Thursday, March 26, 2009

Free Motion Flower Quilting Motif Tutorial

I am NO expert on machine quilting, nor is machine quilting my favorite thing to do. I am getting better at it, though and this free motion quilt how-to should help.

I did learn a method to make free-motion quilting flowers, and I thought I'd like to share the process. When you read through this little tutorial, it might be helpful to draw the motions with a pen and paper, so the explanations will make more sense to you.

The picture above shows you the free-motion flowers that inspired this lesson. {click on the image to see the design better.} I did the machine quilting on my home machine, Elna 3007. Ready? I'm going to assume that you already know about basting your quilt and dropping the feed dogs on your machine and working with that free-motion hopping presser foot. Now, lets talk about forming the flowers:

Step 1: You'll want to decide now if your flowers are going to be along reasonably straight lines (like the photo above) or if your flowers will be sprinkled along curved meandering lines (like in the final sample of this tutorial.) Either way, start with a gently curved free-motion stitching line.

Step 2. The next step is illustrated in red on the image below (right-hand side). You'll want to stop your free-motion curved line and move to the upper left. This will start your first Figure 8 shape. One "petal" will be in the upper left and another petal will be in the lower right. It is important to cross over the end of the free-motion line with your X of the Figure 8.

Step 3. The next step is illustrated in green on the image below (right-hand side). Start at the end of the free-motion line (where the Figure 8 from Step 2 ends) and begin making your second Figure 8. This one moves up towards the right and then down to the lower left. As you can see in the illustration below, on the left, it is important to try to make all your Figure 8's intersect on the end of the free-motion line. If not, you'll have a weird looking collection of loops rather than a pretty flower. This just takes practice.

Step 4. The next step is illustrated in blue on the image below (right-hand side). This is the only single petal motion. As you end the second Figure 8, you'll want to "drive backwards" to make the last single petal in the due south position. I generally don't make my petal go all the way to the center of the flower. You can see below that the petal shape ends at the edge of the lower right Figure 8. {hope that makes sense} Once you make petal shape, you will continue to sew a new free-motion, gently curved section until you feel the need to make another flower.

If you are a planner, big-time organized quilter- You might want to mark dots on your quilt top to evenly space your flowers. Start with your free-motion line and aim for the dots. It will still give a loose, relaxed feel, but your quilting will be more evenly distributed.

It takes some practice and some planning and some scrap fabric. The first image, in yellow, also, is quilted in coordinating thread, so its not so obvious if the flowers turn out a bit lumpy. Its a fun technique, and I do hope you try it!

If you make it, feel free to share it in the ReannaLily Designs Flickr pool.



The Army of Four said...

Very cool! And easy, once you break it down! Thanks. :)

Jackie said...

Love your flower tutorial and your project looks fantastic! Right now I rot at FMQ but am determined to improve. Tutorials like yours really help! Thank you!

Owens Family Adventures said...

Really cool!! Can't wait to try this myself. The directions were really easy to understand too. :)

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MissesStitches said...

What a cute design! I'm definitely gong to try this one.

Anonymous said...
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singapore florist said...

love the tutorial, cos you use yellow color which is my favorite :D

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