How to Quilt with Rulers on a Real Quilt – easy ideas for 2 rulers! (video too)


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Learn easy techniques for free motion quilting with rulers on a real quilt! So many of you have me for asked for more information about quilting with rulers, so when I sat down to quilt my Jumping Jax Rainbow quilt, I set up my camera to show you how I did it.

The video tutorial that I made should start playing on this page automatically. If it doesn’t, you can see it on my YouTube channel too.


Let me tell you, using rulers in my free motion quilting has made all the difference! I used to put off finishing my quilt tops because I felt like my crummy quilting would ruin all the hard work that I put in to sewing them.

But now that I’ve gotten the hang of using rulers, I’m looking for the time to finish all those quilt tops I set aside!


Here are the steps for basic rulerwork quilting:

  • Plan the quilting that you want on your top before you get started. I used the same rulers that I quilted with and a fabric marker to draw sample motifs on a few blocks until I decided exactly what to quilt.

  • Sandwich and baste your quilt top together with the batting and backing. There are many tutorials out there. I prefer to use quilt basting spray, and then I iron the quilt after basting it together – nothing moves!

  • After getting warmed up on a smaller ‘practice quilt sandwich,’ start your rulerwork quilting near the center of your quilt, and work outward.

  • Experts suggest filling in your quilt with free motion designs in between the ruler motifs. I don’t do that (yet) – but it would look beautiful!

In the photo above I’m using the Westalee 12’’ Arc Template that came in my Starter Kit to help me echo quilt around a flower motif.

I used the same ruler to help me make square spirals in the middle of all the stars on this quilt.


Above you see me using the Circles on Quilts Spinning Wheels #36 template to make the flower motif that I later echoed around. It was so easy! (I got it in this template kit)


These were the only two rulers that I used and the only two motifs on my quilt. It wasn’t hard, but starting to quilt with rulers can take some getting used to.

This quilt top is called Jumping Jax – read more about it here.

If rainbows make you happy too, check out these other inspiring rainbow projects:

Happy quiltmaking,

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Disclosure: some of my posts contain affiliate links. If you purchase something through one of those links I may receive a small commission, so thank you for supporting SewCanShe when you shop! All of the opinions are my own and I only suggest products that I actually use. 🙂

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  1. Yes I’d love to learn more especially how you transition from one finished motif to the next. The other challenge for me is squeezing all that fabric under the needle! Very tight as I’m using a Phaff Ambition 610 and there’s not a lot of space. Enjoyed this tutorial!

  2. Great video. I would love to see more posts regarding using rulers for quilting. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Caryl Huffman says:

    Yes please do more quilting with Westalee Rulers! I have the starter set and am hesitant to use them.

  4. Great ruler quilting video! Perfect level of detail and confidence boosting demo! I would love to see more…thx so much!

  5. What foot are you using on your machine?

    1. It is a ruler foot – a slightly taller free motion quilting foot that enables you to move the ruler all the way around. For Bernina, it is foot #72. There are generic feet on the Sew Steady website if your particular sewing machine doesn’t already have a specific ruler foot.

  6. Kathy McCorkle says:

    I would very much like to see more posts about quilting with rulers. I am very new to machine quilting and have not tried quilting with rulers.

    Thanks so much!

  7. YES! More posts about quilting with rulers!

    1. Hi Kathy,
      Some sewing machines companies already make and sell a ruler foot for their machines (like my Bernina – it’s #72). Check for that first. If you can’t find one, Sew Steady sells several different versions. They are very helpful – so shoot them an email and ask which one fits your machine. 🙂

  8. Janie Plains Varilone says:

    Yes, more ruler quilting videos please!!

  9. Judith Boggs says:

    Yes,please, do more of these tutorials! This was so helpful and gives me some confidence to pull out the rulers I bought and give them a try (my favorite: practice placemats!)
    It would help if you would talk about designing motifs in your blocks, how to envision, how to plan, how to mark.
    Thank you!

  10. Anne Harris says:

    I really enjoyed your quilting with rulers video, I have bought rulers but never used them properly before. It showed not only how, but what and where. I intend to make a small quilt like yours then practice what you have shown. Would definitely like more videos like this one, so valuable, in bite sized pieces.

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