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Free motion quilting straight lines: WHERE to start and HOW to move

by Claire Haillot

Welcome back! Yesterday, we discovered how to allow yourself time to pause, review and make changes when it comes to improv quilting. Since this is the last post of the week, let me show you how to finish your improvisational quilt made with a little guidance from my Winter Sunshine design and beautiful Sulky and Gütermann cotton threads. Once more, this part of the project is very much improv, which means letting go of rules and enjoying the process.

Small throw-sized improv quilt in white and blue.

Winter Sunshine – My first improvisational quilt

Let’s start with what you need to quilt your project.





Fairfield Quilter's 80/20 Quilt Batting, Fabric for backing, Klassé Quilting Needles and 2 spools of light-colored Gütermann Cotton 30wt Thread laid out on the quilt top.

My must-haves to quilt the project

I sandwiched the quilt using a backing fabric that was just perfect as it had blues that matched the quilt top and had pines which reminded me of winters. For a puffier look, I used a mid-loft batting. I also chose 30wt light-sand Gütermann thread for thick quilting, which meant I also used a size 80/12 quilting needle , but your machine may prefer a size 90/14 quilting needle.The quilt size is ideal for setting up the backing and batting on my kitchen table and then using the Odif 505 adhesive spray to sandwich the quilt.

A can of Odif 505 adhesive spray laid on top of the blue and white quilt top with batting and backing.

Odif 505…my favorite adhesive spray to sandwich the quilt

I started by free motion quilting straight lines on the top, starting in the middle of the piece and quilting to the edges and altering quilting directions (meaning a line upward and then one line downward). Of course, I also randomly picked the length between my quilting lines. Altering from ¼” to 1”. Once these quilting lines were done, I felt it still needed one more quilting. So, I chose a dark blue thread (I used Sulky 12wt for the top and 30wt in the bobbin) and quilted circles to balance all the blue squares in the quilt.

The sandwiched quilt laid on the sewing machine harp ready for free motion quilting.

Free motion quilting straight lines while improvising

Strips of blue and white binding wrapped around an Omnigrip ruler laid on top of the quilt.

Using the leftover strips to create the binding on the quilt

Now, remember all those 2¼” strips you cut and set aside for today? You now sew them together and use them for your binding! For a quick finish on this project, I actually stitched the binding on the bottom of the quilt and proceeded to fold the binding to the top of the quilt. And instead of hand sewing the binding to the quilt, I simply picked a decorative stitch on my sewing machine and stitched the binding to the top of the quilt.

Finished blue and white quilt, with decorative binding.

Finishing the binding with a decorative stitch

And that’s how I finished my improv quilt using the winter blue sky as my inspiration, and essential notions such as Odif 505 Temporary Adhesive for Fabric to ease the process. I finished the quilt just in time to welcome spring and see all the snowmelt to make room for luscious greens. Perhaps this’ll be my cue for my next improv quilt? Who knows! I hope you go on this ‘improv’ journey to creating your version of this quilt, and please do share your finished project with us using the #TheSewGoesOn.

This is part 5 of 5 in this series

Go back to part 4: Designing your improv quilt for the WOW factor (think about it!)


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