Heirloom Creations Top 10 Machine Quilting Tools

We Carry
by Sara Snuggerud in Archives

We have compiled the Top 10 most commonly purchased and used machine quilting tools. These tools will help improve your stitching, posture and ease of fabric movement. Even if you just try one new item in addition to your current machine quilting style, you are guaranteed to see improvements.


  1. Walking Foot

The ultimate tool for straight stitch machine quilting, a walking foot is designed to feed a layered quilt (top, batting, and backing) evenly through the sewing machine. Want to use a decorative stitch to quilt a quilt top? No problem! Buy a walking foot with an open toe presser foot to see the needle easier for stitch-in-the-ditch quilting.

Price Range: $19.95 – $150 depending on the machine. Wonder why there is such a price difference? Higher priced walking feet are made to exactly match the feed dogs’ motion of the machine for which they are made resulting in a more accurate outcome.


  1. Open Toe Free Motion Foot

An open toe free motion foot performs exactly like a darning or regular quilting foot except the front part of the foot is cut away. This allows easier viewing while free motion quilting, either simple or intricate patterns.

Price Range: $9.95 – $40.00


  1. Quilting Gloves

Gloves with “non-skid” allows for better grip on the fabric as you move it! Look for “breathable” gloves that will be comfortable to use in both the winter and summer.

Price: $8 – $12


  1. Free Motion Slider

National award-winning quilter Pat LaPierre developed the free-motion slider to make machine quilting easy and fun! This Teflon sheet adheres without any tape to the bed of the sewing machine allowing fabric to slide effortlessly across this zero friction product.

Price: $27.95


  1. The Right Needles

Topstitch or Microtex (also called Sharps) needles are made with an extra sharp points. This helps to make a very straight stitch even when stitching through multiple layers of seam allowances at block corners and intricate intersections. Select the proper size of Topstitch or Microtex needle depending on the type of thread used. Use Topstitch needles for heavier threads (40wt or bigger) and Microtex for finer threads (silk or any 60wt or smaller threads). We also prefer the Schmetz brand of needles because the quality is unbeatable. Do remember to start with a new needle at the beginning of each machine quilting project!

Price Range: $5 – $6 for a pack of five


  1. Quality Thread

Quilting makes the quilt! Take time in selecting a thread color that will enhance the quilt and not detract from the quilt pattern. The right color may come in cotton, polyester or even silk. If it is a quality thread, it won’t matter if the thread content is not cotton. Go ahead quilt something daring!

Price Range: $5.00 – $24.95 a spool


  1. 505 Spray

Perfect for basting top fabrics, batting and backing together without safety pines, this particular spray has no oder and will not gum up the needle. Price: $11.99


  1. Practice Piece

A warm-up piece is essential for setting tensions, practicing patterns and testing thread color. It is recommended to use left over fabrics from the quilt project and some of the same backing and batting in a practice piece. Take time to “warm up” each time you sit down to free motion machine quilt. Remember to take regular breaks every 15-20 minutes. If your quilting starts to get erratic or sloppy, its time to stop. Try to allow enough time so you are not in a hurry to quilt the quilt.


  1. Workstation

The best work area has three main components:

Chair – Fully adjustable and fitted to your body and adjusted for your height. There is a huge difference in quality in chairs. We recommend the Ergonomic Advantage chairs that are designed for women that sew! Price Range: $300 – $600

Table Area – Preferably a cabinet with enough space for your quilt to be supported in the front, side and back. This also gives the best ergonomic position allowing you to relax when you quilt and take the strain off the shoulders and back.

Lighting – As a rule most sewers don’t have enough and need to add more! How much depends on the type of lighting being used and what time of day that you normally sew. If you sew late into the night more is better.


  1. Stitch Regulator

A stitch regulator is one of our favorite tools but limited to certain machines. This specialized foot or accessory is excellent for both new and experienced quilters. It is designed to keep the stitch length consistant when doing free motion quilting. This allows the user to focus more on the quilting designs and less on keeping the machine’s running speed even with the fabric movement. A stitch regulator foot is available for the Bernina 200, 430, 440, 630, 640, 730. The Fabric Mover with Stitch Regular accessory is an attachment for the Husqvarna Viking Freesia’s, Lilly’s, Rose’s, Platinum’s, Scandinavia 300 & 400, Quilt Designer, Quilt Designer II, Designer II, Designer 1, Designer 1 USB and the Designer SE as an attachment!

Need help deciphering some of these items? Come in and tell us what is holding you back from being a successful machine quilter. We can help customize the proper tools for your exact needs.

What is your favorite machine quilting tool? Login and leave your comments!

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