Top Tips for Hand Quilting

By Angela Daymond

Hand quilting is a method by which to join three layers of a fabric together with a running stitch. 

Below are my top tips for successful hand quilting.

Before you begin hand quilting you will need to place your quilt top onto wadding (batting) and backing fabric, this is called a quilt sandwich. You’ll then need to tack (or baste) these together.

Many people prefer to hand quilt using a wooden quilting hoop. If you use one, the quilt should not be taut as it may stretch your quilt.

Quilting is traditionally completed in a thin, waxed cotton thread but you can hand quilt using a variety of thread thicknesses. Using a thicker perlé thread is now referred to as big stitch quilting. Hand quilting is not hard to learn and with a little practice your stitches will become small and even.

  • When choosing a thread for hand quilting unravel a small amount from the spool and place onto your quilt. This gives a much truer example of how it will look when you start to stitch.
  • Use a length of thread no longer than 50cm. Tie a small knot at the end and pull this knot through the fabric layers to bury it before starting to stitch.
  • You can use a stencil to draw out a quilting design or stitch next to the seam in the quilt blocks.
  • Hand quilting that has lots of straight lines can be easier and faster than a pattern with lots of curves.
  • Unless you are using a very thick thread a quilting needle is best, this is a strong, short fine needle with a round eye.
  • The running stitches in hand quilting are normally formed by making a rocking action with the needle.
  • Don’t worry if all your quilting stitches do not go all the way through to the back of your work, this is something that will improve with practice.
  • If you are doing lots of hand quilting it is a good idea to try out a thimble to protect your finger. There are many different types to try.
  • A small even stitch size comes with lots and lots of practice. Be kind to yourself and the most important thing is to try and be consistent with your stitch size.

Further information

For more information about Angela please visit her website, She can be found on Facebook as Angela Daymond Textile Artist and on Instagram as @angela_daymond.