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Every bed runner should have a little free-motion quilting

by Sarah Vanderburgh

It’s never too late to enjoy vintage fabric! This week’s project, the Vintage Holiday bed runner, has been especially heartwarming to make as it features fabrics I inherited several years ago from my husband’s granny. I’m delighted that I finally used her fabrics in a project that will bring me joy for years to come. In yesterday’s post, I used 3 different presser feet on the PFAFF performance icon to start quilting the runner. In today’s post, I’ll add some free-motion quilting to finish the runner and bind it too.

Vintage Holiday bed runner vintage fabrics PFAFF performance icon project

The Vintage Holiday bed runner made with vintage fabrics.

Open Toe Sensormatic Free-Motion Foot

Yesterday we quilted the red star and white churn dash areas so all we have left to quilt is the green background. I knew I wanted the background to recede so the design of the block would show, and that free-motion quilting is the best technique for filling in a large area of a quilt. Of course, there’s also cross-hatching, but I don’t want that on this fun fabric. To help make the quilting recede, I chose to use a thread that blends into my background fabric. With those decisions made, it was time to head to the PFAFF performance icon and set it up to do free-motion quilting.

PFAFF performance icon sewing machine

PFAFF performance icon

When the Free-Motion icon is touched on the bottom of the Multi-Touch Screen, an Options menu opens to select which type of presser foot is being used. The foot I used is called the Open Toe Sensormatic Free-Motion Foot, which you can see in the photo below is the third option down on the menu. I already know I like how the machine quilts when in the sensormatic mode – the foot will hover over the fabric when the speed is increased just a bit. It makes me feel like I have a bit of control :)

PFAFF performance icon's Free-Motion Options menu

PFAFF performance icon’s Free-Motion Options menu

The first thing I did was to do a slight curve outline in one of the green areas; my plan was to do an up and down line of stitches to fill the space with the lines angled towards the center of the block in the triangle areas. So, for most of the free-motion quilting, I was quilting straight lines but with no feed dogs. When I get better at this, I could do all the quilting techniques I did on the runner using the free-motion foot!

Outlining with Open Toe Sensormatic Free-Motion Foot.

Outlining with Open Toe Sensormatic Free-Motion Foot.

I treated the large background triangle where two blocks met as one and made the quilting lines point to the center of the runner. The inner square that was created where the two blocks met, I treated as a new area and made filled it with a quilted design. I quilted thin curves to mimic a snowflake, then quilted lines in each quarter angled to the center of the square. This added an element to the quilting without it taking over and, hopefully, complementing the winter motifs in the background fabric.

Free-motion quilting holiday bed runner background quilting PFAFF performance icon project

Quilting design in the center square.

In the photo below you can see how I angled the quilting lines in the outside triangles to point to the center of the block. My free-motion quilting is still a work in progress, but I’m happy with the results. I know that with more practice it will improve!

The quilting lines in the outside triangles are angled in to bring attention back to the center of the block; quilting the Vintage Holiday bed runner on the PFAFF performance icon

One end of Holiday bed runner quilted.

Binding with another presser foot

With the free-motion quilting complete, it was time to trim and get ready to bind the bed runner. But I wasn’t quite sure about leaving the border unquilted. The runner had started to get wavy from all the quilting and I was concerned that it wouldn’t end up laying flat. I decided to add a row of stitching along the inner edge of the border figuring it would balance out the row added to the opposite edge when I added the binding.

I changed back to Gütermann piecing thread in Taupe colorway, the free-motion icon to switch out of free-motion quilting, and changed back to the ¼” Quilting Foot for IDT System. Then I quilted a line of stitching ¼” away from the inner border seam – you can see it well in the photo above. With that complete, I trimmed the excess batting and backing from the runner – in fact, I used that new line of stitching to help me trim and keep my border a consistent width around the runner.

Now to add the binding. I added the binding by machine on both sides. To do this I started by sewing the binding to the back, then folding it over and pinning it in place on the front. To do this I decided to try one more new-to-me presser foot, the Perfect ¼” Foot with Guide for IDT System. Perfect, indeed! I’ll use this foot more often because that little guide made it so easy to keep my seam even as the quilted layers went under the needle. I wish I had tried it out earlier! Regardless, it was an enjoyable task to sew the binding around all the sides of the runner. In the photo below you can see I iron about ¼” of the binding fabric to the wrong side on the opposite edge – this makes it easier to fold the binding over when adding it to the front.

I also used the front red guide marks on the presser foot to help me turn the corners – when the marks are lined up with the edge of the runner the stitches are a ¼” from the edge. I’m also sewing with my needle down so I can stop and the presser foot will lift off the fabric and I can pivot the runner to start sewing down the next side.

Perfect ¼" Foot with Guide for IDT System PFAFF performance icon binding

Adding binding with Perfect ¼” Foot with Guide for IDT System.

Originally, I had planned to use one of the decorative built-in stitches on the performance icon to sew the binding to the front, but by the end I felt that simpler was better. I knew I wanted my sewing line to be very close to the inner edge of the binding like a topstitch, so I switched to the standard OA presser foot to complete the binding. I changed back to the thread that blends into my background fabric and started to pin the first side of the binding over. Then it was just a matter of folding each corner as I got to it to completely sew the binding to the front of the bed runner.

Holiday bed runner PFAFF performance icon project

The binding was added by machine using a straight stitch and thread that matches the binding; quilting the Vintage Holiday bed runner on the PFAFF performance icon

This Vintage Holiday bed runner has really put me in the holiday mood! Not only have I finally used some cherished vintage fabrics, but trying out all of the different presser feet has made me excited to make even more projects with the PFAFF performance icon. My free-motion skills are improving too so I’m optimistic I might even get some of my holiday quilts finished to enjoy this year. Until next time!

This is part 5 of 5 in this series

Go to part 4: Why 3 different presser feet are better than 1 for quilting this bed runner

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