The Ultimate Guide to Hand Quilting Success Update 05/2022

In the modern quilt world, hand quilting has remained popular.

For a multitude of reasons, hand quilting is popular among quilters. Many quilters want to create an heirloom, have a hand quilted pattern, or simply enjoy the solitude of stitching.

Hundreds of minuscule stitches are required for hand quilting, but when combined, they make amazing pictures. These stitches add depth and creativity to a vivid patchwork of colors.

Each stitch is as unique as the quilter’s fingerprints. Hand quilting displays the passion, craftsmanship, and individuality of the person wielding the needle.

History of Hand Quilting

The origins of quilting and hand quilting can be traced back to prehistoric times.

Rather for mattress covers, these ancient people made garments.

The Ultimate Guide to Hand Quilting Essentials - Homemade Emily Jane

According to ancient texts, quilted clothing was developed for armor and protection from the elements. Researchers discovered quilted wall hangings in the late 1300s.

Around that time, quilting expanded to encompass coverlets and other small household items.

In the 1700s, petticoats worn under gowns were painstakingly quilted to improve insulation during the harsh winters. Dresses were sometimes slipped to the side to display the lovely hand quilting patterns on the petticoats beneath.

Quilted drapes were both beautiful and practical. Quilting became popular in the United States in the mid-nineteenth century, when women had more free time. Young women were expected to make multiple quilts before marrying.

As they prepared to migrate, these quilts were to be placed in their hope box.

Although the invention of the sewing machine made it easier to piece quilts, hand quilting remained their preferred way of finishing them. Home machines have mostly replaced hand quilting.

Thousands more women, on the other hand, continue to quilt by hand and like it.

Hand Quilting vs. Machine Quilting

It is entirely up to you whether you hand quilt or machine quilt your creation.

For many people, hand quilting provides a peaceful period of introspection. If the quilt is for a special someone, they may want to hand quilt it as a gesture of love.

To help you decide whether to hand quilt or machine quilt your next quilt project, here are some comparisons:

Hand Quilting

  • Hand quilting stitches are spaced widely apart, increasing the quilting’s overall design.
  • Hand quilting is easy to transport. Travel by car, aircraft, or cruise with your sewing.
  • Hand quilting allows for individualization. Each quilter’s stitch is distinctive. The artwork is frequently passed down through the generations.

Machine Quilting

  • If this item will be cleaned and worn frequently, machine quilt it.
  • If the top or backing is a batik, machine quilt it. Hand quilting batiks is more difficult.
  • If hand quilting a King Size Quilt seems daunting, machine quilt it instead.

The Ultimate Guide To Hand Quilting

How to Make A Quilters Knot

Regardless matter the technique you use for hand quilting, the first stages are the same.

  • Insert the needle 12″ away from where you want to start your stitches and bring it back up to where you want to start the stitches without going through the back. The knot is hidden inside the batting.
  • With a little tug, pull on the knot. It will not come through the top of the quilt if you tie a firm knot.
  • Insert your needle through all of the layers and make a little loop on the backside. Place your finger above the knot made by passing your needle through this.
  • Return the needle to the starting point of your quilting line and continue stitching.
  • Attempt to repeat the first few of stages if the knot comes through to the top. Try not to pull on the knot too hard.

Hand Quilting Stitches

Hand stitching’s ultimate goal is to achieve consistent stitches. On both the front and back of the quilt, they should be the same length.

If you see a quilt with tiny stitches in a museum, remember that quilts were commonly made by young girls with dexterous fingers.

Make your stitches as consistent as possible, even if this means they’re a touch bigger than you’d want. The stitches tend to get smaller as your technique improves.

Best Hand Quilting Thimbles

thimble metal hand quilting

A metal thimble is used to grip the needle and provides the finest protection.

The Clover 6025 Small Protect and Grip Metal Thimble is one of our favorites since it keeps your finger cool and is light.

A leather thimble may be preferable for beginners since it provides better control. The Dritz Leather Thimble is one of our favorites because it is supple and durable.

Try them both and decide which you prefer. Because you usually wear your thimble on your middle finger, make sure it fits appropriately.

folded quilt hand quilting

The needle is pushed through the front of the fabric and then catches little parts of the back of the fabric for this hand quilting stitch. This method is carried out on all layers to create a type of line.

Rocking Stitch– You make tiny tucks and then push the needle through them. In the hoop, this quilt stitch sandwich must be flexible. Before dragging the needle through, push numerous stitches onto the needle.

