“Practice makes perfect”
Free motion quilting is one of those skills that really relies on practice.
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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:
- 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.
3. My trusty sticky Glove. Any brand works for me, but I personally love the one that is breathable cotton like this one.
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
Project Idea for using up your practice quilt
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!
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)
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!
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.
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.
Conclusion: Practice quilt is definitely not a waste
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.