Is Free-Motion Quilting Hard? Learn Tips and Tricks

Free-motion quilting is challenging, especially for those doing it for the first time. In machine quilting, the machine is in charge of setting the stitch length, needle movement, etc. But in free-motion, quilting entirely depends on your move. Your hand is in total control.

Unlike 400;”>machine quilting<span style=”font-weight: 400;”>, where the learning curve is easy, the learning curve is challenging in a free motion quilt. It would be best to ensure that specific parameters are correct even before you start the quilting process.

Hence, bringing those perfectly designed stitches becomes pretty demanding and stressful. However challenging, motion quilting is not an impossible job.

You need to understand that most people fail during their first few attempts. And it is only the beginning when they start to learn.

When done correctly, free motion quilting is quite a rewarding process, as the immense joy of doing something challenging is excellent.

You need to be patient and follow these few tips to make your free-motion quilting easier.

What is Free-Motion Quilting?

Quilting is an ancient craft that has been around for centuries. It involves sewing pieces of cloth together to form a textile structure. The fabric moves in a pattern rather than being held still in motion quilting. 

The designs are then made by moving the fabric in different directions with varying speeds and tension levels (how tightly or loosely you hold the material).

It’s pretty challenging to set up the proper system of free-motion quilting as well as execute it correctly on your first try. But rest assured, if you follow these tips, your first attempt will be successful!

I. Plan Your Pattern First

You can’t just start sewing without planning what patterns you want to make. Planning out your design lets you know where to place your pattern and how much time it will take to make it. 

This also lets you know whether or not you have enough fabric or thread leftovers to make more patterns.

II. Choose Your Needles Wisely

The type of needle used will depend on how large and dense the stitches need to be for your pattern. If a thick thread is required, use a thick needle; if tiny stitches are needed, use small needles.

Tips to Make Free Motion Quilting Easier-

I. Plan Your Quilting

Planning your quilting is the key to success. It would be best to decide what you want your final product to look like in advance.

Decide on the design, pattern, and color before you start to get a good idea of what is involved in the process.

II. Start Slow

It is always best to start at a leisurely pace and then increase your speed with time. Quilters typically make mistakes by going too fast, resulting in frustration and even giving up on quilting altogether. 

It is also important not to rush too much when starting out because if you made a mistake during the quilting process due to rush, you need to start all over again. So it’s better to start slowly and steadily to learn correctly.

III. Take Your Time

Take your time when working with free-motion quilting because it takes a lot of patience and precision from both machine and human hands alike to complete a task successfully.

Patience is necessary because there will be times when you will have difficulty finishing projects due to fatigue or lack of concentration which could cause mistakes.

It will help if you remember that you will make mistakes for sure in the beginning. Always have patience when you are learning free motion quilting, as lack of patience will make you demotivated in your learning journey.

IV. Keep Practicing

First, set your goals. You need to know what you want to make and what skills you need to master.

Secondly, practice on a similar project. It would be easier to start with something simple like a patchwork or table runner.

Third, use the design as a guide for your workspace. If you’re doing a quilt for someone else, follow instructions for how large the quilt should be and how many blocks are in it. Then go ahead and plan out your quilt on paper before moving on to the actual project.

Try to find an experienced friend who can help you through the whole process of making your motion quilt. More experienced people will have more patience with you and give you advice when needed.

V. Start from Small Efforts

One of the most important things you need to do is start small. It isn’t easy to get motivated when you have a massive project in front of you. By creating from small efforts, you’ll be able to show yourself that it is not as hard as it seems.

So, try using different colors or threads for your quilting for your first few attempts. You can even try free-motion stitching on pieces of cloth instead of on paper.

The critical thing is to practice and keep practicing. This will help you build skills and confidence while making it easier to complete big projects later on.

VI. You Need Sufficient Space

One of the most important things you need to consider is space. You have to have enough space to work on a quilt. Certain quilts require more space, such as those with curved corners or pieced-together pieces.

However, long straight lines are easier to work on and can be quickly done in smaller spaces like a bed when your child starts asking for their bedding.

In general, the size of your quilt will determine how much room you need for it. So, make sure that your sewing machine has enough space to work comfortably without too many problems.

VII. Increase Your Grip

Before you start free-motion quilting, the first thing you need to do is to make sure that your hands are secure on the material. You should be able to hold onto the fabric without it slipping away from your grip. This is a relatively easy task once you know how to grip the material correctly.

To secure your hands, try using a tool like a pair of pliers or a towel clip to squeeze the edges of the material. You can also use scissors and place them at each end of the material, pressing them together to secure it and make yourself more comfortable.

Another way you could maintain your grip is by dipping your fingers in glue. 

Try dipping one finger into the glue and then placing it in between two layers of fabric so that it sticks together. This will provide you with an extra layer of grip and prevent the material from slipping away from your hand while you’re working on it.

Another solution is placing something like a small piece of paper over your work to add another layer of support and security for your workpiece’s surface area.

You could also add some weight. As long as you feel confident that there’s enough support under your workpiece, you’ll move your fabric more quickly and confidently while quilting.

IIIX. Enjoy the Rhythmic Movement

It is essential to take time and enjoy the rhythmic movement. For those new to free-motion quilting, it is natural that you may find the process difficult. However, if you give yourself time and practice, you will eventually start getting familiar with the rhythm.

The more you practice, the easier it becomes for your hands to move and create a pattern of stitches. So, when you have a hard time practicing, relax and focus on enjoying the process.

The more you can expect from yourself during your practice sessions, the better it gets for your first few attempts at motion quilting.

You should try your best to keep in mind each step of the process before creating new designs or patterns. Furthermore, be sure not to push yourself too hard; there is no need for perfectionism when starting.


Free-motion quilting is not easy, especially for those doing it for the first time. However, it’s not impossible. You need to be patient and follow these few tips to make your free-motion quilting easier.

I hope you find all these tips and tricks helpful.

Leave a Comment