Monday, October 11, 2010

Fancy Pants Quilting the Easy Way- A mini tutorial

I am always blown away by some of the intricate quilting designs I have seen done with a machine. I am one of those people that can draw a little bit, but usually to get to a picture that makes me happy I go through a good bit of paper and a good bit of pencil eraser. With fabric you really have only one shot (unless you love that seam ripper) so I was so excited to learn about quilt stencils with paper. This technique is really great for Quilt-As-You-Go and smaller projects like potholers or table runners. Here's what you do.

Go to and type in what images you would like to quilt. You can look up quilting stencils, but these are usually not free. On the left hand side of the screen, you can then narrow your search to what TYPE of image you are looking for. The options are Face, Photo, Clip Art, and Line Drawing. I'd go with Line Drawing. Click that. Browse around until you find the images you like.

I found my image from an online coloring book page. You could even use a real coloring book page. Here is the URL for my image:

Print your image and use the print preview to get the size you need.

Set your stitch length to 1. This will help you remove your stencil easily afterward.

Now pin your image over your quilt sandwich.

Trace the image with your stitches.

When you are finished stitching your image outline, start removing your paper.  This will be a lot like removing perforated notebook pages.
Keep pulling that paper up!
Voila!  My favorite application for this technique is using it for diagonal quilting on potholders WITHOUT having to draw out a grid or use tons of pieces of tape.  Have fun quilting!


  1. the loopy quilting can look very viny if you put a "tip" in the loop like a leaf. I have practiced that before, but never done a quilt in it.

  2. WoW, great idea. did you trace your stitches with the feed dogs up or down?


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