Can You Quilt with a Regular Sewing Machine

This is a commonly sought question. However, the simple answer to the query is Yes! One can easily quilt with a regular machine. Most individuals are scared to give it a shot because they fear that their sewing machine is not the right piece of equipment for the job.

That’s why you’re probably asking yourself how possible it is and how good are the results? Typically, it would be good if you gave it a try. If you can sew straight stitches with your machine, then you can be guaranteed to get perfect quilting, too, which means to expect an ideal texture for your quilts.

You can commonly make two different types of quilting with a regular sewing machine. That is free motion quilting and straight-line quilting. Let’s dive deep into each one and see what you can expect.

Free Motion Sewing Machine Quilting

It is essential to note that this kind of quilting requires some practice before achieving the best and most precise-looking quilts. This doesn’t mean that it’s impossible, just that you will need some time to get it right when using a regular sewing machine.

The designs created through free motion can be intricate, just like those used when hand quilting. To achieve perfect quilts in free motion, here are some things to take into consideration.

Ensure you lower your sewing machine’s feed dogs. Next, confirm there is nothing in between or under the quilt sandwich to guide it through. When the quilter is entirely under the control of the action, it becomes easy for you to design.

How swift you run your sewing machine and your overall movement speed must go hand in hand to determine the length of your stitches.

When quilting, you can choose to use a special foot or the darning presser foot. However, note that if you use special feet, you’re likely to get larger openings than with darning feet.

Straight Line Sewing Machine Quilting

For straight-line quilting, one can perform best by using the walking foot instead of the regular presser foot. The core purpose of using a walking foot is because it helps grip the quilt’s top, progressing it through the machine at the same rate as that of its back. As a result, it is moved throughout the machine’s feed dogs accordingly.

Ensure you keep the quilt moving evenly through the machine to keep the quilt sandwich layers from shifting apart as you sew. This also reduces any pleats and distortions there may be in case one sandwich doesn’t sync properly with the rest of the layers.

It would be best to practice to achieve intricate patterns. Quilting from a regular machine comes with various advantages, which include the following.

  • You can save on costs because you won’t need to send your quilt to a professional nor do you have to spend money purchasing an arm machine.
  • It helps explore other additional creative areas with your machine. By practicing how to quilt with a regular sewing machine, you learn more and can discover new techniques to add into premade quilts.
  • You get to decide how best you want your quilt to look. This is because you can choose the distance between your quilt lines.
  • You get to quilt at your own pace. You can take as much time as you need to complete your quilt.
Patchwork quilt process with sewing machine

What Is the Best Quilting Line Distance?

So, now that you’re conversant with the two types of quilting and how best to tackle them, it is good to know how far apart one quilting line should be from the other. It’s advisable to have around an 8 to 10-inch distance between quilt lines.

If the quilt you’re making will be used or washed more frequently, adding more quilting stitches than the average 8 inches is recommended. Having quilt lines closer to each other reduces the stress on individual stitches.

An ordinary quilt sandwich contains 3 quilt layers: the back, middle, and top layers. The thickness of each layer determines how far apart the lines should be. However, the distance you choose may depend on other factors.


The space one puts between quilting lines affects the texture of the finalized quilt. The more space you create, the softer the quilt is, and the smaller the spaces, the rougher the surface. This is because the increased number of quilts pulls the material tightly.

A denser quilt makes the quilt warmer as compared to sparse ones. So choose depending on what makes you more comfortable.


When you’re quilting for yourself, you can make it faster if you desire; however, when you’re doing it for your customers, it is important to take your time. With sparse quilting lines, it takes you less time than what you would take to quilt dense ones.

Among other minor factors include durability and the batting material.

What Can One Use to Line a Quilt?

Lining a quilt is essential for both beginners and intermediates. If you wouldn’t like to mark up your quilt, you can use masking tape or a hera marker to guide you through without leaving marks behind.

The next thing you do is ensure you have a well-set machine. It is recommended to use a walking foot for beginners because it helps quilt at an even rate. Avoid using marker pens since it takes time to wash away.

What Stitch Stitches Are Best to Use When Quilting with a Regular Sewing Machine?

Since you’re using a regular sewing machine, knowing the stitches to achieve the best results is vital. Some commonly used stitches include:

  • Outline quilting stitches
  • Shadow quilting stitches
  • Stipple quilting stitches
  • Template quilting stitches
  • Horizontal quilting stitches


To sum it up, we can say that it is possible to quilt with a regular sewing machine. The best part is that you can quilt any design similar to what a long arm machine can do. With the two standard sewing machine techniques, free motion and straight-line, all you need is more practice and a bit of extra time. Quilting beautifully with a regular sewing machine is possible.