Articles, Blog

Free Motion Sewing on a Regular Sewing Machine

October 25, 2019


Free motion sewing is stitching on your sewing
machine, but being able to sew in any direction. You can do this with a straight stitch to
create a quilted look or use a machine satin stitch and create your own monogramming. With some machines, you can buy a free motion
foot, like this one. But just because you don’t have this foot,
doesn’t mean you still can’t do it. You will need to have the ability to put the
feed dogs down. Check your manual to see how to do this. The feed dogs need to be down to prevent them
from moving our fabric. If you don’t have a free motion foot, you
can simply remove the presser foot and presser foot holder. You still need to be able to lower the foot
lever, but you don’t want it to press on the fabric. For single stitching free motion, such as
getting a quilted look, you should use spray basting to hold your layers together. My layers are fabric, cotton batting and then
fabric again. Decide where you want to stitch like outlining
something on your print, or use a fabric marker to draw a design to use as a guideline. By turning your handwheel, put the needle
in and out of the fabric and pull your top thread to bring up the bobbin thread so that
both are on the top side of your quilt sandwich. Then put the foot presser lever down and start
sewing, following your pattern. Sew as slowly as you can and push your fabric
as steady as you can to make the stitches as even as possible. Take your time and don’t stress out if you’re
not following your pattern perfectly. Also, be sure to keep your fingers as far
away from the needle as possible. For a regular sewing machine, it’s recommended
that you do this with smaller projects, rather than try to do this with full size quilts. When you finish sewing, lock off your stitch
by going over your last hole twice and then lift up on the presser foot lever to release
the thread tension to make it easier to pull out your fabric. To do free motion on a single layer of fabric,
such as with a monogram, put your fabric into an embroidery hoop and make the fabric as
taut as possible. Draw your design on the right side of the
fabric. The right side should be on the inside of
the hoop. Place your hoop under the needle and for monogramming
select a satin stitch which is just a zig zag stitch with a small stitch length. I have both threads on the right side of my
fabric and I start sewing, moving my fabric by holding on to the hoop. If you move too fast, so your stitches look
a little thin, you can just go back over the area to make it look more filled in. Again, take your time. If your stitches don’t look good, such as
the tension looks too loose, it’s probably because you forgot to put your presser foot
lever down. Doing free motion sewing isn’t easy and
it may take a lot of practice so try it on scraps until you get the look you desire Once
you do master it, it’s a fun way to embellish your projects. We hope you enjoyed this tutorial. Please subscribe to get notified of our weekly
releases. Also, check out Professorpincushion.com to
view our complete library with well over 350 sewing tutorials. If you would like to directly support us,
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23 Comments

  • Reply Elena Finch May 8, 2018 at 4:50 pm

    I love your videos. Thank you.

  • Reply Tina Gallagher May 8, 2018 at 5:18 pm

    thank you

  • Reply rebecca estrada May 8, 2018 at 5:58 pm

    thank-you, very helpful info

  • Reply Patricia Blair May 8, 2018 at 6:12 pm

    Very useful video. Gives me a bit more confidence. Thank you!

  • Reply lilica1983 May 8, 2018 at 7:06 pm

    all my attempts in doing that were a disaster with many many broken needles and tangled threads

  • Reply Mama Makes Music May 9, 2018 at 4:12 am

    I know you love Spiegel machines. I just ran across one on Facebook, an ad for a special anniversary machine or something like that. They call it the 60609

  • Reply RuBe May 10, 2018 at 2:07 am

    Great like always.

  • Reply Caroline Akwi May 13, 2018 at 4:32 pm

    wow! thank you so much

  • Reply dcwatashi May 22, 2018 at 7:22 am

    My dear Toba I hope I'm spelling your name right. You forgot to mention to keep your Stitch length at zero when you're doing the free motion sewing. And…..

    I stumbled upon a Blog because as you know Google knows everything about you and it was about free motion quilting without the foot and in that blog she mentioned you must keep your Stitch length at zero when you don't have a special foot.

    When I tried it I had so much more success than before so it's a combination of watching your video knowing that I could just take the foot off which I didn't know I could and then her blog.

    One thing I want to let everybody know in case they read all of these comments is that Schmetz (and I hope I'm spelling that name correctly) makes a spring needle which is totally what I am going to buy because my machine is so old it is hard to find a free motion quilting foot for it, actually it just doesn't exist.

