The Quilting Stitch, From Start to Finish

The Quilting Stitch, From Start to Finish


In this video I’m going to show you how to do the quilting stitch from start to finish. On my quilt top I have my design all ready to go. I’m going to take my needle. A word about needles: I like to use embroidery needles because they are longer. This one is bent because I’ve used it so much. You can only use them so long before they really break, but I like embroidery needles because they’re long and I can take a lot of stitches and they have a longer eye, which makes it a little easier to thread. As I get ready to do this I’m going to take a darker thread so that it’s easier to see on this pink fabric. I’m going to pull off about 16″–18″ of thread and I’m going to just thread the needle. When I get ready to make this knot I know there’s a lot of other different ways, more modern ways to make a knot but I like to do it the old-fashioned way where you meet them together, roll it around your finger, roll it off the end of your finger, and pull. You end up with a little tail that we will cut off and this part will be stuck in the batting. As I begin to make my stitch, when I put the needle up through the bottom I could put it up directly underneath the starting stitch, but I don’t want to do that. That means that the knot would be right directly underneath the design, but I don’t want that. I want the knot to be inside where the batting is and be caught in the batting and the stitching be off the design. I want the needle to come up about right here, so I’m going to put my needle into the backing about right here, but I’m going to turn it and go under the surface of the top fabric and pull it through. Try to find a spot to start about right there. I’m going to pull this through and now the knot is about right here where I pull the needle through. I’m going to tug on this and rub with my left hand on the backing, and it pops. It’ll go through the backing into the batting which is where I want it. So now I’m ready to start. I’m going to start with my thimble. I like to use a leather thimble with this plastic backing on it for my thumb. I’m going to take one stitch, put the needle behind where I just came through, and I’m pushing the needle all the way through to the bottom fabric where my left hand can feel the point of the needle and it will help to guide how big or small the stitches are going to be and it will help me to gauge where my stitches are going to come out. I’m going to pull it through and my needle is going to come through the top. As I pull this, this is my first stitch. Then as I begin to make my stitches I can feel the needle on the backing fabric and then turn and pull it. I usually like to take, as I’m beginning, two stitches at a time because it goes faster, but when you’re going around sharper curves, rounded edges, things like that, you will want to only take one stitch at a time so that your design is better. I got a bubble right here and every time you see this it means one of the threads was pulled tighter than the others, You want to catch this as quickly as you can because you don’t want to end up all finished with your quilt and find those little bubbles all over your stitches. Try to catch those as often as they happen. We’re going to go around the design. When you put your design on the quilt if you don’t get the design with your pencil exactly as you want it, it’s okay, because your stitching is actually what’s going to be seen after your quilt is washed and you end up with final product. Your stitching will actually be the ultimate design that you’re going to want to show off. If my stitches get a little too tight, if I pull this and it gets really really tight, I can loosen it by putting my hand on the bottom and the top and rubbing it back and forth, and it will loosen those stitches to make it a more even tension. I’m going to go around this other petal of the flower. The idea is to make your stitches as uniform as possible. Sometimes that’s a little difficult. I’m going to go around the top edge of this and this thimble won’t work so I’m going to switch to my other thimble which is a leather thimble with a metal center and it will help to push the needle through at different angles so I don’t have to get up and move all over the place. We’re getting closer to the end of my thread. I want to leave about 3″–4″ at the end of my thread so that I can tie a knot with plenty of room and not be lacking when it comes to having enough thread to tie the knot. I’m getting a little bit closer and when I tie this knot I’m going to tie two knots, not just one. I have found that if I do just one knot in it it will come undone, and I don’t want that because then that means all of my stitching comes undone. What I’m going to do with this last one is this is the tie-off stitch. I’m going to put a tiny stitch right here and pull it through, and I’m going to put the needle through it. Now there’s a loop right here, so I’m going to try to pull that to be even. I’m going to pull this through. I’m going to go through it one more time, but I’m going to go this way and I’m going to grab just a little bit of the top fabric. A really small area right there. I’m going to pull that through, there’s still a loop, I’m going to pull that through again, and there is my knot. I pull it tight. That’s going to stay secure . I’m going to take my needle and run it through someplace in the middle of this stitch, just through the top part, through batting. Not through the backing; through the batting. Run it off to the side so that the tail of that thread is off over here someplace it can’t be seen. Now I can trim it at the surface of the top fabric and I’m ready to go to rethread my needle and finish my flower. That is how you do the quilting stitch from start to finish.

19 thoughts on “The Quilting Stitch, From Start to Finish

  1. Thanks. I am going to quilt a bedspread bought at JC Penney. They just machine stiched it every 12 inches or so with a 2 inch straight stich. Color does't even match.

  2. I noticed that you used two strands of thread as well. Is that how you quilt? I am new to quilting and I was taught to use 1.

  3. thanks for explaining. that's was a big help. I can see though to that the tension of how loose the fabric is in your hoop matters which I'll have to work on getting right. also what is the best brand needles you use and batting material? thanks again

  4. Thanks for making this tutorial and sharing with us Marguerite. It's nice to know regular thread, when doubled, is good for hand quilting (most tutorials I see use special — expensive — pearl cotton or embroidery floss for hand quilting). I was curious how you keep your layers together — embroidery hoop? Basted? I think I see your backing attached to something using thumb tacks…

  5. At the start of the video you say you like to use a long needle to enable you to get more stitches on it. But you only seem to get two stitches on the needle – you are contradicting yourself!

  6. What a great video! Now that’s what I call a hand quilter! I’ve watched a few others that didn’t seemed to know any more than I know, but you seem to really have it all together!

  7. starting hand quilting. the knot has been a problem and kept me from accomplishing my task. I think your explanation and video has helped me conquer this problem. thanks marywallis

  8. Did you buy fabric with the design? If so, what type of fabric did you buy? I’m curious how you did your design, whether it was freehand our not. I taught myself how to crochet and now sell custom designed work. I want to learn how to sew and make quilts. I love quilts.

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