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How to Use Leaders and Enders in Quilting and Sewing

Do you find yourself a little upset at your sewing machine?  Does it keep eating the fabric and points when you start sewing?  Or do you get a tangled mess of thread underneath the piece?

Quick Tip - Sewing Leaders and Enders Tutorial

Today, I’m going to show you a quick tip that will help you to sew smoothly.  It’s using leaders and enders.  Some people call them thread savers, others call them starters and stoppers. 

For years, I have been using this leader and ender tip to optimize my quilting and sewing workflow.  Whether you’re just getting started or are a quilting expert, it’s always a good idea to be looking for tips and tricks to add to your repertoire.

Our Quilting Tips and Tricks page is full of wonderful ideas to make your quilting easier and more precise.

What are fabric leaders and enders in quilting?  What is a thread saver?

Fabric leaders and enders (thread savers) are small pieces of folded scrap fabric used under the presser foot to start off sewing on and end off the sewing. 

Why the name thread saver?

Normally after sewing, you pull the thread out to remove the work from the sewing machine; leaving a long tail of thread. Using a small piece of scrap fabric at the end of sewing enables you to snip off the finished sewn piece rather than pulling out a bunch of thread.  Hence the name, Thread Saver.

Why should you use leaders and enders when sewing?

  • Eliminates thread from nesting and tangling on the underside of the seam
  • Save thread over time by eliminating long tails of thread that need to be cut off
  • Less chance of the fabric being drawn down into the needle hole of the throat plate
  • Forces you to clip your thread tails
  • Great way to use up scrap fabric
  • A time saver by preventing the needle from unthreading
  • Less trimming of thread

Now that you know the advantages of leaders and enders, learn how to use them by watching our video along with reading this step-by-step pictorial tutorial.



COMPLETE VIDEO TUTORIAL AVAILABLE! The video below is a preview with no audio, to watch the whole video tutorial, click the link How to Use Leaders and Enders in Quilting and Sewing to watch in Youtube.


Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. We make a small commission on sales through the affiliate links, at no extra cost to you. Thank you in advance for your purchase and your support! Please see our full Affiliate Statement for more information.

Quilting Leaders and Enders Showing Leaders Enders and Patchwork 2

WHAT YOU NEED to make leaders and enders:

  • Scrap Fabric

Quilting Leaders and Enders Showing Leaders Enders and Patchwork Showing both

how to use leaders and enders :

STEP 1:

Make a simple thread saver with a small piece of scrap fabric.  Grab a small piece of scrap fabric; fold it in half so it's two layers.  Insert the fabric leader under the pressure foot.

It's called the leader because it's used when you start sewing. Quilting Thread Saver Under Foot

Step 2:

Begin sewing across the fabric leader to the edge.

Once you get to the end of the leader piece, using the chain piecing technique or any sewing technique, feed the piece of fabric to be sewn under the needle without lifting the presser foot and stitch.Quilting Leaders and Enders Sewing Patchwork Continue feeding subsequent pieces under the presser foot and sew.

Step 3: 

When finished sewing the last piece, stitch onto a fabric ender. Quilting Leaders and Enders Sewing onto Ender

Step 4:

Now simply, snip the thread behind the presser foot between the ender and your work.  Don't remove the ender. Leave it under the presser foot for the next piecing or sewing section. Quilting Thread Savers and Patchwork cut apart

The ender becomes a new leader as you start the next line of pieces.  You can reuse the same leaders and enders to sew on and off until they are full of thread.  Then toss them.

I recently discovered that some quilters use the fabric leaders and enders technique to make leader and ender quilts.  

In addition, I discovered Bonnie Hunter Quilting.  People refer to Bonnie Hunter of Quiltville as the queen of leaders and enders.  She has written books and patterns (links below) using this method.  Perhaps someday I will have to try to make a quilt using this technique.

Quilting Leaders and Enders Showing Leaders Enders and Patchwork

I hope you enjoyed learning about leaders and enders.   If you're not already using them, give them a try.  I find them extremely helpful when sewing and quilting.

If you enjoyed this tip be sure to pin, bookmark and share.  We would love for you to sign up for our newsletter, that way you will be notified each time we release a new tutorial! You'll get access to all of our new FREE patterns, FREE project tutorials, tips and lots more!

Happy Quilting!
Annette

QUESTIONS?

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Supporting Products and links: Some of the links below may be affiliate links. We make a small commission on sales through the affiliate links, at no extra cost to you. Thank you in advance for your purchase and your support! Please see our full Affiliate Statement for more information.

Adventures with Leaders & Enders: Make More Quilts in Less Time!

Adventures with Leaders & Enders: Make More Quilts in Less Time! #ad

What if you could piece quilts even faster, work on more than one quilt simultaneously and save money, fabric and thread all at the same time? This book explains how. by Bonnie K. Hunter - Paperback - Published 2010 Affiliate Link to Amazon

More Adventures with Leaders and Enders

More Adventures with Leaders and Enders #ad

In this book find 12 more scrap quilts that can be pieced in between the lines of other sewing. by Bonnie K. Hunter - Kindle Book Affiliate Link to Amazon






Quick Tip - Quilting Leaders and Enders Tutorial


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