Sunday, July 09, 2023

Quilting 101 - Quilting Tips and Hints


Tips gathered by MaryAnn Pankowski.
What a great presentation by MaryAnn at our last chapter meeting. She gave us many tips and hints and most of all the note to "Change Your Needle".   Had a great time.  Thanks MaryAnn. 

Here is here list, with some comments and additions from the peanut gallery (me).

    • Signs you need to change your needle:
    • Your fabric has runs or snags
    • Your needle thread keeps breaking or shredding
    • Your machine won't make a stitch
  •  Reuse Crystal Light containers for transporting:
    • o Rotary cutters
    • o Small items used in sewing
    • o Friction pens to keep them separate from regular pens
  •  Make your own numbered pins with nail polish.
  •  Clean your iron with dryer sheets or eraser sponge.
  •  Use pedicure toe separators to hold wound bobbins.

    Use pedicure toe separators to hold wound bobbins

  •  Use wonder loop for wound bobbins.
  •  Use pony tail holders instead of expensive thread holders.
  •  Needle the Thread, instead of Thread the Needle. (meaning push the needle onto the thread instead of trying to poke the thread in the eye of the needle.)
  •  When threading your machine, have the spool unwind towards you.

  •  Use an automotive magnetic dish to hold pins instead of an expensive one from the quilt shop. (available for discount at Harbor Freight - search for magnetic parts holder -not a bowl or dish).
  •  Disposable latex gloves make great machine quilting gloves. If they get sweaty, they are cheap enough to throw out. (Note: put a little baby powder in the glove.  Easy on)
  •  Sew with your needle in the down position. You will always know where you left off.
  •  If your cutting mat does not lie flat, place a towel on it and press with a hot iron. Use books to press overnight.
  •  When using “pinked” pre-cuts, measure to the outer point of the cut.


Moda Charm Pack with pinked edges.  Measure to the outside of the points.


  •  When marking even lines (diagonal or horizontal) to quilt your piece, use
  •  Fine grit sandpaper on cardboard to keep Applique from slipping.
  •  When quilting a grid on your quilt, always sew in the same direction(rather than alternating from each end).
  •  Use masking tape or painters tape to mark a straight line to follow for quilting lines.
  •  Good applique patterns can be found in children’s coloring books.
  •  Always bring the bobbin thread to the top to keep from tangling thread or making a thread nest on the back side of the quilt.
  •  Use a straight pin to score fusible or labels to make it easier to remove backing.
  •  When working with a narrow strip to applique, add a little water soluble glue to center.
  •  To store patterns from magazines, remove from magazine, then drop them in plastic sleeves and store them in a note book or binder.
  •  A worn out cutting mat can be cut into a smaller travel cutting mat.
  •  Set a timer for 30 minutes to stand up from your machine and stretch.

  •  Empty medicine bottles make nice holders for pins, buttons, etc. Also use for broken needles or pins to make it safer to throw in the trash.
  •  Oven mitts make a great iron cover.
  •  Use a magic marker to mark spool start.( the little slit in a plastic spool where you
  •  Use tissue paper for paper piecing.
  •  Use a pot scraper to iron while at the machine.
  •  1⁄4 inch painting tape for straight quilting.
  •  Use a shower gripper instead of a gypsy quilter gripper - cheaper
  •  Leather thimble – cut off top of fingers of a leather glove – cheaper
  •  Use a Pringles container as a rotary cutter case
  •  Use chopsticks instead of Clover point 2 point turner.
  •  Use a pot scrubber instead of Clover press roller.

 A good number of the items mentioned in the list can be obtained at Harbor Freight.  If you don't have a local store, you can order online.

You may also be interested in:

This Quilting 101 series is a compilation of the demonstrations and lectures that we have been providing to the Mulberry Chapter of the Quilt Guild Of The Villages. (QGOTV) in Florida. We began this series with various speakers. Many thanks to Barb, Dale, and MaryAnn and Betty B. for their contributions. I have been taking the notes and turning them into blog posts to share with other quilters.

At Shadywood Quilts, we have been providing professional machine quilting for over 20 years. We use a computerized quilting system that gives you the highest quality stitch and pleasing patterns across your quilt.


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