Easy, Perfected, Hand-Quilting

by Ramona on September 5, 2013

As the holidays approach, we’re always looking to do something special for the folks we love. Perhaps one of those things this year may include some hand-stitching on a quilt project.

There are machines that will do quilting for us, but every now and again, nothing, just nothing, competes with a hand-stitched gift. People know the craftsmanship and time it takes to create something so beautiful. They appreciate it even more because perhaps they don’t have the skills and patience required.

Those who know me, know machine embroidery is my passion. I love the precision of the stitching. I have been doing machine embroidery for so long, that sometimes when I wish to do hand stitching, my stitching is never “perfect enough”. The stitches are too short, too long, a little crooked….just never as I had envisioned they would be. My eye has been trained over the years to scrutinize the stitches in machine embroidery and now my hand-stitching is just never good enough to suit my taste.

Years ago, I developed a technique that “cured” the dilemma I faced in my hand-stitching. It has the consistency I like about machine embroidery, yet is done by hand. This technique is super easy and requires limited skills, and only one specialty item.

This week, I’ll share with you my little technique. My husband calls it “cheating”. Me? I call it “resourceful”! It is a technique that can also be done with an embroidery machine (I’ll post on the ASG Facebook page when the video is up on the ASG YouTube channel).

Here’s the technique:

1.  Load the machine, both top and bobbin, with water soluble thread (click on the pictures for the link to the manufacturer’s websites).

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2.  Set the machine stitch length for the desired hand-stitch length. For the stitches to show up in this demonstration, the stitch length will be set at 4 mm. If hand-stitching for a quilt were to be done, perhaps a stitch length of 10-12 stitches per inch would be used.










3.  Cut the quilt sandwich (back, batting, top) and mark the design on the top fabric. For this demonstration, simple straight lines were used, but any design, quilting or other, may be used. Stitch along the marked design lines with the water soluble thread. (Option: Mark and stitch the design on the top only, then layer the quilt and stitch through all layers during the hand-stitching process.)

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4.  For straight stitching, use the quilting guide that comes with the machine. Set it for the distance from the center needle position, and then just allow the guide to follow along the previous line of stitching.




5.  The stitching lines provide a guide for the hand stitching. Select a thread, either hand quilting or choose colorful embroidery floss.



6.  Use as many strands as you’d like. I split the floss into two-strand segments and threaded the needle.



7. Simply move the needle in and out, following along the stitching line, inserting the needle in and out the holes created by the machine stitching. Be sure the stitching goes through the back side.

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8. Complete all the rows of hand-stitching, following along the machine-stitched line.



9.  Spritz the water soluble thread with water, and the thread will dissolve away leaving only the hand stitching!




No one will be any the wiser! All they will see is your beautiful, straight and consistent, hand stitching!!!!








Enjoy this technique. Try it with quilting designs, primitives, any project where you’d liked to add hand-stitching.


Sew ‘til next time, enjoy the journey of sewing…







Linda Shumway September 5, 2013 at 3:22 am

This is so cool! I’m definitely going to copy your quilt design…looks like a winter star. And I’m going to try this method of hand sewing because I too suffer from a ‘too critical’ eye! And I’ve been hand embroidering for 60 years so you’d think by now I would get it right!! Nice job Ramona!

Jodell Larkin September 5, 2013 at 3:26 am

I think its resourceful,…especially since you’re still doing the thread that matters by hand.

JeriLynn Saint-Onge September 5, 2013 at 3:28 am

What a great technique and thank you for sharing. As a beginner (68 years old) just learning how to sew, I have learned so much from your webinars and these great techniques. Thank you for being my mentor!
Blessings, JL

Bunica October 3, 2013 at 10:28 pm

OMG! This is brilliant!

Bunica October 4, 2013 at 1:54 am

What is ASG?

Sue Foster October 22, 2013 at 1:00 pm

Wow, I am just about to hand embroider some shadow embroidery designs. Now I’ll just stitch out the outline & not have to pencil them first! Yeah! Thanks, Sue

Diana October 22, 2013 at 1:13 pm

What a great idea. I shy away from handwork but after reading this I am going to finish a project I have had for ages. Thanks for enlightening us on this technique. It’s just MARVALOUS!

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