Quilting is one of those nostalgic activities that can be both meditative and rewarding. They’re a work of beauty and design that can be passed along through generations. Some people say that quilts are too big of a project to manage. And indeed, they can sometimes cause headaches.

However, it really isn’t impossible to tackle with a little patience, persistence and the right tools. One way to simplify the process is to use a quilters frame. A quilting frame keeps your quilt taut greatly reducing mishaps with fabric alignment. It also allows the flexibility to work on your quilt without a lot of setup and breakdown. If you have space, you can literally leave the quilt in place with the frame until the next session.

So, are you interested in how to use a quilting frame yet? If you answered yes, let’s go!

  • A pre-made quilting frame of your choice or your own custom-built quilting frame.
  • Quilting pins

First, here’s a quick description of what’s available in regard to frames. There are quilting frames for machine and hand quilting. They can be either wood or plastic. Which material you choose is a matter of taste. The size range will depend on the scope of your project. Quilting frames can be large enough for several quilters to work at once. Or they can be small enough to fit in your lap. Also, as I previously mentioned, with a few supplies from the hardware store you can easily construct your own frame at home. Click here for a video of how to build your own.

Using a wooden lap frame: (Click here to see a diagram of the Original Gracie Lap Hoop)

Step 1
Place the inner loop of the frame on a flat surface.

Step 2
Place the layers of your fabric over the inner frame.

Step 3
Press the outer frame down over the fabric and inner frame.

Step 4
Adjust the fabric by pulling down snugly around the sides

Step 5
Tighten screws on the outer ring.

Step 6
You’re ready to stitch.

Step 1
Spread out your leader material. This strip of fabric will be attached to the frame. You can use a table or the floor.

Step 2
Find the center of the leader material and mark it.

Step 3
Find the center of your backing by folding it in half and creasing it.

Step 4
Pin your backing to the leader material aligning the center with the mark on your leader material.

Step 5
Pin all the way across the top starting from the center outwards.

Step 6
Find the center of your batting and align with the center of your backing.

Step 7
Attach all the way across the top from the center outwards.

Step 8
Now find the center of your top fabric by folding it in half and creasing it.

Step 9
Align the center with the batting and backing.

Step 10
Attach all the way across pinning from the center outwards.

Step 11
Roll the layers up towards the top and place the fabric across the top bar.

Step 12
Secure it with straps or caps (depends on your frame model) and drape the remainder of the quilt across the bottom bar.

Step 13
Secure the quilt on the bottom bar with caps, then tilt caps outward to tighten.

Step 14
Stitch the secured section of your quilt.

Step 15
Loosen the straps and caps to roll the top bar and the quilt to the next stitching area.

Step 16
Secure the quilt and stitch the secured area. Repeat these steps until complete.

Step 1
Lay your frame on a flat surface

Step 2
Arrange the layers of your quilt over the frame.

Step 3
Snap the plastic caps straight down over each side.

Step 4
Twist each cap on each side outward to tighten the fabric on the frame.

Step 5
Start Stitching.

With a little patience, practice and determination, learning how to use a hand quilting frame can greatly improve your quilt-making process. It may seem like a lot of work at first, but it is really an essential tool for every quilter’s toolkit. So, if you haven’t quilted with a quilting frame yet, give it a try and let us know how it turns out. If you liked this tutorial please share or leave us a comment below.

Stephanie Green

Stephanie Green

I fell in love with sewing eight years ago after stumbling on Etsy and being fascinated by seeing all the creative projects hobbyists were able to make in their spare time. I think part of my interest is that sewing seemed like such an old-fashioned activity, and yet so many young people enjoyed it.

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