Ultra-Wavy Quilting Tutorial



A few people asked me for more information on how I quilted my “Geese in the Forest Quilt“, so I thought it would be easiest to do a little tutorial.  I drew my method out on paper, so you can see my thought process.

I was originally inspired by this quilt and I used it as a model to quilt the “Science Fair” quilt for Robert Kaufman.


My suggestions for doing ultra-wavy line quilting:

• Use the walking foot on your machine

• Spray baste your layers together. I spray basted “Science Fair” and it turned out much smoother than “Geese in the Forest”, which I pin basted. I normally pin baste, but I won’t if I use this method again.

• My lines were between 1/2″-1″ apart.  Variety in width is encouraged and creates more interest, so don’t worry about your lines all being an exact width apart.

• Take lots of breaks!  You are really using your upper body with this type of quilting, since you need to move and turn the entire quilt through the machine.

• If you are hesitant to get started, draw your pattern out on paper first.


Below is an example of how I might quilt with wavy lines.  Each time will be different, but you can get an idea of steps to take.

photo 1

Start by sewing a somewhat wavy line near the center of your quilt.

photo 2

Echo quilt your wavy line several times.

photo 3

Start echo quilting your original line again, but this time veer off in an different direction partway through.

photo 4

Fill in the negative space you created by sewing lines going in a different direction than the original lines.

photo 5

Draw a really wavy line below your first set of lines.

photo 6

Fill in the left side with lines echoing the new line and ending at the old line.

photo 7

Echo your lines on the right side, but this time turn your quilt before you intersect the old line and sew back out to the edge, making a wood-grain effect.

You are aiming for variety in your waves and lines, so you don’t want to fill in spaces the same way every time.

photo 8

Now, echo quilt your arched line several times, working your way towards the lower edge.

photo 9

Fill-in the space that is left with shorter lines that intersect with your arch.

photo 10

Sew another wavy line near the center of your quilt.

photo 11

Echo the line several times.

I always like each line to be echoed several times to give it weight.  You never want a single lone line in your quilt with no echoing.

photo 12

Start to echo your original line and then split the negative space in half.

photo 13

Fill-in the inner half of the negative space with echoing lines.

photo 14

Fill in the outer half of the negative space with wood grain lines.

photo 15

Sew a wavy line that stars by echoing and then veers off in a different direction.

photo 16

Fill in the space created with echo lines.

photo 17

You have a single lone line, so make sure you echo it several times to give it more weight.

photo 18

Divide your negative space again by sewing a line that starts off as an echo and then veers off in another direction.

photo 19

Fill in the negative space with echo quilting.

photo 20

Continue to fill in the remaining space with echo quilting.

You are done!  Bind, wash and enjoy after soaking your aching back and arms in a hot bath. Oh, and send me a photo!


38 thoughts on “Ultra-Wavy Quilting Tutorial

  1. Brilliant. Just a quick question…do you change what side of the quilt you start on, when doing several wavy lines that go all the way across?
    Love this quilting. I’ve got it bookmarked ; )

  2. Thanks so much. When you see it fpdrawn out like this as a process, it makes sense and doesn’t seem quite so crazy unattainable. Might give it a go. Thanks for the inspiration!
    E xx

  3. Great tutorial. Did you bury your threads by hand tying them or by stitching in place? Great job! Thanks for sharing.

    1. I buried the threads for the “Science Fair” quilt, but I just back-tacked for the “Geese in the Forest Quilt”. The back-stitching doesn’t show up on the white fabric and it was much faster than having to bury all those threads!

  4. This is great. Thank you for expalining it to us! I have one question. Do you tie off the ends when you reach the row above or just backstich a couple of stitches? I know you wouldnt have to if you are going all the way across, but on the short rows that end or start in the middle?
    Hope this question makes sense.
    Thanks again!

    1. For the “Science Fair” quilt I tied off all the ends. For the “Geese in the Forest” quilt, I just back-tacked. it was mostly white on white, so it doesn’t show, plus it was SO much faster!

  5. I absolutely LOVE this! I have some Winter’s Lane fabric panels that I want to quilt in an interesting way and make into pillows. This is perfect! Thanks for the pictures!

  6. Hi Janice! I will be trying this out in the next couple of days and I’m curious if you have experimented doing the lines in more of a vertical manner?

  7. Thanks so much for the tutorial. I’m using it to quilt quite a large quilt (might have been over-ambitious with my second ever quilt!) and I’m having a lot of fun. It looks beautiful but I need to find someone to help me bury all the ends!! I’m thinking that there must be someone on the planet who actually likes doing it 😛

  8. Super great directions – I can’t wait to try. Always wondered how you’d start this type of quilting. Now I know. Thanks so much for sharing with us.

  9. Would this work well on QAYG blocks? I find it very difficult to manage a whole quilt on my sewing machine but I really like the effect of this quilting. Thanks, Rieann

  10. How lovely of you to take the time to draw this out, photograph it and share it with all of us! You ROCK~!
    Many Thanks,
    LuAnn in Oregon

  11. Such great timing finding your post just now. I’m just about to start a “baby” quilt which will look like a Cronulla Sharks football jersey (Australian NRL team). This design will be absolutely perfect for the plain section – I’m hoping I might be able to sneak in a shark or two in amongst the “water” – and maybe even a couple of footballs. I’m excited.

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