Chain Stitch Variations-A Free Motion Quilt Tutorial

Chain Stitch Free Motion QuiltingGood Morning, Quilters!

Welcome back to Tuesday and of course, The Tutorials!  Just a quick reminder-The Tutorial Page is updated above-click the Red Apple in the sidebar or “Tutorials” under “Quilts” in the top menu and you will be taken to a veritable feast of quilt motifs.  There is something for everyone–beginner/advanced, Domestic machine /Long Arm Quilter, Modern/Traditional, Boy/Girl…just keep scrolling!

Today we are working on a variation of The Chain Stitch from last week.  It’s my NEW FAVORITE!

I know I say that every week…My husband says I suffer from the “Recency Principle”.  I hope it’s that and not some sort of memory problem…

So where were we??

Oh yeah, in the computer room writing a tutorial…

VARIATIONS OF THE CHAIN STITCHChain Stitch Free Motion QuiltingBegin by drawing two parallel lines.  (If you are stitching a border with seam lines, no need to draw the lines.)

In the sample below, the lines are one inch apart.

Begin stitching in between the two rails.

Stitch a leaf or a flame shape, leaving the bottom open slightly.

Chain Stitch Free Motion QuiltingEcho stitch the leaf.  (NOTE-you may echo stitch either inside or outside of the original shape.  I used both methods, sometimes to correct for an over-large or over-small initial shape.)

Chain Stitch Free Motion Quilting

Stitching ON the previous line of stitching, stitch to the top of the first leaf, stopping a few stitches before the tip.

NOTE-In the photo below, the stitching is offset slightly.  This is for demonstration purposes only.Chain Stitch Free Motion QuiltingBegin the next shape.

It could be another leaf–this would look very “leafy” if stitched on green fabric-giving it more context as a leaf.

Or add the circle from the Chain Stitch tutorial-the combination is fabulous!Chain Stitch Free Motion QuiltingTHE CHALLENGE

Doodle this motif and try your own shape…

Then doodle a second and third pass up and down the sides of the motif adding a new element…What do YOU come up with?Chain Stitch Free Motion Quilting

Chain Stitch Free Motion QuiltingI haven’t decided how I’ll fill the rows between the Chains…

Whatever it is, I’m sure it will be my NEW FAVORITE!

Happy Stitching!


PS This tutorial was stitched on my domestic sewing machine, a BERNINA 770 QE with a #24 darning foot–the greatest visibility–it is open and offset!  I used Sulky 40 wt Rayon in white for the top and Aurifil 50 wt Cotton in the bobbin on Robert Kaufman Kona Fabric and Warm and Natural batting.  And guess what??? NO GLOVES FOR ME–I’m FREE! 

PPS…All tutorials, images and information are the property of Lori Kennedy at The Inbox Jaunt and are intended for personal use only.  Feel free to re-blog, share or Pin with attribution to The Inbox Jaunt.  For all other purposes, please contact me at  Thanks!


10 thoughts on “Chain Stitch Variations-A Free Motion Quilt Tutorial

  1. Love this chain. I have to ask you, how did you control the fabric with no gloves, didn’t it make moving the sandwich difficult? Thanks for this chain and lots of hugs to you today. I am happy, happy, happy today, no rain.

  2. Really like it… We do have rain so I can stay in and quilt!!! no gardening today! thanks Lori for your inspiration!

  3. Lori, I assume your new Bernina has a stitch regulator. Are you now using it? Your ps always used to state that you didn’t use a stitch regulator. Do you find it makes a big difference?

    • No. I’m not using the regulator. Once you’ve learned to FMQ without a BSR you never go back. I think of the regulator as training wheels.

  4. I am far behind on trying/practicing all your examples Lori but now that I am “freed up” & my time is my own I will be able to practice, practice, practice. Again, thank you ever so much Lori for your generous spirit in sharing so freely.

  5. Pingback: Red, White and Blue | The Inbox Jaunt

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