The Free Motion Quilting Project: Make Free Motion Quilting Easier with the Supreme Slider

Friday, July 22, 2011

Make Free Motion Quilting Easier with the Supreme Slider

One of the #1 questions I’m asked about quilting is “Don’t you use a longarm? HOW are you able to quilt on a home machine?”

I always answer this question the same way:

With the right tools to make it easier,
you can quilt ANY quilt on your home machine.

free motion quilting | Leah DayThink about it this way: would you consider piecing a New York Beauty block without a ¼” piecing foot? Would you cut out the pieces with an old yardstick and pair of scissors?

Yes, this may have been the way things were done once upon a time, but these days we have rotary cutters, accurate rulers, and an amazing array of specialized feet to make cutting and piecing easier.

So why not invest in tools that will make free motion quilting easier too?

Of course the hardest thing is trying to figure out if a tool will actually work for you or not. In classes, I always have many tools available to play with so everyone can try anything they like and see what works.

Online it’s trickier because you don’t have that personal experience. I know I’ve shelled out lots of money on hoops, grippers, slippery spray stuff, and other tools. Some of it worked and some of it didn’t.

free motion quilting | Leah DayThis is why I only carry just those items in the quilt shop that I’ve found really work for free motion quilting and make it easier and aren’t just gimmicky junk.

So when it comes to specifically moving the quilt around there’s one tool that I absolutely can’t live without and that is the Supreme Slider.

This is a slick Teflon sheet that goes on the surface of your machine bed. It covers your feed dogs (a nice bonus if you don’t drop them like me), and turns the surface of your machine bed into a super slick surface that your quilt can glide over easily.

When it comes to quilting on a home sewing machine the biggest thing you’re fighting is gravity and drag. Quilts are heavy and pushing and pulling them through the machine can be very difficult.

Just the idea of fighting to put a big quilt under a machine is enough to make many quilters give up and stop quilting their tops.

But quilting doesn’t have to be this hard! First off, stop using those super thick battings! Try a thinner, high quality polyester batting and see how much this will reduce the bulk of the quilt in your machine.

Then slap on a Supreme Slider and see how much easier it can be to move and position the quilt while free motion quilting. It’s a difference like night and day - without the slider the quilt wants to stick to the table, with the slider on, the quilt moves smoothly and evenly over the surface.

Of course with all new tools, it takes awhile to get used to them. My advice to everyone with a new Supreme Slider is to TAPE IT DOWN.

Use masking tape to secure each corner to the machine or table top. This way the slider will not pull up underneath and get stitched to the back of your quilt.

Trust me, it is VERY easy to stitch through this thing. If you’re not used to using it you may not recognize the slight resistance that means the slider has shifted. It’s always better to be safe than sorry and just tape it down until you get used to how the slider feels underneath your quilt.

So that’s it for this Feature Friday! If you’re interested in learning more about the Supreme Slider you can check it out right here.

We also have an Ultimate Quilting Kit that combines the Supreme Slider with Machingers Quilting Gloves and Little Genie Magic Bobbin Washers - really the three best tools for free motion quilting.

Let’s go quilt,

Leah Day


  1. I always thought the feed dogs would damage the slider if you didn't drop them.

  2. Char - The feed dogs will chew on the slider a bit right in the center, but you're honestly going to always get a little wear in this area no matter whether they are up or down.

    When I drop my feed dogs, I turn the stitch length to 0 so they don't move quite as much. I've been using the sliders now since 2008 and never had to replace one for the feed dogs messing it up.

    I have had to replace one for stitching through it though, so make sure to tape it down until you get used to using it!

    Let's go quilt!


  3. I am so glad to read about taping the slider down because I have sewn through mine! I'll give it another go now!

  4. i too love the Supreme Slider and wore out my first one, actually sliced it in half when i removed it without a foot on machine. i use my wonderful Bernina 830 record, the mature model and have both sizes now.
    i think you can have a custom one made . Just be aware of where your needle is when you go to remove it from machine. i have to agree, its not the machine but the driver in quilting free motion on what was designed to be a home machine.i just had thi conversation last weekend !

  5. Leah I've been wondering about the magic bobbins - do you use them in the Horizon?

  6. I love my slider but have also quilted stippling right through it. I've learned that wiping the back of it with a damp cloth before putting it in place will hold it down securely. I haven't had a problem since!

  7. Lynne - Yes! I use the bobbin washers in the Horizon, the Janome HD-1000, Bernina Activa 210, and the Juki TL98QE.

    I leave them in all the time because they also help reduce thread breaks and finicky bobbin issues for piecing, general sewing, and applique.

    Chris - I take mine all the way into the bathroom and run the slider under water to get all the lint off about once a month. It does stick so much better after a good wash!

    Let's go quilt,


  8. I didn't have one of these, so I cut and taped a trash bag into place. It was slippery enough to let my top slide easily.

    I'll have to look for one of these next time I am out shopping. It would take less time to set up.

  9. Thanks Leah, I'll try leaving the dogs up next time.

  10. Thanks for answering my question, Leah. I thought it would be almost inmpossible to let the design continue when using QAYG. So I'm letting go of that piece of perfectionism, thanks!


Help us create more quilting tutorials! Check out our quilt shop at