  • Reply minot60 August 23, 2018 at 1:46 am

    I love free motion! For those having trouble, keep looking at videos and blogs and then trying some more. A sheet of paper behind your fabric can make a huge difference as well. Tear away when done.

  • Reply roxana borota October 6, 2018 at 7:47 pm

    How is that loop called please?

  • Reply ChevyDude65 ChevyDude65 October 24, 2018 at 3:14 am

    Every time I try this I wind up breaking the needles and tangling the thread. I'm supposing I'm moving the work too fast and forcing the needle out of alignment. I wish I had the patience to practice enough to master this. I lose interest before I get anywhere.

  • Reply Oldtimer Lee November 11, 2018 at 12:26 pm

    For those without a special foot to use for free motion – You can use a "darning foot" as these are readily available for most home sewing machines. There are even some DIY versions using coiled wire. Their purpose is to keep the fabric from lifting so much on the upstroke of the needle. Generally, generic sets of feet have a "darning foot", "embroidery foot" or a "quilting foot", as this accessory has several names. Also check with suppliers for your make/model of machine.

    Practice on paper, first! Trace simple designs from children's coloring books. (Stack several sheets of paper, if needed.) You can do this with or without threading your machine. Your goal here is to learn how to coordinate your hand movements with the motion of the needle. If you machine allows, set your sewing speed on the slowest setting. GENTLY move the paper. Too much force can be a needle breaker.

    When you go to fabric, use stabilizer. This, IMO, is a must for single layers of fabric. You can use temporary or permanent versions. Tear away or wash away stabilizers are available. In some instances you can use plain paper – even tissue or plain newspaper weight – to help hold your fabric in position. Used on the back (wrong ) side of your fabric, tear it away after you complete your design.

    Free motion quilting – practice, practice, practice. Make pot holders, place mats, sewing machine mats and covers, etc. & etc. Slow and gentle. Moving too fast and strongly is a needle breaker. It's like setting your thread tension too tight and then pulling on the thread. Often you can see the needle beginning to bend. It doesn't take much to get the needle out of alignment. It will then hit the throat plate (if it is straight stitch only) or something within the bobbin case area.

    Hope this helps someone, based on what I've read in the comments.

  • Reply Cupid Gacha December 6, 2018 at 7:49 pm

    I have been wanting to purchase a (hopefully low price) sewing machine that will do free motion stitching. I look at everything about a potential machine that is available and never see anything about being able to drop the feed dogs or see the term 'free motion stitching' in any of the info available, do you have suggestions of either what to look for in a potential machine or do you just have any recommendations for a name of one ? I will basically be using it for this application. I have been looking off and on for a couple of years, then give up. Then I saw your video and thought you may have advice, thank you, Tami

  • Reply Service K9 Asher December 30, 2018 at 9:38 am

    I've tired this and my thread keeps getting knotted up when the bobbin goes, help

  • Reply Erestina Vela December 30, 2018 at 6:32 pm

    This is how my dad has taught me to do this! I'm glad he isn't the only one. It's difficult but I think I just need practice.

  • Reply Simonne December 31, 2018 at 10:39 pm

    Embroidering by hand is much easier. Trust me.

  • Reply jass Mann January 14, 2019 at 1:49 pm

    Which number of needle we can use plz tell me??

  • Reply Amory Goldfade March 14, 2019 at 10:36 pm

    SWEET QUILTING ALL DAY FOR ME!!!!!!

  • Reply fatima zenab March 28, 2019 at 1:24 pm

    Good tutorial , how can make leaves and flowers through free
    Motion embroidery in a fine and neat way is it needs spring needle
    For free motion fine embroidery

  • Reply Roopashree A S April 27, 2019 at 6:26 pm

    How to control satin stitch widths while embroidering on a home sewing machine

  • Reply KOT NAGA KANAKA LAKSHMI TADISETTY May 19, 2019 at 1:18 pm

    My machine is usha janine allure
    I don't know feeddog settings

  • Reply ArcanePath360 August 29, 2019 at 1:18 pm

    It hardly ever catches my bobbin. I've tried everything as suggested but just can't get more than a few stitches to hold.

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