Free Motion Quilting – Embellished Towels

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Working on your Fee-Motion Quilting skills?  This Free Motion Quilted Hand Towel Tutorial Is just what you need to help improve your quilting skills!

free motion quilting

Ever since I started dabbling in quilting, free motion quilting has been on my list of things to learn.

Over the holidays, I ordered a generic quilting/darning foot to fit my machine.  I figured I should start with a small project, and thought a cute and girly set of hand towels for my daughter’s bathroom would be perfect.  (I also used this technique on her tooth fairy pillow as well.)

quilted towels

I grabbed a set of 4 towels on my last trip to Wal-mart and while I was there, found this cute little fat quarter set of coordinating pink and brown fabrics.

pink fat quarter set

Adding the fabric to the towels was super easy, you’ll love the results!

embellished towels

Free Motion Quilted Towel Tutorial:

Cut a piece of fabric about an inch taller and wider than your towel.

Fold the edges of the 2 long sides and one short side over 1/4 inch and iron them flat.

Pin the fabric in place, lining up the one ironed short side with the side of the towel and fold the other side in/under to line up with the other side of the towel.

Then, sew along the edge of the fabric about 1/8 inch form the edge, all the way around the towel.

If you want to try a little quilting yourself, make sure you are using quilting needles (they are very sharp), otherwise you may have problems with your bobbin thread getting tangled up and not looking pretty.

Here is a shot of the quilting foot.  The presser foot is all the way in the down position, notice how high up it sits?  This makes it much easier to move the fabric around.  (Make sure you lower the feed dogs too.)

I am not very artistic, so my loops and swirls are pretty sad looking, but when you use a thread that blends better you can’t even tell…

It’s hard to see in these pictures, but I quilted different patterns on each towel.  (Actually, I left the photo below fairly large.  To see the details better, right click and open the picture in a new window an you can see it up close.  This function only works when you are reading on my blog page- not in a reader or the email version.)

I traced the floral design on the floral fabric.

embellished handtowels

I love the free motion quilting for small projects like this, but I’m not 100% sure I would do it on a full or queen size quilt.  It seems like it might take longer or be more difficult than straight line quilting.

What do you think?  Have you free motion quilted a large quilt on a regular sewing machine?  I would love to hear how it went for you or just get more advice…

Looking for more easy Quilt projects?  Check these out too!

Free Zig Zag Quilt Pattern

Quilted Camera Case

Simple Fat Quarter Quilt

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  1. These look super! I love free-motion quilting, but the arm on my machine is so short I can't do anything bigger than a crib sized quilt. My son needs new towels in his bathroom, this was just the inspiration I needed 🙂

  2. Super cute idea, and so easy with the availability of so many fun & colorful fat quarters.

  3. havingfunatchelleshouse says:

    Those are very cute little towels. They would make a great little gift!

    Thanks for sharing at Sharing Saturday!

  4. Cathy @ My 1929 Charmer says:

    I've always wanted to free quilt, but for some reason feel a little intimated by it. Maybe now not so much1 Your towels are so pretty, and love the fat quarter fabric. Thanks again for showing us how!

  5. Jamie -Better With Age says:

    Wow, good job! Thanks for sharing. I'm a new follower 😉
    Jamie~ Better With Age
    PS: Love your name 😉

  6. They look so pretty. Thanks for the lesson/tutorial. I had never seen all the needles and presser foot that is used. Very neat.

  7. Daree Johnson says:

    I love this idea! It is the first piece of inspiration I have seen for my bathroom in a long time!!! Thank you for posting this 🙂

  8. Kerry @ Made For Real says:

    Too cute – I love it!

  9. Betsy @ Anna Nimmity says:


  10. Have only attempted a couple of very small projects for free motion quilting and I'm always thinking I will keep trying. This is a great idea and they look super cute.

  11. sooo cute! i wanna try! I gotta get me a quilting foot AND needles. I didnt know there was a special needle for quilting!

  12. Cute idea! I'm sure your daughter loves them 🙂

  13. Elise@growcreative says:

    Those are beautiful!

  14. Danni Baird @ Silo Hill Farm says:

    Those are so very pretty and possibly even a novice like me can make some pretty towels! Thank you for sharing this!

  15. Sunae Reilly says:

    I am so nervous to try quilting, but this looks like a great beginner's project! I might have to invest in a quilting foot for my sewing machine 🙂

    1. Grandma Sue says:

      If others can do it so can you. Remember when making swirls, to leave enough room to come back OUT again. We had an expert come to our club, and she says, "practice on a quilt sandwich (fabric, batt, fabric) for 15 minutes a day to get the hang of it. I think we all have a fat quarter lying around we really don't like much. Or just use muslin. If you use contrasting thread you can really see where you may have goofed. But that's ok, you're only practicing.

  16. Very nice Jamie! I love the fabric and your quilting came out wonderfully!

    There are many great tools that you can use to FMQ on your domestic machine. I recommend getting a pair of Machingers Gloves. You can get them for under $10 and they help so much when you are quilting larger items on your Domestic. Check out my blog for titles with FMQ and see some things that I've learned to do – and for two very talented ladies who FMQ on their Domestic check out Joanne Thread Heads' blog and Leah Days' blog. These ladies inspired me to quilt on my own machine — just as you inspire me to make wonderfully beautiful things for my grand daughters! Thank you and best of luck – email if I can help further!

  17. Amye Gumbinner says:

    These are really great!!! You should sell them on Etsy. Very creative!

  18. How cool! My SIL just did this on a quilt for Christmas, and each time I see it, I'm blown away. I would need a LOT more practice before I could do something like free quilting. Good job! Does your daughter like them?

  19. This is the thing I want to learn this year too. I just did my first thing earlier this week (a kindle cover)…starting small, but hoping to do a whole quilt soon.