The Free Motion Quilting Project: Masking Tape Marking a Quilt from Sandra Clemons

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Masking Tape Marking a Quilt from Sandra Clemons

Guess what I got last week? A fun little quilt to play with and machine quilt from Sandra Clemons! Sandra is a fabric designer, author, and fantastic quilter from Denver and this month she's hosting a photo hop to celebrate her new fabric collection Front Yard. Here's a few of her fun prints in this little quilt:

Now I understand Sandra is hosting a giveaway for a fat quarter bundle during this photo hop! Click Here to check out the details from Sandra and learn how you can enter to win.

So this is the beginning of a new Quilting Collaboration series we're going to have each month. I'll get a quilt block from an awesome quilter and have to figure out how to quilt it and teach you some cool techniques along the way. For this quilt, I decided to share a new-to-me form of quilt marking using masking tape.

I know, I know, masking tape quilt marking has probably been around since masking tape was invented, but I honestly never used this technique until quite recently. I wanted to add more walking foot quilting to the Rainbow Log Cabin quilt, but I couldn't figure out a way to mark it because the fabrics were so busy.

Then Dad suggested tape and I almost rejected that idea. I'm not sure why, but marking with tape has never appealed to me. Maybe I was worried about tape residue...or just thinking that it wouldn't be easy to follow. I'm not really sure why I never tried it before so I pulled some out and Presto! The quilt was marked and Dad quilted it super easily.

So that's what I decided to do with Sandra's quilt - straight line quilting marked over the surface with 1 inch wide masking tape. Watch the video to learn how to mark with masking tape and quilt with walking foot style quilting:

Here's Sandra's finished Front Yard Star quilt:

What do you think of this marking method? Did you like the way I quilted Sandra's quilt?

Yes, straight lines are simple, but sometimes simple is all you need. I felt a bit of pressure for this collaboration to quilt something amazing and different, but then realized that wasn't really the point. Sandra's beautiful fabrics are the star of the show and the straight lines allow them the space to stand out and show off. 

With quilting, it's always good to take a step back and ask yourself what the quilt really needs. In this case the quilt needed to be secured so it could be used and enjoyed with a simple design that added basic texture. Straight line quilting just fit the bill.

Now I did a bit of research after making the video on masking tape. I did find 1/2 inch painters tape and 1/4 inch painters tape on Amazon (affiliate links) and bought several rolls so I know I'll be sharing many more tutorials featuring this taping method.

I would advise taping and immediately quilting your quilt. I wouldn't leave the tape on for long periods of time because it could eventually leave a sticky residue on the fabric surface.

This is one of those funny things in quilting - you might have seen a technique or understood how it works, but until you try it yourself, you won't know how it feels to do it. Had I known masking tape was this quick and easy to use, I probably would have been marking with it years ago!

Now for more fun - would you like to learn more about fabric design? Sandra will be on the next episode of the Hello My Quilting Friends podcast and shares all about her fabric design experience! Be looking for this new episode coming out tomorrow!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day


  1. Thanks Leah !! This was very helpful. Great combination between the tape and walking foot. Great tutorial too :)

  2. I used this technique last week when I had to quickly quilt a foundation pieced star block for a holiday small quilt exchange for my guild. It really works and is simple to do! If you are quilting a symmetrical motif such as a square I recommend measuring the tape edge from multiple points if the block edge to help make sure the lines are straight. Trust me, I learned this one the hard way!


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