Doll Quilt Sew-Along, Part 3

on February 12 | in Doll Quilt Sew-Along, Sew-Alongs, Sewing Tutorials + Patterns | by | with 48 Comments

Don’t miss Part 1 and Part 2 of our Doll Quilt Sew-Along from Alissa. Visit the Sew-Along area of the forum with any questions. Add pics along the way, either in the forum or in the Sew,Mama,Sew! photo pool.

From Alissa:
Welcome back to the doll quilt sew along! Here in part 3, we will be quilting our quilt “sandwich”. I think for new quilters, sewing into their pretty quilt top can be scary. But really this is the BEST step!


The finished doll quilt.

It’s now that your quilt top will become even prettier than it already is. Some people like to quilt by hand, but I’ll be focusing on machine quilting. There’s a great tutorial here on hand quilting if that’s what you’d prefer to do. I decided to quilt my top with both straight lines and free motion quilting, so I’ll be covering both options.

Part 3: Quilting

For machine quilting, you’ll need a walking foot for straight lines. It feeds all layers of your quilt sandwich through the machine evenly. If you don’t have one, on a quilt this small a normal foot could work fine, but you wouldn’t want to try it on a larger quilt. If you plan on quilting more and don’t have a walking foot, I’d suggest buying one. In this photo, it’s the bigger foot with the white plastic. For free motion quilting, you’ll need your darning foot. It’s the one in this photo that is metal with a hole in the middle of it.
First, I attached my walking foot and I sewed a straight line along all of my borders. Sewing right in the seam like this is called “stitching in the ditch” and is a good way for a beginner to quilt. But maybe you want to sew diagonal lines? Or a square spiral that starts in the center of your quilt? The options are limitless! Think about what will showcase your fabrics. Be creative and have fun!
Be sure to set your sewing machine so that the needle stops in the down position. This way you can stop and start as much as you’d like. You’ll also be stopping and starting to remove your basting pins as they get in your way.
Next, I filled in the rest of my quilt with free motion quilting. The pattern I did is called stippling and it’s a very basic all over pattern that’s perfect for first time free motion quilting. My single biggest tip is to practice on scraps of quilt “sandwich” before you dive into your pretty top. With some practice, it’s not tough to get the hang of it! Attach your darning foot, put your feed dogs down (don’t forget that step or you’ll struggle to move your quilt around) and go! There’s a wonderful conversation about free motion on flickr here that gives you loads of tips and tricks on how to free motion.
Be sure to mind your embellishments as you quilt. You wouldn’t want to sew over some pretty embroidery or break a needle on a button!

Once you have finished quilting, stop and look at your amazing work. Isn’t it exciting how the quilt comes together when you sew all the layers like this?


Finished quilting, top view.

See you back here for part 4 when we will bind our quilts and be all finished!


Finished quilting, back view.

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48 Responses to Doll Quilt Sew-Along, Part 3

  1. heela says:

    I love the fabrics you chose…can you tell us what the backing fabric is…and maybe some of the front pieces as well? I think i recognize the owl patterns…so cute in this quilt!

  2. Terri Reyes says:

    Thank you so much for this detailed tutorial. I had never really seen good instructions on how to free-motion quilt and had felt too intimidated to use my stippling foot (which I’ve owned for at least 7 years) until I read this. I’m pleased to say I was so inspired that I decided to just jump in and try it out on a project I had recently completed. (I practiced a little on some muslin sandwiches first, but then just gulped and went for it.) The result isn’t perfect, but I’m really thrilled to have done it at all and feel incredibly liberated. I used to dread the quilting portion of this whole endeavor, which dragged a lot of the momentum out of projects I was otherwise happy with. Now I feel liberated and look forward to doing this more. There is just no comparison between a piece with very dense quilting and one with very sparse quilting–the feel is completely different. Thank you!

  3. Mary says:

    I’ve been wanting to try free motion quilting for awhile, so this was the perfect opportunity. I bought a darning foot, but I think I must have gotten one that was incompatible with my machine or something. I could. not. get. it. to. work! I have an older, extremely simple sewing machine. I think I may wait until I upgrade to a better machine before I try the fancy quilting again. I ended up just doing wavy lines and I like the way it looks too. I’ve really enjoying doing the sew a long with you. Thanks for the great series!

  4. Gretchen says:

    I really want to try freehand quilting after seeing this! You make it seem so unintimidating! Thank you!

  5. Emily Clark says:

    Thank you for the great tutorial! I have been working up the courage to start my first quilt and I think I am ready now thanks to your instructions. What is the name of the beautiful fabric you are using on the back of the quilt? Can I get it from sewmamasew? Thanks again.

  6. Stacy says:

    looks beautiful!

  7. Jenny says:

    I’m all caught up and I’d like to thank you so much for the sew along. I’ve learned so much about my machine. Thanks again!

  8. Kristen says:

    I can’t wait to pick out some fabric for this! I want to try quilting, but a whole quilt is so intimidating, even a throw. I love the little hints and tricks and the links to more tips! Thank you!

  9. Toby says:

    Those kitty feet make me chuckle every time!

  10. juliecache says:

    I love the fabrics chosen for this tutorial. I’ll need to break out the manual to figure out how to lower the feed dogs. I’ve always wanted to machine quilt.

