How To Quilt A Big Project On A Small Sewing Machine

Not all quilters can afford a midarm or a longarm to quilt big projects. So if you are one of those who has to manage a queen, a king, or an even larger project on a domestic machine, you are not alone in this.

To make things easier for you without buying a whole new machine, here are some of my tips for this kind of job.

Pre-wind All The Bobbin You Need

You can hardly quilt a bed-size project with just a single bobbin. This task is easy but can be time-consuming when you have already been engaged in piecing the pieces together. So before you put the pair of gloves on, wind all the bobbin you may need beforehand.

If what you have is a best sewing machine for beginners, bobbin-winding should not take too much time. Here I have a selection of the best models for those who need a few suggestions, see here for a complete sewing machine reviews.

Always Wear Quilter Gloves

For those who intend to quilt a large project on their domestic machine, a pair of gloves can be of great help. These gloves are made especially for increasing the grip, which spares your arms and shoulders of the weight.

If you feel your arms or body tense up after spending a long time around a quilting project, these gloves might be the answer you are looking for.

Use More Tables If You Can

Your domestic sewing machine is on a table right? If the project can lay flat on the surface, that is great! But if it cannot, setting up some more tables around can be a great idea. These extra surfaces can support your project so that gravity cannot drag it down.

In case you cannot find that many tables, using a kitchen table temporarily is a good alternative. There are several types of folding tables on the market nowadays, which is also a good idea. They can be put away when you are done with them.

If you have to sew large projects often, it is a wise investment to buy a table that allows you to adjust its height.

Remember to put the tables flush against the wall to prevent the project from falling off the edge and pucker your seams.

Scrunching Instead of Rolling

Many quilters roll the project into a large tube so that it fits on their sewing table. If you have tried this method and the result does not satisfy you, try scrunching it instead. When the excess fabric is at the machine’s neck, it can no longer bother you. You can have all the space you need to maneuver or flat out the part you are working on with ease.

Scrunching has an edge over rolling when you are doing free-motion quilting as the latter method makes the project becomes cumbersome and prevent you from moving it from one side to the other.

Start At The Center Of The Project

My favorite tip to deal with the large project is to start at the center and work my way to the sides. So at any given time of my quilting process, I have to work with only half the length or width of the project.

When you are done with one side, rotate the whole thing to get to the other side instead of trying to scrunch or roll the project.

To get all the diagonal rows out of the way, try to sew them first. After that, the weight feels a lot lighter and easier to maneuver.

With this tip, you can easily handle large quilting projects even if the domestic machine you have does not cater to this kind of job. If you have a tight budget but still want to handle big projects, pairing my tips with a model from this article on What Are The Best Inexpensive Sewing Machine For Beginners Ultimate Guide and you can easily realize your ambition.

Turn The Sewing Machine

This tip might sound hard to believe for some but I am sure you, it is effective.

Turn the machine a 90-degree angle so that the needle part is closer to you and the other end of the machine is pushed away from you.

This set up means that when you quilt, you will push the project straight forward instead of going from one side to the other. In the long run, this setup can spare your shoulders of the pain and tension.

Make The Surface Slippery

The larger the project, the harder it is to maneuver. So if you want the project to roll easily, try to coat the table’s surface with oven liner or a quilting slider. If you do it right, the project should glide across the surface.

To keep the liner on the table, use tape to hold them down and you can quilt right on top.

Try New Things

No matter how much you read or watch video tutorials, a big part of learning how to quilt is to try and be prepared to fail.

You cannot be a professional quilter overnight. All the beautiful projects you see online are made by people who have been spending months or even years in training, so take your time.

The tips I share above are the result of trial and error. After a few projects, you may come up with your own! The more you practice, the more natural quilting becomes.

Break The Large Project Into Smaller Sections

If a really large project bothers you a lot, try to quilt smaller sections and then put them together later if the pattern allows. Quilting is sewing parts of the project to make a large piece anyway.

Final Note

For those who are serious about quilting and will have to tackle large projects often, I highly recommend investing in a specialized machine. It can spare you of all the troubles and can be a great time-saver.

If you do not know what options you have when it comes to machines like that, here I have an article on Which Is The Best Heavy Duty Sewing Machine For Home Use Ultimate Guide to point you in the right direction.
Nov 4, 1990 (Age: 31)
Lightroom Experience
Lightroom Version