• Stitch in the Ditch

  • Stitch in the ditch is a beginner-friendly technique for anyone just learning how to quilt. And when we say easy, we mean it: All you do is sew along the seam lines that join your quilt blocks — aka the ditch — so you have a clear (and usually straight) path to stitch! Bonus: stitching in the ditch adds extra stability to your quilt, it can be done before you add decorative quilting, or you can leave it as a design all its own. Hello, triple threat!

  • Pro Tip

    • Use a walking foot to help evenly feed your layers as you sew, and choose thread colors that blend with the quilt top — that way the attention is on the bold, showy prints you want to shine!

    1. 1. Prep Your Machine

      To prevent thread nests, bring the bobbin thread up to the right side of the fabric: holding on to the top thread, sew one stitch, raise the needle and pull the bobbin thread through. Set the stitch length so it's slightly longer than the length you use to piece. (Example: if you piece at a 2.5 stitch length, try starting at 3.5.)

      Pro Tip

      • There are a lot of places to stitch in the ditch on a quilt. Start on a center seam line, working your way toward the outer edge. Quilt all the vertical lines in the same direction (we like to go from the top to the bottom of the quilt), then quilt all the horizontal lines, again always traveling in the same direction.

    2. 2. Start Stitching

      Drop the needle into the batting of your basted quilt sandwich, centered with the seam you want to follow. Stitch down the entire length of the seam. If you pressed your seams to one side, be sure to stitch on the opposite side of the pressed seam allowances (that side of the seam will be higher, and the side you are stitching on is the "ditch").

      Pro Tip

      • As you move from block to block, the "ditch" side will change (one row will have seams pressed to the left; the next to the right). It's okay if your needle needs to drift slightly to follow the seam and create the flattest quilting.

    3. 3. Trim Threads

      When you've reached the end of your seam, sew onto the batting and raise the needle. Trim the thread with scissors. Now you can move on to another seam line to start your next line of stitching!

      Pro Tip

      • Remember, there are no quilting police, and seams that aren't ruler-straight or perfectly connected are no big deal. Just keep quilting in smooth movements until you've bridged any gaps. Chances are, once the quilt is finished the inconsistencies won't even be noticeable.

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    Stitch in the Ditch