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Decorative stitch quilting and the Les Fleurs Quatro quilt

Decorative stitch quilting and the Les Fleurs Quatro quilt

First of all let me just say thank you to everyone for the lovely comments about the quilting pattern I chose to use on the Quatro quilt designed by Keera Job of Live Love Sew.  I’ve had a few people message me with questions so I thought in this post I’d talk about how I tackled the quilting on my domestic sewing machine.

As I set out to write this, I realised I have quite a bit to tell you about how I chose the quilting design. Lets just say that I knew I wanted a finish which would be soft and snugly, and a little bit retro to marry up with the pretty florals in the Les Fleurs range.  I also needed it done in double quick time as I was working to a deadline.

I don't have a long arm quilting machine, and quilt on my domestic Bernina sewing machine.  Granted, my 710 does have a larger than the norm harp so it is easier to deal with the bulk of the quilt, but I think this technique is achievable on just about any regular sewing machine that has decorative stitch capability.  

I pin baste - pretty much because this is what I have always done, but I can see myself exploring spray basting sometime soon. For your project - baste it which ever way you are most comfortable with.  

After testing a few options on a sample quilt sandwich I settled on the scallop stitch.  On the Bernina 710 this is stitch 719.  After a few more runs, I settled on a stitch width of 5.5 and design length of 38.0mm .  I encourage everyone to play with all of the stitch options on their machine.  I found a few others that I quite liked and will come back to later on.

(Apologies for the sideways  image.  Clearly I had more success quilting than editing that blighter...)

For the first row of quilting  I ran the edge of my walking foot along the side of a horizontal seam from stitching the quilt top together.  This first line of quilting was approximate halfway across the surface of the quilt.  

Where the seam line  I intended to follow was interrupted  (for example across the borders) I scored the surface with a hera marker.  It was crucial to get this first row of quilting straight, as this then became the registration line for the rest of the runs across the quilt.

Once this first run was set, I used the edge of my walking foot to space the rest of the quilting lines.  As I sewed across the quilt, I would make sure that the side of the walking foot 'kissed' the bottom of the curve. When I turned the quilt around and was working in the opposite direction I ensured that the edge of the walking foot 'kissed' the point between the scallops.

With this particular quilt, every 8 inches or so I had a similar seam that I could use as a reference.  This ensured that I stayed straight and didn't drift.  This can be a problem with any walking foot design and if I didn't have that seam line to check my progress, I would have used a masking tape registration line every 10 inches or so.

The scallop is such a forgiving stitch pattern.  Because of the curve withi8n the de3sign itself, if you go a bit off  course you can rectify things with out unpicking if you catch it in time.

 I continued in this manner until I had reached the bottom of the quilt.  To avoid having to squish the bulk of the entire quilt through the machine I then reversed the direction of the scallop using the computerised functionality of my machine.

If this isn't possible on your machine I would think about how to make a feature of the change of direction and just embrace it.  Maybe you could play with sampling a run of a different stitch between the change, or even carefully match up the points of the scallop, or even use a row or two of big stitch quilting - the possibilities are endless really.

Congratulations if you have made it this far - here comes the best bit of all!

You wont have to bury any threads!  With every row that I quilted I stared about 1/2 or 1/4 of an inch from the edge of the quilt top.  This meant that all of the loose threads were trimmed off when I squared off the quilt.  

BINGO!  I was ready to bind.

If you've used decorative stitch walking foot quilting in your projects before and have any tips or problems, we' love to hear about them.

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Michelle - July 27, 2016

Thanks for detailed explanation! My machine doesn’t do a scallop stitch :-( so I just use a very wide zigzag stitch, which is almost as good!

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