Tape Marking Quilt Top for Straight Line Quilting

Straight line quilting gives your quilt a clean, modern feel and it’s quite simple to achieve. Lines can go straight along the blocks or diagonally across the quilt top. If a project isn’t too large, I like to use a Frixion pen and my 6 x 24″ ruler to mark lines on the quilt. That’s what I did on the the Dog Gone Cute pillow below.

Dog Gone Cute Pillow

However, another option is using painter’s tape. It comes in varying widths at the hardware store from 1/2″ to 3″. You can lay sizes next to each other to make whatever distance you choose between your lines. We also have a product at the store called “Quilter’s 1/4 inch tape” that works good if you want 1/4″ tape markings. You will also need a walking foot for your machine. The walking foot allows the top and bottom fabrics to feed evenly when you’re quilting. With tape, a walking foot and your imagination, you’re set to go.
 painters tape Quilter's quarter inch tape
The first step is to place the first piece of tape. If you’re crosshatching a large quilt setting that first line can be tricky so take some time to lay it down accurately. Making sure that first placement is straight is important because all the lines will build off of that first one. You can put a few “orientation” marks down before with a Friction pen or marking pencil to help guide you. A partner to help stretch out tape across a large top can be very helpful. The low tack of the painter’s tape will stick nicely, but it won’t leave a residue on your quilt. The key here is not to leave the tape on your quilt top for prolonged lengths of time and/or expose the taped quilt top to summer heat.
Position your walking foot like you see below with the inner edge running along the tape. This prevents any sewing over the tape and it helps keep your line perfectly straight. Sometimes when you stop to adjust your quilt your quilt will shift a bit and if you just have the needle it’s hard to line up your quilt again. With that inner edge of the presser foot you can line up with the tape and keep on sewing.
This is what your line will look like after sewing.
Masking tape can be re-positioned a time or two, but eventually when it isn’t sticky enough to hold a straight line you will need a new piece of tape. Here are a few examples of some of the straight line quilting. Stitching can be done in parallel lines or varying distances apart depending upon your liking.

IMG_2980 copy
Remember to start in the center and work out to the edges. You can always pull fullness to the edges before stitching but it’s no fun having excess fullness bubbling up in the middle of your quilt!

Have fun playing with lines.

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