What Is a Quilting Frame?

A.E. Freeman

A quilting frame is a structure that holds the fabrics and batting of a quilt in place while the person or people working on the quilt stitch it together. While quilting frames are traditionally used in hand quilting, certain types of quilting frame are used for machine quilting, where a sewing machine stitches the fabric and batting together.

A quilting frame is designed to hold the fabrics and batting of a quilt in place.
A quilting frame is designed to hold the fabrics and batting of a quilt in place.

Usually, the frame is made of wood. The size of the frame can vary, ranging from smaller frames for lap or throw quilts to large frames for queen or king size quilts. Often a person may be able to purchase a quilting frame that can be adjusted based on the size of the current project. The large size of many frames means a quilter can work alone or with a group of other quilters to stitch the quilt top. During quilting bees, women used to gather around the sides of a frame to quilt together.

Quilting frames can be used with sewing machines.
Quilting frames can be used with sewing machines.

To use a quilt frame, the quilter inserts the bottom fabric of the quilt, the batting, and the top fabric into the slats on the four sides of the frame, The idea of the frame is similar to that of an embroidery or quilting hoop. The four slats hold the fabrics and batting taut, so that the quilter can make quilting stitches that will not pucker or be too loose when she takes the quilt out of the frame. Placing a quilt in a frame will also prevent the batting or fabric from bunching up while the quilter works. Usually, the entire quilt is laid flat in the frame, so that the quilter will not have to undo the frame and reposition the quilt as she works, which she would have to do with a quilting hoop.

When working on a quilting frame, a quilter usually starts on one side of the quilt and works her way left or right. If she were quilting using a hoop, she would start in the center of the quilt. It is also often important that a quilter stitch towards herself when using a frame. For instance, if a quilter wanted to stitch a square, she should start at the top left corner, work across to the right and then down the other side of the square, back to herself. She should then start a new thread at the top left corner, work down the left side of the square and then over to the right.

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Discussion Comments


My aunt belongs to a quilting club where they meet once or twice a month to work on their projects together.

Years ago they decided that once a year they would complete a project as a group and donate it to a worthy cause.

When they are working on this quilt, they use a machine quilting frame that is suited for this type of work. They have made several unique quilts and never have a hard time finding a good cause to donate their quilt to.


One of my good friends is an avid quilter. This is something that I have never been very interested in doing myself, but I love to see her finished products.

She has accumulated a few hand quilting frames over the years. They are in different sizes and she chooses the frame by the size of the project she is working on.

She has made a lot of beautiful quilts for friends and family. She has also entered some of her projects in our state fair. All of her quilts are so beautiful, but I would never have the patience to complete a project like that.

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