion Quilting

Perfect stitches can be done with these helpful tips and a bit of practice.

Debby Brown

According to my students, one of the biggest machine-quilting challenges they face is keeping their stitch length consistent. I often hear variations of, “Debby, look at my stitches. They are really uneven. What should I do? Should I move my hands faster? Should I press my pedal harder? Help!” What I hear when my students tell me this is, “I can’t keep my stitches perfectly even, therefore I will never be a good machine quilter.”

Question: Why do we machine quilt our quilts?

Answer: To keep the batting from shifting.

Here is a little-known secret. Stitches that are not perfectly even will still keep your batting in place!

Now that I’ve taken the pressure off, there are ways to make your stitches look, perhaps not perfect, but more consistent.

General Guidelines for the “Right” Stitch Length

Use smaller stitches for smaller patterns.

If I am stitching four stitches per inch and am quilting a small pebble on my quilt, my pebble will be angular rather than round. Using more stitches per inch will make my pebble appear rounder.

Use larger stitches for bigger stitching patterns.

When stitching a large quilting pattern all over a large quilt, I aim for a larger stitch. If the stitch length is too small, my stitching doesn’t appear smooth.

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Autumn 2017