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Thread: What length stitch to machine quilt?

  1. #1
    Junior Member Donna in Mo's Avatar
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    I have embroidered several quilts and pieced some patchwork quilts. I would like to try some machine quilting that will show but don't know what length of stitch I should use. I have never tried free motion quilting but it sounds like fun.

  2. #2
    Jeanne girl's Avatar
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    It doesn't matter what length the stitch is set, when you free motion, your feed dogs are down and you control the length by the fastness or slowness that you move your fabric under your open toed darning foot.

  3. #3
    Super Member Ps 150's Avatar
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    As Jeanne girl said, it doesn't matter with FMQ but if you're doing stitch in the ditch or echo, it varies with the thickness of the quilt. At least it does for me. As a rule, I go with 2.5 but I might change it a bit if the quilt is really thin and go down to 2.2.

  4. #4
    Jeanne girl's Avatar
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    When stitching in the ditch with my walking foot, I usually have to set my machine at very long stitch length because the fabric seems to drag through and the long stitch comes out just about correct...sew a few samples first for good measure.

  5. #5
    Power Poster amma's Avatar
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    I was taught to set the stitch length to 0 when I free motion.. I set it to 3.5 when I machine quilt. :D:D:D

  6. #6
    Super Member bibliostone's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by amma
    I was taught to set the stitch length to 0 when I free motion.. I set it to 3.5 when I machine quilt. :D:D:D
    What a good tip! It really makes sense if you have an older machine where you cover the feed dogs instead of lowering them.

  7. #7
    Super Member clem55's Avatar
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    I used one of the decorative stitches with my walking foot, and the default setting worked great. I was using warm and natural betting.

  8. #8
    Jeanne girl's Avatar
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    Clem 55, tell me about the default setting, not familiar w/that. I have a Bernina machine.

  9. #9
    Senior Member quilter41's Avatar
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    I think stitch length is a personal preference. I like a little larger sttich when machine quilting and a small stitch when hand quilting.

  10. #10
    Senior Member quilter41's Avatar
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    I think stitch length is a personal preference. I like a little larger sttich when machine quilting and a small stitch when hand quilting.

  11. #11
    Super Member QuiltnCowgirl's Avatar
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    Can someone translate for me the 2.2, 2.5, 3.5 stitch lengths? Both of my machines (Singer 403 & Singer Featherweight) have the stitch lengths 6, 7, 8...20. Thanks!

  12. #12
    Super Member clem55's Avatar
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    The smaller the number, the shorter the stitches. For me on my Janome, I like the 3.8 for my "normal" stitch length, and I use a 5 for basting. Hope this helps!

  13. #13
    Super Member JenniePenny's Avatar
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    Everybody has to decide what stitch length is best for them and the machine they are using. Practice on a scrap sandwich (even if it just made out of plain white cloth and batting). Make sure to write down the settings that show on your machine onto your little practice piece. Sometimes you want longer, and sometimes you want shorter stitches.

    For me, I like to machine quilt when my stitch length setting reads either 2.6 or 2.8. But that wouldn't mean anything to the folks who don't have the same settings on their machines.

  14. #14
    Super Member QuiltnCowgirl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by clem55
    The smaller the number, the shorter the stitches. For me on my Janome, I like the 3.8 for my "normal" stitch length, and I use a 5 for basting. Hope this helps!
    And that is why I'm glad I asked...because on my machines the smaller the number the longer the stitches (6 would be basting...10-12 is usually used for normal stitching)

    Thanks for the insight.

  15. #15
    Power Poster MadQuilter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeanne girl
    It doesn't matter what length the stitch is set, when you free motion, your feed dogs are down and you control the length by the fastness or slowness that you move your fabric under your open toed darning foot.
    That is only true for some machines. Others MUST have the stitch length set or the stitches will be anry little bites in the fabric. On my Babylock, I set mine to 3 or 3.5 mm and do quite well with it.

  16. #16
    Junior Member Donna in Mo's Avatar
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    Thanks everyone for your advice. I will do some practice pieces and see what works best for me. I am going to do echo quilting on a pillowcase I am making to match the quilt I made for my GD. I had the quilt hand quilted but thought I could just machine quilt the pillowcase. This forum is great! Thanks!

  17. #17
    Super Member Ps 150's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by QuiltnCowgirl
    Quote Originally Posted by clem55
    The smaller the number, the shorter the stitches. For me on my Janome, I like the 3.8 for my "normal" stitch length, and I use a 5 for basting. Hope this helps!
    And that is why I'm glad I asked...because on my machines the smaller the number the longer the stitches (6 would be basting...10-12 is usually used for normal stitching)

    Thanks for the insight.
    I think it varies by machine because a basting stitch on mine translates to a 4 (according to the manual) and a normal stitch of 2.2 translates to a 2-3. I used to have a Singer as well and I believe a normal stitch length was a 3 for that machine. You can contact Singer, though, and they'll tell you. That's how I found out when I had mine.

  18. #18
    Senior Member Boscobd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by QuiltnCowgirl
    Can someone translate for me the 2.2, 2.5, 3.5 stitch lengths? Both of my machines (Singer 403 & Singer Featherweight) have the stitch lengths 6, 7, 8...20. Thanks!
    If your Singers are fairly old, the stitch lengths may be measured in the number of stitches per inch. That's the way my Singer Slant-O-Matic 603 (early 1960s) is. I typically use a setting of 10 or 12 when using this machine. I was very confused when I got a new Singer and it had the 2.2, 2.5, 3.5, etc lengths! :wink:

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