Practice quilt : 8 things to sew from a practice quilt sandwich

 Practice, practice, practice…

“Practice makes perfect”

That right there is a very common saying we’ve heard when it comes to just about any skills.  but….perfect is so overrated. Nothing is perfect right? But…practice do make it better.


Free motion quilting is one of those skills that really relies on practice.

In practicing free motion quilting, memory muscles become stronger as we practice, thus the movement of our hands become much smoother as we progress through.

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Before we go into the things we can make from our practice pieces, here are some of my favorite must-have tools for Free Motion Quilting:

  1. Superior Threads. I literally changed my minds about threads, when I started using this thread. And they come in big cones. which means they last longer before I have to change thread. I use an embroidery thread stand for it. You can get cheap thread stand like this one here.

2. Superior Threads Top Stitch Needles. I use this for all my sewing and FMQ. Really. In fact, I kind of find it a bit off when I have to use a needle that is not coloured gold as these needles are.

3. My trusty sticky Glove. Any brand works for me, but I personally love the one that is breathable cotton like this one.

4. Spray Baste. I am not a fan of taking off safety pins. This makes it so much quicker and allows me to cruise without fear of getting onto a pin. I personally love 505 Spray baste.

5.  My large throat Janome Horizon machine of course!

However, you won’t need all of these tools to start. Just a reminder, I started with the very basic sewing machine and just a regular free motion quilting foot. And still managed to quilt a queen-size quilt. Just upgrade as you feel more confident and want to ease a couple of things that bothers you.


Practice quilt: brushing up your free motion quilting skill


However, in order to practice free motion quilting, it is best to practice on a proper quilt sandwich. A proper quilt sandwich means it consist the quilt top (maybe just a plain solid fabric), batting, and the backing. You might get away with no backing but I personally love to do the whole quilt sandwich as a practice to get me used to the real quilt project.
I remembered my first attempt to do free motion quilting. Ugh.. the rounded design becomes edgy, the edgy parts become rounded, and then…. the needles keep breaking, thread keeps snapping and all of the lists of problems go on and on.
Not only I encountered those little problems, they were also not that pretty at first – but I kept trying and ignore the ugliness and just kept going. I ended up with many practice pieces laying around that I felt like too wasteful for me to throw.


Instead of letting them fill spaces around the sewing room, I decided to make use of some of them. Turning them into little items that I can use around the house. I want you to try the same too, so I listed here some project ideas that you can try to make out of your practice quilt pieces.

Feather Quilt Practice _ Free Mini Course

Project Idea for using up your practice quilt

Here are 8 potential projects that I have collected around the web that you can make out of your practice quilt pieces. Most of them are quick and easy to make, just a little more effort to get those practice piece into something useful and much worthwhile. Mke sure to pin it so you can come back to it when you need to.
Practicing Free motion quilting? Don't know what to do with all those practice pieces? In this post I share 8 practical things to sew from those practice quilt. Jump right in and make them !


1. Hot Mat

I’d say this one is my go to for practice pieces. They tend to get dirty fast, so I would recommend you make this with the first couple of practice quilt you make. They are really useful around the kitchen! Check out this tutorial to make an easy one with your practice quilt. Or even better – make a microwavable bowl holder.

Or make a pot holder pad : I simply place pockets at the back of my quilte piece and sew the binding and I got myself one useful pot holder!

Feather Quilt Practice _ Free Mini Course

2. Coasters or mug rugs

Cut and trim those practice quilt to a couple of small square size about 4″ x 4″. Then, simply bind them and voila! You have a couple of coasters ready to use! (Extra tip: cut the corners slightly curved and forget about mitered binding -use pre-bought bias binding and make rounded corners)

Feather Quilt Practice _ Free Mini Course

3. Door handle covers

My mom loves to make these. She makes a lot of door handle cover for the fridge door out of her quilt practice pieces. Once they were too dirty to wash or use, she simply throws them away. No guilt. They were used well and have given JOY.


Another great idea is to make bookmarks out of them! Trim then to a small rectangular size about 2″ x 6″ and simply use the serger to secure the edging. Check out this link for ideas!

5. Placemats

Placemats are among those quilty projects that I always like to make but have no heart to use them! Sometimes they ended up too pretty. Example here. But my early projects did get used up well – I guess it was because I made those early ones with simple patchwork and were made to just practice my free motion quilting skills. Therefore, I ended up not feeling so bad for using them to death. 😛

6. Make-up pouches

Pouches are versatile. Make them into make-up pouches. I got a tip:  use a pretty print as a backing to your practice quilt and use them right side round when making them into pouches. In between those print, your practice quilting doesn’t show up as much and you have yourself a pretty pouch! check out this pouch and this one for inspiration.

This pouch below was something I just made up from practicing a bit of quilting skills like english paper piecing and loopy loop free motion quilting.
Little item for my dear partner to match the tote

7. Card wallet or a full wallet

Making the practice quilt into a card wallet is also a great idea. Again you can use a pretty backing and use it as the right side in making these projects. If you are not into card wallet, go for a full-size wallet for those larger pieces of your practice quilt. Get the pattern for the full size wallet here.

8. Quilt as you go quilt

If you still want to turn them into a large quilt. There is a way to do so! Simply cut and trim them to the same size (or you can be adventurous and pick different size a plan a quilt layout) and piece them together using the quilt as you go technique. Click here for the tutorial on how to join the quilt blocks together.


About A Quilt Sampler_fmq


Conclusion: Practice quilt is definitely not a waste

See how many projects you can make out of them?… so don’t ever feel like you will be wasting quilting resources (fabrics/thread/batting) when you are practicing free motion quilting! Because they will actually end up more useful as you tend to use them instead of hoarding them. At the same time – you get to practice and improve your skill.


To this day, I would say my free motion quilting skill has improved a lot. I have built the confidence with lots of practice by making MANY small projects like potholders and placemats.


Most of these early projects were used up to their end life without the guilty feeling of making them dirty. They end up so much useful rather than just being pretty !


I am sure you have been there, some things are just too pretty to be used.  They end up just hanging as decoration rather than serving their purpose.

Extra Idea: Memory keeping

I do regret one thing though – I do wish I had kept some of my early attempts at free motion quilting for memory keeping. Just to see how much I have progressed. Maybe this is something you might like to do as well. Keep a small piece of the practice piece for memory keeping in a folder or a box so you can look at it someday and really see how much you have progressed. Otherwise, take a photo of them – that will be really useful too.

Well, are you ready to do more practicing or make small projects out of these practice piece?
Let’s do it!


If you are not yet enrolled in the FREE FEATHER QUILTING MINI-COURSE, click below to enroll and join in the fun!


Till next time,




  1. Karen H

    Thank you for such wonderful ways to use my practice pieces. Can you send or post instructions for the door handle covers for the fridge? I have an idea, but would like to know how you make them please.


      I will try and have it available soon. It is basically the same as the hot mat, I bind them all around. Then I either sew a strip of velcro or sew snap buttons so that they can wrap around the handle and close.

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