Choosing a Quilting Design & Quilting on Home Machines

on April 9 | in Sewing + Quilting Tips, Sewing Tutorials + Patterns | by | with 113 Comments

Leah Day from the 365 Days of Free Motion Quilting Filler Designs Project and Day Style Designs joins us with a video about Stitching Beyond the Ditch, with tips and tricks for free motion quilting on your home sewing machine. Learn more about Leah in her introduction, and be sure to look at the bottom of this post for more information about some of the things Leah mentions in her video. Don’t miss Leah’s additional videos about stippling, microstippling, pebbling and more. Enjoy!

Leah talks about a number of free motion quilting tools in her video. Here is a little more information for you:

Supreme Slider
: Teflon coated sheet that reduces the friction between your quilt and the bed of your sewing machine. More info at:

Machingers Quilting Gloves: These are nylon gloves that have plastic coated tips which increase your grip of the quilt top and make it much easier to move around while free motion quilting. More info at:

Little Genie Magic Bobbin Washers: Teflon discs that go inside your bobbin case and help your bobbin tension, reduce thread breakage, and generally make the back stitches of your quilt look as great as the front. More info at:

Stencils: Leah is actually a designer for a stencil company and also sells free motion quilting stencils in her online store. Find more at and

Here are a few more resources for home machine quilting from our first Quilting Month: Quilting by Gina Halladay & Binding & Quilting Resource Links.

Comment in any post this week for your chance to win one of these great prizes:

500 Art Quilts: An Inspiring Collection of Contemporary Work; Make! Over 40 Fantastic Projects with 16 Exclusive Designs by Cath Kidston; 200 Quilting Tips, Techniques & Trade Secrets: An Indispensable Reference of Technical Know-How and Troubleshooting Tips; Quilts, Baby!: 20 Cuddly Designs to Piece, Patch & Embroider; So St. Croix Fat Quarter Pack, 18 fat quarters from the So St. Croix fabric collection by Jennifer Paganelli

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113 Responses to Choosing a Quilting Design & Quilting on Home Machines

  1. Jane says:

    Great video. Very well done!

  2. Mandy M says:

    Thanks for your tips, I need to get the bobbin things to maybe help me on my FMQ’ing.

  3. Jessie H says:

    I know it’s silly, but I’m scared to death of free motion quilting! Maybe this will help me get over that fear and give it a shot!

  4. Megan Presley says:

    Thank you for the helpful information! Choosing a pattern for my quilt is one thing I have stuggled with. I like the idea of the patterns to see and compare to the quilt itself.

  5. Anna says:

    i love quilting month!!

  6. Leelee says:

    I’ve been a fan of Leah for quite awhile, it’s great to see her here at SMS. She makes machine quilting seem totally accessible and I’m already piecing my way toward that goal. All of the books look yummy, but a friend of mine, Ellen Lindner, is in the 500 Art Quilts! Man, would I love to win that!

  7. Great tips, this is something I need to get the courage to do. Thanks.

  8. susan says:

    Chock full of useful info — and I like the video format too! Thanks!

  9. Krystina says:

    There went my morning! Thanks for the amazing tips.

  10. Mary P says:

    I’ve been a fan of Leah’s for awhile now, and this was another great video. One tool I’d recommend people try besides stencils is a piece of mylar (clear plastic). I place it over my quilt and I draw on it. Then I wipe it off and draw something else. It’s another great way to audition quilting designs.

  11. Kelli says:

    Free-motion can be so intimidating before you get started. These look like great tips for getting over that initial hump and get started. I’ve done a few projects and each time I think “Do I really want to do this???” But each time I jump in, and even with the few times I’ve had to rip out some stitching and start again–I’m always happy with the results!

  12. Ethne says:

    I love the advice that Leah gives and her range of FMQ patterns continues to grow

  13. Ruth Tillman says:

    Free motion quilting is addicting once you get the hang of it. I have found starting with smaller baby and throw size quilts is a great way to introduce yourself to it without feeling to overwhelmed.

  14. Nezabudkina says:

    Great video! Thanks Leah! 🙂

  15. Jenni says:

    Thank you for this video!

  16. Stacy says:

    Thanks foe a wonderful video. I’d never heard the tip about folding the rest of the quilt to lay behind the machine before. I’ll definitely try that!

  17. Dru says:

    Leah makes it all look easy and doable. Love it!

  18. Jackie says:

    Great video! I had not thought of “auditioning” quilting stencils. It’s a great idea and I can see the value of doing this!

  19. Linda says:

    Thanks so much!

    I could never find all of this on my own!

  20. Marcelle says:

    Thanks for this interesting video! I love the stencils, many designs to choose from, I’m tempted to try..

  21. Elaine says:

    This is such a valuable reosurce!
    I love that she shows you how to
    do quilting without a walking foot
    on her site!

