In this post, I’m sharing how to make free-motion swirls using a sewing machine. I was tired of the same old stippling, and stitch-in-the-ditch type quilting. Below is a 5-minute video on how to make free-motion swirls, first with practice, and then on a sewing machine.
This is not hard if you practice the free-motion swirls on paper first. Once you get the hang of the motion, it’s quite easy to get to the machine and go for it.
Free motion quilting is usually done by dropping the feed and using an open-toe foot. By dropping the feed, the quilt will be ‘free’ to move and turn.
Can I free-motion quilt without dropping my feed?
Apparently, yes, you can free-motion quilt without dropping the feed, but I haven’t tried it yet as I haven’t had a need to.
Try setting your stitch length to zero and the feed dogs shouldn’t move. You should be able to freely move the fabric. Install a darning foot/quilting foot, and you should be good to get started with your free-motion swirls!
Here’s the Sunflower Harvest pattern that I just finished. I used the free-motion swirls for the first time on this quilt. The key is to stay within the shape, stopping and starting when needed. Practice on scrap fabric before you move to the quilt. I love how it came out, it gave it more of an autumn look and feel than I expected!
Below is my hand-drawn diagram of swirls, step by step. Sit and practice on paper. Then try on scrap material lined with batting. Free motion swirls are definitely a beginner-friendly quilting technique.
Practice one color below at a time, once it’s smooth, add another part to the swirl.
Another tip is not to panic when you’re quilting.
Another step I took was to stitch around the outside of the applique shapes I was using in the quilt above. This also made the free motion swirls within the shape open with design.
You’re welcome to print out the above image for personal use if it helps! I hope you can achieve a beautiful new look for your next quilt!
Happy sewing, Theresa