  11. lesley says:

    that’s a great post, i have yet to tackle quilting. my first ever quilt top in my cupboard waiting for me to start on quilting it. it’s been sitting in there for 8 months! i think i’m about ready to try.

  12. Kate says:

    Thanks! This was just what I needed to get started on free-motion quilting.

  13. Britney C. says:

    I can’t wait to finish my quilt! Thanks for the tips on quilting – it was all very helpful!

  14. Christy says:

    Love the swirly quilting! A t-shirt quilt is one of the 1st projects I’d like to try to thanks for the tutorials!

  15. adrienne says:

    Awesome segment…clear and concise. I am practicing stippling on coaster and placemats. It’s not a big deal to me if they don’t look perfect, but it’s not a waste of fabric or time. =]

  16. JaneR says:

    I love this project! Your instructions are thorough and your example is gorgeous. The backing is sooooo sweet. Thank you!

  17. Shellyfish says:

    You make it look so easy! Maybe it is, and I’m just a little nervous…? I know this is the “year of the quilt” for me, so I need to just go for it!

  18. Kory says:

    Just wanted to let you know that I nominated your blog for a lemonade award on my blog! Thanks for all the great craft tutorials!!

  19. Beth says:

    Thanks so much for the info and links… can’t wait to give it a try on my little doll baby quilt.

  20. Sarah says:

    Beautiful! This makes me want to quilt!

  21. amy says:

    Great tutorial! Love the backing fabric!

  22. Libby says:

    I love the fabric on the back of this quilt. I think doll quilts are a wonderful way to get your fix for quilting without spending a lot of time on one project.

  23. Suzi says:

    Looks great! I have to get going on mine.

  24. Annalea says:

    i am about to start my first quilt – thanks for the extra tips. (i love the backing fabric and the new spotted owl fabric as well)

  25. Bethany says:

    Excellent tutorial! I have several tiny quilt tops waiting to be finished and displayed for all to see. Maybe this is what I needed to finally get motivated to get them done.

  26. Katie says:

    Love the back fabric! What line is that from?

  27. jen w says:

    wow, i love the fabric on the back:) how wonderful. i am excited to try!

  28. Kelli says:

    I finally bought a darning foot today so I can tackle learning free motion. I have made 3 quilts of varying sizes and just used a walking foot on all three. I think I am ready to go crazy and free! Thanks for the link to the flickr site!

  29. Sara says:

    I will be doing this tomorrow and over the week-end…really nervous!!!

  30. jessica m says:

    It just occurred to me (as I plan to make my first quilt) that I’m not sure how you do the middle of the quilt. What do you do with all the bulky fabric to the right of the needle that is all bunched up in the arm? Does that make sense? I’ve sewn a lot of stuff, but you’re always sewing the edges, you know? Am I over thinking this?

  31. Bethany says:

    Thanks so much for doing this sew along, I have been excitedly waiting to see the explanations of each step. Time to go quilt!

  32. Leah says:

    This is so helpful! Thanks for sharing with us.

  33. Skulleigh says:

    Oh man, I can’t start working on this step until tomorrow! I don’t want to wait! 😀
    Now I have to find my darning foot – I think I have one, but I’m not sure. If all else fails, I guess I will just do straight lines.

  34. Frogdancer says:

    I’m so glad you included those links (especially the Flikr group.) I’m going to a 2 day free motion quilting class next month, but I really like the heads up for what to expect. Thanks!

  35. Heather says:

    thank you for this. I’ve only done basic, in the ditch quilting. . . simple. I have a darning foot and plan to give free motion a whirl with this sew-along. Thanks for the guide and inspiration!

  36. Emily says:

    I’m going to go practice this by making pot holders. Hopefully I master it so I don’t mess up my pretty quilt!

  37. jodie says:

    Looking forward to the binding tutorial!

  38. alisha says:

    Looks lovely. I can’t wait to try my hand at quilting. I’m off to find a walking foot and darning foot!

  39. Diane says:

    Great tutorial. Is the darning foot the only type of foot that can be used for stippling? Thanks:)

  40. Jane says:

    This quilt will delight a little girl I know. She will be so happy to wrap up her babies.

  41. Katie says:

    That’s so beautiful! I feel inspired to step away from my walking foot and do some free motion. Thanks so much. I was really looking forward to this step. The link to the convo is very helpful!

  42. Anya T. says:

    Love the fabric on the back.

  43. Ellen B says:

    You are inspiring me to try free motion quilting…for some reason it seems intimidating! Thanks for all the instruction!

  44. Natalie says:

    Sweet doll quilt and nice tutorial. I want to move on to machine quilting.

  45. Jodieth says:

    Wow, this is exciting. I am just learning to quilt and love this idea for
    fabrics I will be using to make children’s clothes and accessories for my two
    grandchildren and gives for others babies.

  46. Betsy M says:

    Thank you – I can’t wait to try this!

  47. summersandco says:

    I really struggle with machine quilting…so much that I usually end up hand quilting everything! This post and especially the links seemed to really simplify it for me. I’m going to give it another go today 🙂 Thanks a bunch!

  48. Megan says:

    Ooh, thanks for the all the tips! Very helpful.

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