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Finishing Your Quilt – Step 2 – Free Motion Quilting – Video Tutorial

After you have completed your quilt top there are still three rather large tasks to complete before you have a quilt that’s ready for snuggling:

This series covers each of these topics using the exact methods I use for my own quilts.



I love free motion quilting.  I get asked often if I quilt all of my own quilts, and yes, most of them I do.  A few here and there end up sent out to friendly longarmers, but the majority I have to do myself.  I consider the quilting stage, the relaxation part, the therapy.  I’m not very fancy or artistic with it.  I basically just get the job done.  I have branched out on a few quilts, but the majority of my quilts just get a basic meander quilting pattern on them.  I’ve put in all the hard piecing, I’ve done the work.  Quilting is just the time to pop some earbuds in and chill, for me anyway.

Maybe I won’t always treat it this way, but this has been my method for years now.

I’m going to show you exactly how I do.  🙂


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Ruby Beatrice Quilt


I almost always do an easy all over design that requires no thoughts or planning.  I occasionally change up how big or how small I do the meander depending on the quilt.  Other than that, I rarely change my methods.  Of course, I do realize I’m not doing any ground breaking quilting.  It’s not jaw dropping or artistic or anything to take note of at all.  It’s just the quilting, the part that holds the quilt layers together and I’m just getting the job done without any flair.

Still, it’s enough for me.  I find it cozy and feminine, relaxed.  I like to think that the reason I use this method over and over again is because I love it and I’ve done it so many times, there’s nothing left to learn, I’m not making a bunch of mistakes on it, there’s no challenge.  There is something so therapeutic about that.  I’m not saying not to challenge yourself, I do that often with the piecing, but there’s always something nice about doing what you know, dancing with the one that brought you.

I’m rambling, let’s get to it.


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What You Need

To free motion quilt, you need a sewing machine with a feed dog that lowers.  Most machines do this, so yours more than likely does too.  My grandmother’s 1970 Singer did this even though she didn’t use it for quilting.  Read your manual to find out how to lower your feed dog.  Other than that, you need an open toed foot, sometimes called a darning foot, or a quilting foot.  There’s so many names for it, but it has a circle or a partial circle on it.

If you have those two things, you are ready.  Some machines are smoother with this process than others, and if your machine has a large throat, everything is automatically easier, but I’ve quilted on a $200 Janome before I had the machines I have now, and it all quilted up just fine.  You can do this.



A few notes about the video:  This is one of the videos that is part of my Patchwork + Make class, so it was created with the “true” beginner in mind.  If you’ve been quilting for ages and want to better your skills at this particular step, it will be helpful for that, but there’s many parts in this video where I’m probably saying things that you most certainly already know.

If you are interested in this particular quilt pattern, it’s is a part of that class I linked to above.


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Carolina Mingle Quilt


I think I’ve covered everything on this topic.  If I’ve missed something let me know or if you end up trying this, I’d love to hear how you faired.  Next week, I’ll be showing you my binding method.


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  1. Melanie- this is such a great tutorial. I’ve always found meander machine quilting to be one of the most difficult to master. Thank you for also drawing it out on paper (the whole time I’m thinking I need to see this drawn on paper too). Loved the close up filming too. Great tutorial- feeling more confident!

  2. Thank you for these super helpful video tutorials! I’m not new to sewing, but am new to quilting, and your posts are so informative and inspiring.

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