One of the most common questions I am asked is how to use rulers when quilting on a sit-down longarm or a domestic sewing machine. It’s asked so often that I thought a video tutorial might be helpful. Below is a link to the video. Here’s hoping that you find it helpful for your next project!

Why use rulers?

Free-motion quilting with rulers allows you to quickly switch between straight lines and free-motion quilting designs. There is also an incredible amount of differently shaped ruler templates available. Knowing how to use them will give you so many more options when it comes to machine quilting your quilts.

Tips for Machine Quilting with Rulers

If you can’t watch the video, or don’t have time to hear my not-so-funny jokes, here are a few of the tips:

  • Make sure that your machine has a foot that is made for quilting with rulers. It should be high enough that your ruler won’t slip over it. Contact your machine manufacturer to see what they suggest.
  • Use the correct type of ruler. You will want to use a ruler that is at least 1/4″ thick. Anything thinner, such as a rotary cutter ruler, might slide under the foot. For this tutorial, I used the versatool ruler by Handi Quilter, but any 1/4″ thick ruler will work.
  • When using the ruler, place it against the foot of the machine. Apply pressure downward and use the ruler, as well as your other hand, to move the quilt in a fluid motion.
  • You can use rulers for stitching in the ditch, geometric motifs or to combine straight lines with free-motion quilting.
  • Most importantly, remember that straight-ish is straight enough!
  • Want more ruler videos? Here’s a video for using rulers on a longarm as well as 9 Tips for Using Rulers.


If you have any questions, please feel free to ask them in the comment section. I am more than happy to help!!

Happy Quilting!