Can I Free Motion Quilt on a Regular Sewing Machine?

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Hello! I would really like to take the class, Fabulous Free Motion Quilting, but I have a question. I have a quilting machine, but it’s really more like a regular sewing machine. Would I still be able to do this? Also, is free motion quilting okay to try as a beginner?

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NQC Answer

Hi there! Yes, free motion quilting can be done on a regular sewing machine. What’s important to note however is that you will need the ability to lower or disengage your feed dogs. On most machines this is a lever or switch found of the side or back of your machine. Check your manual if you are unsure whether your machine has this capability.

Other than that, free motion quilting is just straight stitching. There are different presser feet that can make it easier to see as you stitch – these are called “free motion feet,” sometimes called a “darning foot,” and can come in many different varieties.

Free motion quilting is typically done on a full quilt rather than a quilt block, however a “full quilt” can be any size you want! For example, in this particular class, Heather makes an entire art that is about the size of a sheet of paper.

And yes – free motion quilting can certainly be practiced as a beginner. In fact, it can be learned and practiced at any skill level. Some may even find that it is easier than sewing or piecing, as there is no measuring, marking, seam allowance, or anything to keep track of – It’s just simply doodling with thread!

Here are a few videos you could watch before trying out the class:

Hope that helps!


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15 Responses to “Can I Free Motion Quilt on a Regular Sewing Machine?”

    Hello! I am planning to restart sewing soon; since my high school days I do not use a sewing machine… (53 now!) Specially to make some crafts, curtains, home projects and quilting. I am clueless in terms of the machine I should be looking at to buy. I would like to buy a simple, easy to use, but complete machine to make beautiful quilts and decorating projects for my home. Any advice, guide or recommendations you can give about such a machine?

    • Customer Service
      Customer Service

      Hello Maria,

      There are many different wonderful machines available today. It is hard for me to simply recommend one- however I do recommend that you go to a machine dealer and try out different machines. This will help you decide what kind of machine you want as well as what kinds of features you want with your machine.

      Ashley NQC Video Membership

      We’d love to have you be a part of our community. We are convinced you will enjoy the benefits of becoming a member and having access to the best instructional how to videos and professional tips. We would like to offer you a special promotion for your first year membership.

      • Ruth Pressler
        Ruth Pressler

        I have many machines. I love my featherweight’s. I have been very livky to find them. They so great seams and a true 1/4 inch seam in making quilt blocks. I have/had 2-301’s my daughter had one and I will get a phone call when things. It is the full sized head and uses the same bobbins as the 221’s. I bought the Singer Touch and sew.
        Love windong bobbin in the machine. Gave the same machine to daughter when her husband was stationed at Kirtland AFB, Albuquerque. The kids had twisted the dial and she was upset because she kept breaking needles. Got mine out and she saw the needle position. Easy fix. Granddaughter has it. Her husband is stationed Joint base Bethesda-Andrews. I just bought her a New machine. I have been checking it out. Didn’t know the bobbin winder was on, it only growled, didn’t sew. It depends what you want your machine to do, as to what features you need. At my age I most likely would look at the trade-ins. The are reconditioned and they offer 2 yesrs of classes and free cleanings in that time frame as well. Just don’t let the machine intimidate you.

    • Cheryl

      Hi, I was facing the same thing as you except I had an old Kenmore home sewung machine. I had sewn quite a few thingsbon it but not fir a long time. I have noticed the throat on the newer machines were getting shorter and shorter and I had already felt cramped on the old one I had. I wanted to be able to quilt on the new on3. My daughter bought a Janome 8900 at a quilt show she went toba few years before and I liked tge room it had and the solid sound it made in the motor. It had room to move on the bed. I 3as at a quilt show with her and tried the new 15000 model but itv was too expensive. The sales lady said I could get the 9400qcp thst would puece quilt toos and had room fir quilting the whole quilt in it and have money left over to buy a separate embroidery machine. I like it a lot except for ruler work, but I might not have been doing it right. I haven’t gotten the embroidery machine yet gut have had the 9400 for about a year and a half. It thing about it though is you need the Janome feet and parts because the others don’t fit.

  2. Debbie

    On my regular machine, there is a little cover I can put over the feeddogs to allow for free motion quilting. I do not have a lever to lower them!

  3. carabw

    Why does the bobbin thread keep tangling up when I try to do free motion stitching?

    • Customer Service
      Customer Service


      I would recommend making an adjustment to your tension. The needle tension might be too tight, which may cause the bobbin thread to tangle when you try to move the fabric for free motion stitching.


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  4. Barbara Mitchell
    Barbara Mitchell

    I ordered a walking foot for my Elna 6600 Quilters Dream but can only straight stitch or zigzag. Apparently there is no quilting free motion foot for this machine. Should I just try it with feed dogs lowered and darning foot??

  5. Virginia Alarcon
    Virginia Alarcon

    I’ve quilted as beginner about 10 years ago & after cancer everything was shelved. I decided to start all over again. I bought a membership at National Quilters Circle hoping to get help & direction how I can start again. I hope to get back confidence but I feel lost where to start? I got a Scrappy Posies Pattern & so far cut my materials. But still not sure how to proceed. Please help.

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