    I can’t say thanks enough for this

    I made a small quilt last year and all
    the things she is covering are all the
    problems I had! I’m glad that these
    won’t be hindrances anymore and that
    I can do more quilting!

    Thanks Lean and SEW MAMA SEW!


  22. sharon says:

    Great video, packed with lots of useful information! Thanks Sharonj.

  23. Liz says:

    Thank you so much! I’m so glad to know there are other options beyond paying a long-arm quilter $200 to finish my quilt. I will definitly be trying some of that out.

  24. Courtney says:

    Great video! I’m going to give free motion quilting another try.

  25. SewSofie says:

    Fantastic tips on free motion quilting at home. Thanks.

  26. Dana says:

    Thank you for the information on free motion quilting! I look forward to trying that very soon!

  27. Hannah says:

    Great tips. Thanks for the links!

  28. omama says:

    Quilting my pieces is the part of the process that I would like to work on & learn more about. Thanks for sharing someone who can help a beginner take it to the next level. If only I can plan ahead enough that I have time to spend on the quilting before the shower or birthday or whatever!

  29. Cindy says:

    I am always looking for tips on free-motion quilting. Thanks!

  30. Barb in MI says:

    Great video and nice tips – and then the practice, practice, practice part comes in. Maybe one day my quilting will look like I imagine it right now… Thank you!

  31. Erica says:

    Interesting. I have a couple quilt tops done but have yet to tackle free motion quilting.

  32. Alissa says:

    That was a great video. I find very few videos that I can sit through, but Leah does a great job. Thanks!

  33. Julie L. says:

    Thanks! I’m about to start my first quilting project–loving all the advice!

  34. Julia says:

    Thanks! I’d better finish a quilt so I can practice.

  35. Kristy V. says:

    great video! stenciling sounds interesting, i might have to give it a go one of these days.

  36. Deb V says:

    This was a very informative video. I am going to get a Supreme Slider for my machine.

  37. Katie says:

    I never even knew there were stencils. Smart!

  38. Sheryl says:

    Thank you for such great tips! I can’t wait to try stenciling!

  39. Cristi says:

    This blog is so informative!

  40. Stacy says:

    What a great video! Thank you.

  41. Caroline says:

    Thanks for the video and all the great links…but I fear queen size quilts will still defeat me!

  42. Tara says:

    I have been practicing on mini quilts, but I would love to free motion a bigger quilt. Practice, practice practice! 🙂 Thanks for the inspiring tips, blog and advice to keep me going!

  43. mathea says:

    Leah is so generous, sharing all those tips in her online videos. Thank you so much. And I totally agree about those quilting gloves – I couldn’t quilt without mine!

  44. carmel says:

    a nother page to save in my favorits

  45. Jacqui says:

    I had no idea about quilting stencils, how useful! I’ve only done one quilt so far and luckily it suited straight lines but I know I’m going to have to come to grips with curves eventually! A resource like this is brilliant.

  46. Linda says:

    Can’t wait to try some of these tips!

  47. Katie says:

    Excellent video, such interesting ideas and very inspirational.

  48. tanya f says:

    wow how awesome, another quilting month!!

  49. PeachRainbow says:

    Thank You!

  50. Cathy A says:

    She makes it look so easy!

  51. Ephi says:

    Thank you for the tips! Wonderful video =)

  52. Denise says:

    So nice of Leah to share So Much! And Bobbon Washers?? Not sure if my old machine could take it! LOL 😀
    Happy Weekend!!

  53. Erin says:

    Very interesting and helpful video!

  54. Melisa says:

    I’m so glad she mentioned how to load the quilt into the machine. I think that’s one of my biggest fears about quilting – whatever my style may be! 🙂
    Thanks, Leah!

  55. Alisha says:

    This is so helpful! Thanks!

  56. Rose L says:

    Great video!

  57. Kristy says:


  58. graciegreeneyes says:

    I love the variety of inspirations I see here!!

  59. Gale says:

    Thanks for featuring Leah Day. I have enjoyed her instructional videos on free motion quilting and her ideas on setting up my space for effective FMQ. I am in awe of Leah’s intricate quilting designs which she demonstrates on 4 inch squares.

  60. I think the tools that Leah uses are a great idea – she certainly does some awesome quilting.

  61. Lee says:

    Leah’s videos are great. She has inspired me many times.

  62. Patty Simmons says:

    Must boogie on over and purchase some of those bobbin washers!

  63. craftytammie says:

    I love this! I’ve been afraid to try anything but straight line quilting, I really need to branch out and try something new!

  64. Southern Gal says:

    Those are some awesome tips. Things I’d never heard of before. Thanks.

  65. Shannon F. says:

    Great video!

  66. Kelli says:

    I’m going to look into that Supreme Slider. Thanks for the suggestion!

  67. Kristin says:

    So helpful. Leah’s website has tons of great resources, too!