Spoon Quilting – When using a spoon, the thumb on the hand that is under the frame fits into the spoon’s bowl, and the spoon’s edge pokes into the quilt’s underside. The needle contacts the rounded edge of the spoon as it descends from the top of the quilt, then “glances off” the edge and returns to the top. The stitches gradually become uniform due to a rocking action.


When choosing patterns with lengthy straight lines, be cautious. Although a running stitch is simple to quilt, any incorrect stitches are immediately visible.

Look for designs with shorter curved lines in the design.

Hand Quilting Patterns and Stencils

Choosing a quilt pattern may be both exciting and nerve-wracking. With hundreds of designs to choose from, the quilter must frequently take a step back and assess the quilt to see what she feels will work best.

One easy technique to obtain the pattern on the fabric is to use a stencil and a chalk pounce pad.

Work in small parts at a time, or the chalk will brush off and the design will be lost.

A good Ceramic Pencil can also be used to trace the lines of a stencil, which can be easily removed with a moist cloth.


Select a thread that is somewhat darker in color than the fabric.

If the quilt contains too many hues, use a neutral color that will not compete. Black, gray, cream, and gold are common neutral colors.

Hand Quilting Threads, Needles & Hoops

Exceptional Thread

To ensure that your stitches stay as long as the quilt fabric, choose the highest quality thread.

The thread should be stronger and able to withstand repeated insertions through the quilt sandwich. It should also have a glaze on it. The thread is coated with the glaze, which is usually wax.

The fibers might tear and fray as they move through the quilt sandwich. A frayed thread will break eventually. As a result of their durable fiber basis and gloss, most quilters choose to use two types of thread.


It’s likely that the thread is becoming stuck between the end of the needle and your thimble, causing it to break. That pressure will eventually weaken the thread, so make sure it’s clear.

Needle for Hand Quilting

When you first come across needles, they can be daunting. They are fairly short, and the needle’s eye is very small.

Some quilters avoid hand quilting because they believe it is too difficult to work with a little needle. Since the days when quilters just used “between needles,” a lot has changed.

To accommodate the larger needle, modern quilters have created hand quilting techniques known as “utility” stitches.

Start with the tiniest needle you’re most comfortable with for conventional hand quilting.

When you’ve mastered that, go down a size.

Quilters use needles ranging from 12 to 5 in size.

The smaller the needle, the higher the number. When you get a variety pack of sizes, you’ll be able to figure out which one works best for you right away.


If your thread is tangling or twisting on itself, make sure you start with a length of thread that is no longer than 18 inches.

If your thread continues to twist, suspend it on the end closest to the quilt and lower the needle. Allow the needle to untwist the thread as it approaches the end.

Pull the thread tail back to the proper length once it is straight again.

Hoops for Hand Quilting

Once you’ve decided to try hand quilting, you’ll need to invest in a quilt hoop created exclusively for the task.

Do not purchase a plastic hoop for embroidery. A quilting hoop has a wider frame and is larger. This larger frame is required to accommodate three thick layers.

The ideal hoop size is 12″. It’s small enough to fit in your lap without reaching your knees, and it’s also highly portable.

Most quilters become upset and give up because they hoop the quilt sandwich incorrectly. In embroidery, the fabric should be taut in the hoop. It makes a drum sound when you tap it.

In hand quilting, the opposite is true. Once the cloth is hooped, push it up from the back with your first until it extends 1″-2″ above the hoop.

As you sew along, the needle can rock back and forth through the quilt sandwich.


Using a product like 505 Spray Adhesive, spray baste your quilt sandwich. Despite the fact that it is a spray adhesive, it will not attach to the needle.

Then, using the thread, sew a basting stitch down the edge. All around, cut the backing and batting 5″-6″ wider than the quilt top.

6 Techniques for Hand Quilting | Martha Stewart

This makes it possible to pick up throughout the quilting process.

Quilters today have more devices and equipment than at any other time in history.

The majority of quilts manufactured today are finished on computerized machines operated by longarm specialists.

Every year, however, ladies desire to learn how to hand quilt. Hand quilting has survived the modern world, whether it is to slow down and enjoy the process or to pass on an heirloom.

Please contact your local quilt guild or quilt store if you want to learn more about hand quilting.

Did this hand quilting lesson provide you with any useful information?

With your next quilting project, I hope you’ll use these hand quilting tips.

Do you want to assist other quilters?

Would you be willing to show your friends and family some love? Please spread the word about this hand quilting instruction on social media.

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