Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Wednesday Sewing - Thread Sketching

 Off and on over the last couple of years, I've tried to get the knack of "thread sketching" - using your sewing machine to draw on fabric.  It's just never looked like I wanted it to.  I had a break through!  It was the thread size - anything I'd read said to use thicker thread, so I went up from 40 to 30.  The lower the number on thread, the thicker it is.  So I'm working on an assignment for the fibers class I'm taking this semester and really, really wanted to do some thread sketching on it.  I went to my local quilting shop and found Sulky 12 weight thread - wow is it thick and wow does it ever look just like I always wanted my thread sketching to look!!

I'm in the practicing stage and strongly suggest lots of practice if this is something you've been wanting to learn how to do.

Make a rough sketch of something simple on a doubled over piece of scrap cloth - thread sketching is much easier to do on a doubled piece of fabric or a quilt sandwich.  I used my favorite coffee cup.

Put on your darning or free motion quilting foot and drop the feed dogs.  This past post has more information on free motion quilting and how to get set up for it.  Use a size 14 or 16 quilting needle.

Begin sewing!  I have found it's easiest if you put your speed a little faster than you may be used to free motion quilting.  Go over each line several times to give it that "sketched" look.

I'll show you what I've been working on when I get it done.

Happy Creating!  Deborah


  1. Aha, and a lightbulb goes off... I've been struggling with free motion embroidery - getting a mass of tangled thread on the back from the bobbin, now I'm wondering if a thicker thread will cure that...

  2. I was getting little blobs of thread on the back with the thinner thread, so a bigger thread may help you too. I also found I have to really play around with the tension on a scrap "quilt sandwich." Plus, it just looked so ... weak is the best word I can come up with. Like a tentative drawing - not bold and confident!

  3. I really like this! Is there a way I can rec'v your weekly blog via email? I do not see where I can sign up.
    My email is

  4. Thank you! I thought I had this option enabled, but it wasn't. You should be able to add an email subscription now - the box is on the left side down by Followers.