Tips for decorative stitching on quilts

Posted by Alyce Blyth

One of my favourite ways to use my PFAFF passport 3.0 is for decorative stitching as quilting. I recently had the task of showcasing a few prints from the latest tange by Anna Maria Horner, and I combined it with my friend's newest pattern release, Up and Away - gorgeous foundation paper pieced hot air balloons. The striped fabric print was perfect to fussy cut for the balloon segments!

Foundation paper piecing on the passport 3.0 is easy, simply lower the stitch length to 2.5 and stitch away. If you have never foundation paper pieced, I do have a tutorial on my website that goes in to full detail about the process: Paper Piecing tutorial 

When it came to quilting, I knew that I had the perfect opportunity to show of some fancy stitches. The first balloon uses stitch #91 - a chain of loops that echoes the floral strip in the middle. To keep the stitching stright, I aligned the seam line between the segments of the balloon with the middle of the machine foot. This way, the decorative stitching stays in line.

The middle balloon uses stitch #53, that reminds me a little of an agave bush. As I wanted the points of the stitch to be orientated towardsthe top of the balloon, I stitched from the basket to the top so that the stitch went the right way. The final balloon uses the beautiful leaf stitch #80. I love how delicate this stitch looks! To also have this stitch pointing toward the top, I roated the quilt around and stitched from the top of the balloon to the basket.
 

In the skinny border, I used stitch #90 to add a little more sparkle and pizazz to the mini quilt. When I came to the corners, I switched to #00 straight stitch or two before and after the corner to create a more seamless transition.

Alas, a slip of the ruler when squaring up the mini meant for one even more skinner corner! But I am all about finished is better than perfect, so I continued onto the machine bind the quilt. For this quilt, I straight stitched in the ditch on the front for the binding, but I have recently used a zig zag stitch for binding. It creates another fun detail and creates a very sturdy binding.

Use stitch #02 and shorten the stitch length and width a little to suit the scale of your quilt. For this cushion, I went skinnt, for my daughter's quilt, I stayed wider.

Have you ever used decorative stitches for your quilting projects?

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