  68. Katie B says:

    Thanks, Leah! Such helpful tips.

  69. bruinbr says:

    this is so helpful! I’m off to check out the links! 🙂

  70. sarah says:

    What a great resource! I’m building up the courage to try it!

  71. Bethany says:

    My sister and I were just talking about ideas for quilting that went beyond stipling. Thanks for the video!

  72. Wow, I didn’t even know that quilting stencils existed! Thanks for the tips!

  73. Lori Murray says:

    I love these ideas! I have tried machine quilting on my home machine, only to rip it out due to “drag”, etc. AND? I’ve only tried machine quilting with “stitch in the ditch” method. I’m working on a simple quilt now, which would be a PERFECT canvas for some very lovely stencil work! Thanks for the post!

  74. Melissa says:

    I think I am going to have to get some of those gloves. They seem to really help.

  75. Sara says:

    The Little Genie Magic Bobbin Washers look amazing and I have been having those pesty little “nests” from on the back of my quilt and also my top thread keeps breaking. I wonder if those washers would put a stop to the top thread breaking??

  76. Valerie says:

    Very Interesting! Thanks!

  77. Andi says:

    Such great tips and techniques.
    Andi 🙂

  78. DebbieKL says:

    Very helpful video – thanks!

  79. Julie says:

    Great video and very helpful!

  80. Amber W says:

    Love her designs! And I recently purchased a set of the first three items listed, and now couldnt live without them. Thanks Leah for your awesome tips and tricks, and offering such great products.

  81. Kaye Prince says:

    Okay, I am totally going to have to check out all of her videos and her blog! This is totally awesome!

  82. Ramona says:

    Great video. Thanks so much.

  83. Marcia W. says:

    Leah’s free motion quilting is so good.

  84. Sara Hemmeke says:

    machine quilting is the one area I want to conquer…especially after working 10 yrs on hand quilting one quilt!

  85. Liz B says:

    I loved Leah’s free motion quilting daily posts, it was so inspiring and really encouraged me to improve my skills. Thanks Leah!

  86. She has a wonderful site and love to see the designs she comes up with.
    I need to spend more time practicing my free motion.


  87. Andi says:

    Thanks for such a great video! I can’t wait to try free-motion quilting again armed with all of these great tips and tricks.

  88. kathleen says:

    Thank you for the bobbin tip – I am very excited to try this.

  89. kelly jo says:

    Great ideas – I’m going to start following her blog so I can keep up with all these great ideas!

  90. Kari says:

    I can never get a good grip on my blankets for a nice smooth design but those gloves look pretty nifty!

  91. Linda says:

    Supreme slider is very interesting! Thanks for the ideas!

  92. Gina says:

    I’ve admired Leah Day’s work for quite some time now. I only wish my machine quilting skills were good enough to use some of her wonderful designs!

  93. Christine says:

    Great videos and instructions. Thanks!

  94. Regina says:

    you all find the best teachers to share with us! Thanks!

  95. M. Malik says:

    Thanks so much for some new tools to try out

  96. Genevieve says:

    Ooh! Cool gadgets!

  97. Joan says:

    The magic genie washers look like a great tool. Don’t you wonder who invents this stuff?

  98. Karo says:

    just started following her blog. i’m amazed at how much time and effort she’s putting into teaching. that’s a love for craft! beautiful. 🙂

  99. Doris says:

    The Supreme Slider is amazing!

  100. Erika says:

    I am always inspired by Leah’s work and thank you for those little tricks that make quilting more enjoyable.

  101. Jessy says:

    Very cool. I am finally starting to explore new forms of free motion quilting other than stippling. This is a great resource!

  102. qsogirl says:

    this video makes me want to get home and make a quilt! Thanks for such clear, easy-to-understand tips!

  103. Thanks for the little video! Some helpful tips from Leah!

  104. great tips! thanks Leah

  105. Jessica says:

    Lovely, I could use some more tips!

  106. Amber says:

    Thanks for the video. I need to move on from stitching in the ditch.

  107. Tong says:

    This is so great! I’ve only tried free motion quilting on one quilt (my very first quilt actually, don’t know what I was thinking..) and it turned out to be a bit of a disaster, but not too bad that I was able to selvage it. I will be “studying” all of these videos for sure! Thanks Leah!

  108. sookhyun says:

    thanks for the great tips!

  109. What a great video. It really gets you thinking on different styles of quilting. Thanks a lot!

  110. Becky says:

    This is a great resource for learning more. I am just beginning my free motion quilting experience and I can use all the help I can get. Thanks!

  111. Susan Jonsson says:

    Loved the video….makes me think I might actually be able to do something besides stitch in the ditch

  112. Sylvie says:

    Thank you for this video, it was interesting.

  113. Mary Jo says:

    What a wonderful group of postings.I could never find so many experts on my own.
    Thank you so much

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