Stitch in the ditch is a method where quilting stitches are sewn directly in the seam or closely beside it, approximately 1/8 to 1/4 inches away from the pieced seam.
Most often (but not always) these stitches are made in a straight line, making the quilting easier by simply following the pieced stitching.
Although it is possible to do this stitch by hand, this tutorial teaches how to do this by machine quilting stitch in the ditch.
What is the best presser foot to use for stitch in the ditch quilting?
In this how to stitch in the ditch tutorial, a walking foot is used. The walking foot is the presser foot used most often in quilting.
The walking foot, also known as the even feed or dual feed foot, is a unique presser foot that has its own set of feed dogs. These feed dogs prevent the multiple layers of fabric from slipping when they are quilted.
It is a "must have" presser foot when quilting projects.
Tips for Stitching in the ditch
Stitch on the low side: Seams have a high side in the direction that the fabric seams have pressed, as well as a low side. The low side is where the fabric has been pressed away from the seam.
Stitch in the ditch quilting is best done on the low side of the seam because there is less fabric to stitch through, resulting in more even stitches that nest quite well for stitching in the ditch.
Hide the stitches: Choose the thread color for stitching in the ditch that matches the fabric. An invisible thread can also be used. This way, the stitches will blend in nicely with the quilt fabric and won't stand out.
Although it is impossible to make all of the stitches right in the seam, once the quilt is washed and dried, the slight puffiness and wrinkles will hide this fact and clearly define the quilt's texture even more.
Use a stitch length: Many people like to play and practice by changing the stitch length setting on their machine. This is fine, as not everyone likes the same stitch length for quilting.
However, the most used stitch length for using the walking foot to machine quilt stitch in the ditch is one that is 6-10 stitches per inch.
Since the line is a straight stitch, there is no need to change the width of the stitching. Simply keep it at 0 or whatever the default is on the machine being used.
Learn more about machine quilting in the ditch by watching our video or keep reading this post.
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WHAT YOU NEED to stitch in the ditch
- Quilt sandwich
- Walking foot
- Threaded machine
INSTRUCTIONS for quilting in the ditch
step 1: attach the walking foot to the machine
As was stated before, the walking foot is best used for quilting. This is the walking foot for the machine used in the stitch in the ditch tutorial.
STEP 2: bring the bobbin thread to the top of the fabric
When stitching in the ditch, start by making one stitch. It is important to pull the bobbin thread to the top to prevent nesting, which is when the bobbin thread tangles into knots at the back of the fabric.
Bring the bobbin thread to the top by lifting the presser foot, then gently lifting up on the top thread to raise a loop of the bobbin thread. Using the loop, pull the bobbin thread to the top of the fabric.
step 3: begin stitching in the ditch
Begin the stitching in the ditch method of quilting by making a couple of back tacking stitches. This will hold the stitching in place.
Now stitch along either in the seam or next to it, 1/8 to 1/4 inches from the seam.
Do not keep your eyes fixed on the needle. Instead, watch the center point or marking on the presser foot to line up the machine stitching in the ditch.
Just guide the material along; do not push the fabric and let the feed dogs on the walking foot feed the fabric through.
step 4: Pivot onto the next seam
Having a "needle-down" option on the sewing machine is very useful when machine stitching in the ditch. When the quilting gets to the end of the pieced fabric, the fabric will need to pivot.
If there is no needle-down option on the machine, use the dial on the side of the machine to manually put the needle in the down position.
Lift up the presser foot and turn the project to move to the next area to continue quilting stitch in the ditch. Once the presser foot is lined up with the next seam, lower the presser foot and continue to quilt.
Quilting in the ditch is quite simple to do. Keep quilting until the stitching has come to the end of the project and all seams have been quilted. Be sure to do two or three back tacking stitches to secure the thread.
If you have any questions about this project, contact us through the YouTube Video
comments or our Contact Us page. We respond to questions in e-mails and YouTube comments regularly.
Some other quilting tutorials and links
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