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Thread: Learning to free motion

  1. #1
    Junior Member Pamela Alsbury's Avatar
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    Learning to free motion

    I am trying to teach myself how to free motion quilt, however my stitches look horrible on the back side. I'm not sure what I am doing wrong. Any advise?

  2. #2
    Senior Member fixfido's Avatar
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    Can you post a pic of what the stitches look like? It would help a lot in determining what might be wrong. My first suspicion is a thread tension issue.
    Life has given me so much more than scraps, but I make quilts anyway!
    http://www.wickedcool.etsy.com

  3. #3
    Super Member Treasureit's Avatar
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    Here is a website that has good info.

  4. #4
    Super Member Treasureit's Avatar
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  5. #5
    Super Member katier825's Avatar
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    Practice, practice, practice! One day, you'll check the back and it looks as good as the front!

  6. #6
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    Have you done the following: Put on your FMQ foot with the little spring in it? Lowered your feed dogs? Adjusted the tension on a scrap sandwich? Put the foot lever down before sewing even though it doesn't quite touch the fabric?
    These are for most machines however some people tape a card over the feed dogs if they can't be lowered.
    Some don't lower the feed dogs and put the stitch length to zero. You would have to say what your machine is before you can get more hints for that specific model. Different model, different method.

  7. #7
    Power Poster nativetexan's Avatar
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    and you must lower your needle and then raise it to bring the bobbin thread to the top. take hold of both threads and then take a few stitches almost in place. stop and trim those threads and then continue. move the quilt slower than your foot pedal speed.

  8. #8
    Super Member DogHouseMom's Avatar
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    We would need pic's to help determine what kind of "horrible" it is - trust me, we've made lots of variety of "horrible" before and each of them have their own reasons for being horrible including: needle, thread, presser foot, feed dogs, bobbin wind, hand speed, machine speed, tension (usually upper), machine threading, breathing (yes - I said breathing!), and probably a few other things I forgot to mention.
    May your stitches always be straight, your seams always lie flat, and your grain never be biased against you.

    Sue

  9. #9
    Junior Member Pamela Alsbury's Avatar
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    I have the FMQ foot on and feed dogs lowered, It may have something to do with the speed in which I am moving the sandwich. I haven't changed my stitch length though. When I can I will post a few pic's so that you can see what I am talking about. Thank you all for your advise. Hope you all have a Merry Christmas :-)

  10. #10
    Junior Member traveler53's Avatar
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    Make sure you are bringing up the bobbin thread before you start. I have learned the hard way that it can make a terrible mess on the backside.
    Traveler53

    So Much Fabric, So Little Time

  11. #11
    Senior Member LindaDeeter's Avatar
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    It takes practice & adjusting to get it just right ... not all machines are the same! My rule of thumb - if the thread is loose on the bottom, tighten the top tension SLIGHTLY!! If the thread is loose on top, loosen the top tension. You rarely need to adjust the bobbin case tension. Use the same thread top & bobbin and a brand new needle. Take your time! Practice on sandwiches of the same fabrics as your quilt. Concentrate on making even stitches and don't get in a hurry. I like to use the little quilting gloves that have the grips on the palms to move my fabric. You'll get it ... and you'll be very happy!

  12. #12
    Senior Member littlesurfer's Avatar
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    It takes time and a lot of practice. I'm also teaching myself to FMQ and have been doing it for about a year and it does get easier the more you do.
    Lynn

  13. #13
    Super Member azwendyg's Avatar
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    Pictures would help us to help you. It sounds like you may have a tension adjustment problem.

    Before I start FMQing, I always FMQ a few straight lines on a sample sandwich the same as my quilt so that I can adjust the tension. Part of the problem might also be inconsistency in speed that you are moving the fabric; I experienced that also when I was starting out, and the problem mysteriously "disappeared" as I got better at controling and coordinating the movement of my fabric and the speed of my machine.

    Keep practicing and eventually you'll get better at it.
    Wendy

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