In this post, I want to share a few things I’ve learned about machine quilting rulers on home machines from my experience. I have a video tutorial to accompany this post, so make sure you watch that too.
Currently, I am free motion quilting my Aviatrix Medallion Quilt, and I am happy to say, it was so much fun adding ruler work to this quilt. 
I have also recently finished quilting All The Trimmings quilt using the clamshell ruler. You’ll see this in action in the video of this post. 
While I am at it, I thought it’ll be great to document the things I’ve learned and share with those of you who’d like to uplevel their free motion quilting skills. 

Is quilting with the ruler for beginners?

First and foremost, I would say that this technique is definitely for a more advanced free motion quilter as it does need that stability to get it right. It may seem like the template will help you get a better consistent results, but if you don’t yet have the ability to have good control on moving the quilt, adding a ruler to the picture is just making it harder. 
If you are new to free motion quilting, don’t worry, you’ll get there soon too. 
You can join the free e-course to get started with free motion quilting
or join over 700+ students in Free Motion Quilting Bootcamp to confidently free motion quilt on your very own sewing machine.
Now, while it is not for beginners, you still can continue reading and watching the tutorial. I hope to inspire you to continue practicing your free motion quilting skills and soon you’ll be able to start adding in the variation with ruler work as well. 
machine quilting rulers on home machine
There are affiliate links within this from which I may make commission from. Find the full diclosure here

Do you need a quilting ruler foot to use a ruler with a domestic machine?

The answer to that is No. But.. you’ll have to get the right ruler and there are some disadvantages to using the open toe foot or the hopping foot. 

You can get the foot from the link below:

Firstly, the shape of the regular open toe or hopping foot is not equal on all sides making it hard to use rulers on some of the sides. And some of the feet are just too thin and may not have an even side to them so that the ruler can be pushed against them. 

A specific quilting ruler foot has the advantage of being clear of all its sides making it easy for you to align the ruler against the foot. 

Standard Free Motion Quilting Ruler – the template can’t be against the ruler edge at certain area
Ruler quilting foot. Easy to get the edge of the ruler against the foot


Secondly, you’ll need to make sure the ruler you’re working with is thick enough that it does not slide under the hopping foot.

The machine quilting ruler foot, on the other hand, does not hop, but hovers on top instead, hence allowing you to have the consistent height against the side of the ruler. 

The downside of the quilting ruler foot is that it is a little bulky, making it hard to really see what you’re stitching. 

machine quilting rulers on home machine
thin template ruler may slide under the hopping foot – not recommended

Machine Quilting Rulers for domestic machine

There are many rulers and templates for machine quilting, while most of them are for long arm machines but they are actually adaptable to the sit-down machine as well.

All you need to check is that they’re thick enough that they don’t slide under the quilting foot. 

Especially if you are using the hopping foot. 

You can watch the video to see what I mean. It can be really dangerous if your ruler gets under the foot and the needle hits the ruler. 

Links to quilting rulers

I am loving the Accent in design Quilting Ruler as it has a built-in handle, but I think they’re no longer making these as they’re not active anymore. Hence, I am sorry but I can’t link to those as I couldn’t find any active ones that you can get from. 

However, don’t worry, I find that most of the thick quilting rulers work fine too. And if you want the handle, I recommend putting on a Pop Socket on the ruler and you’ll have a good place to grip on.

Here are some of the machine quilting rulers I recommend for home machines:

I don’t recommend buying the cheap set that is more likely made from non-quilters anyway – I bought them and don’t recommend them. They are thin and very flimsy. You can see the differences in the video below. 

Additional items that will help make the machine quilting with rulers on a home machine easier:

Video on how to quilt with rulers on a home machine:



Tips for using a quilting ruler on a home domestic machine

    • Make friction as little as possible between the quilt and the machine -therefore use the Teflon Supreme Slider.
    • Push the edge of the ruler against the side of the foot. If the foot is away from the ruler, you are not using a ruler. I know this is obvious but, if we don’t put the focus, we think we are using the ruler, but actually did not. 
    • Once the ruler is in place against the side of the foot, press on the ruler so that it is tight to the quilt.
    • Use the ruler as your palm, press your palm against the ruler and move the quilt like that, use the other hand to help pull the quilt around and to keep the quilt flat.
    • Use the marks on the ruler to help guide your design
    • Remember to get your shoulder to relax and breathe!
    • Don’t over criticize, and always remember, practice makes better.

Well, I hope you’ll get inspired to try machine quilting with rulers! I really have to get back to quilting this king-size giant quilt. 


If you want tips on how to quilt a large quilt on a domestic machine, check out the post below:



Write A Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.