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How to Create the Look of Hand Stitching Using Machine Quilting

The look of hand quilting is hard to replicate on an electronic sewing machine.

The look of hand quilting is hard to replicate on an electronic sewing machine.

Quilts made by hand have a natural look to them because, well, they are made and finished by hand. The stitching will not be perfect and it may be irregular, but it gives the quilt its ultimate charm.

But there are times when finishing off a quilt by machine makes much more sense, for example if you are short on time or if you have a very large project by yourself that you know you will have no help finishing. The stitching of a standard sewing machine will sew a straight stitch on the quilt. Sometimes, the look of hand stitching will be needed or desired on a finished quilt. Here is how to create the look of hand-quilting on a sewing machine.

  1. Thread the upper thread of the sewing machine with either a spool of invisible thread, or use a very lightweight spool of thread in the same overall color hue as the top of the quilt.
  2. Fill a bobbin with a thread color that contrasts the color hue of the top of the quilt, and place it in the bobbin holder. Thread the lower thread and pull both threads to about 4 inches behind the machine.
  3. Adjust the upper tension to set it to the maximum tension setting.
  4. Begin sewing on the quilt.

The result: As you sew, the bobbin thread will be pulled by the upper tension, and show through to the top of the quilt.

Test a few stitches and adjust any tension or widths as needed to create a look similar to that of hand stitching the quilt.

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