Sunday, April 30, 2017

DIY Free Motion Quilting Practice Tool

I've been looking for some kind of practice tool or device to improve my free motion skills, but couldn't find what I was looking for.  For sit-down quilting, the kind you do on a home sewing machine or a sit-down longarm, it is the fabric that moves and the needle is stationary.  As opposed to stand-up quilting on a long-arm, the fabric is stationary on the quit frame, and you move the needle over the fabric to do the quilting.  Sit-down quilting is a different type of skill to master.

My DIY free motion quilting tool.

Although, I could not find something for sale retail, I did find a home-made device on a blog post at Mary's Quilting Notes.  Mary even has a short video for her device on YouTube.

This is exactly the type of device I was looking for.  Something to hold a pen steady while you move a practice sheet underneath.  I went straight to the plumbing/pipes aisle at Home Depot and picked up the pieces I needed.  I didn't want to do any measuring, cutting or filing, so mine is just slightly different than Mary's - but even easier too. πŸ˜‰   Can't remember exact cost, but it isn't much.  Think the total was less than $10.  No special tools required except your sewing machine's screwdriver to open and close the clamps.

Parts for the quilting tool.
Pen-holder parts

SUPPLIES NEEDED:
  • 1 inch x 2 ft  PVC pipe
  • (2) 1 inch 90-degree PVC elbow
  • (2) 1 inch PVC Tee
  • (2) 3/4 inch PVC coupling
  • hose clamp to fit a 1" PVC pipe
  • hose clamp to fit hose adapter
  • 3/4" hose connector (blue piece in photo above)
  • a 3-ring binder with clear plastic insertable-cover (I used an old one I had on-hand)
  • dry-erase marker
  • rubberbands

DIRECTIONS:
The parts fit together easily.  No cutting or filing necessary.  Only tool needed is a flat head screwdriver for the hose clamps.
  • Slide the larger hose clamp onto the 1" PVC pipe.
  • Open the smaller hose clamp and loop it through the larger hose clamp. 
    Center clamp on the pipe.

  • Insert the hose connector into the small hose clamp.  Use a screwdriver to tighten clamps over the center of the pipe.
    Pen-holder assembly.

  • Fit each 3/4" coupling into the top of a Tee
    Bottom pieces of device

  • Fit this piece into each elbow piece.  May have to push a little bit for a snug fit.
  • Fit these end pieces into the 2-foot PVC pipe.
    The end of the device.

  • Cut the spine from the binder.  You should have two flat clear plastic-covered panels to use as work boards.  
  • Place a work board under the quilting tool.
  • Wrap a rubber band (or two) around the end of a dry-erase marker and drop it into the pen holder.
    Rubber band-covered marker.

  • Drop the marker into the pen holder and push down until it reaches the work board.

     


  • You're done!

Move the board to Practice Away!  The dry-erase marker easily wipes off with a tissue to practice again.


Put a copy of your favorite quilting design under the clear cover and practice tracing as well.
Tracing a quilting practice sheet.  Just wipe off the cover and do it again.


A short little demonstration video:


I am sharing this post on FreeMotion Linky Tuesday,  Fiber Tuesday, Kathy's Quilts Slow Sunday Stitching, Show Off Saturday, and What a Hoot Quilts!.

Happy Stitching!

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10 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Thanks, Loris. Easy to make and great to practice with. πŸ˜ƒ

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  2. That is a great idea. I have also had students practice with a large sheet of paper and an unthreaded sewing machine... might wreck the needle, but at least it allows the practice of combining movement with sewing speed.

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    Replies
    1. My machine keeps stopping saying no thread. Is there a trick?

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  3. Very cool! I don't have a freemotion machine - but I find this DYI very neat, regardless!

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  4. Great Idea!! FYI I use white boards allot. Rubbing Alcohol works great to clean them up if your dry erase board looses it luster. Brings it back to new again! I need to head to the hardware store thanks for the idea!

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  5. What a great idea! You could market this!!!

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  6. OK, now *that* is a great contraption. I really could have used that when I started out with FMQ!

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  7. Great idea Sylvia and thanks for sharing!

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