Love Letter Pillow Sewalong - Part 3 (Walking Foot Tutorial, too!)
by April Henry
Let's Quilt on the Featherweight!
We are now moving on to the quilting process of the Love Letter Pillow. If you aren't quite finished with piecing your final block, then refer back to Part 2 of the Sewalong for some piecing tips. For quilting, we have opted to use the Walking Foot designed for the Singer Featherweight. The teeth on the walking foot align to the teeth on the feed dogs so this will eliminate any unnecessary shifting and allow for more even feeding during the quilting process.
To begin quilting (this applies to any quilt) you will want to layer your project in what is called a "quilt sandwich".
It will layer like this:
For a full-size quilt, my long-arm quilter requires the batting and backing to extend beyond the quilt top for at least 4 to 6 inches all the way around. With smaller projects, it doesn't have to be this much, but you do want some extra for ease.
The Walking Foot is attached from the back of the machine with the fork arm placed over the needle bar at the same time as you attach the walking foot to the presser bar with the thumb screw. (Click here for a downloadable PDF for photos and further instructions on how to attach the Walking Foot to the machine.)
Before you stitch your first stitch there are a few things to know:
- Basting a quilt properly is a lesson all by itself with many options (click here for a link to hundreds of tutorials). This Love Letter Pillow is a very small project, however, so you won't have to baste much, if at all. (I didn't need to do any.)
- Always begin your quilting from the center of your quilt, gradually working out towards the edges. This will prevent puckers and shifting layers.
- Lock your beginning and ending stitches by moving the Stitch Length Lever on your Featherweight to neutral and stitching in place for 2 or 3 stitches. The neutral position is when the stitch length lever is parallel with the floor -- sticking straight out from the machine. (Your fabric will neither advance forward nor in reverse when the stitch length lever is in neutral.)
- When you are ready to stitch forward, set your stitch length to about 6, but no higher than 8. With the extra bulk your quilt will not advance as fast anyway, so having a longer stitch length will make the stitches more uniform.
- As shown below and only if needed, increase or decrease the pressure on your presser bar depending on the thickness of your quilt. (It's actually opposite of what you might think -- the thicker your quilt, the more pressure you need. This prevents skipped stitches so that the slack thread will form a loop as the hook is rotated around the bobbin case.)
This video tutorial will illustrate the lock-stitching process and give you an example for quilting on a Singer Featherweight.
You can stitch along the block seams at a distance from 1/8" to 1/4" to the seam to quilt your stitching lines. This essentially outlines each piece. I opted to quilt the entire heart as more of an outline, however, so that it didn't look like a "broken heart" by quilting any center lines.
When you are finished quilting, clip all your loose threads being careful not to cut any of the locked stitches. Next, trim your batting and backing.
Walking Foot Tip: This tool is excellent for basting, sewing binding on or when working with knit fabrics!
Proceed and complete the next step in your pattern - sewing your pillow back until it is ready for binding. When you're finished, advance to Part 4 of the Love Letter Pillow Sewalong - Sewing the Binding!