Whether you’re a beginner quilter or have been doing it for years, there are countless fun ways to embellish your quilt patterns. One of the easiest ways to do that is to use quilting rulers, or templates, to create different designs instantly without having to mark out the design on your fabric first.
When you discover the fun of quilting rulers, you won’t be able to stop collecting them! With a little bit of basic sewing and a good ruler, you can replicate any designs just by sewing.
So what are the best machine quilting rulers? The best machine quilting rulers have some grip on one side to help you maneuver it and the fabric. As with any quilting ruler, it should be long enough for desired patterns and marked down to the quarter-inch at least. Straight edge, right-angle, and circle rulers are easier for beginners.
There are several types of rulers – templates, stencils, and others – and we’ll show you what they are and how to use them. We’ll help you pick the right one for you and we’ll even share some of our favorites to get you started on picking your first ruler. Read on for the best machine quilting rulers, and more!
How Do You Use Machine Quilting Rulers?
You often see all the fun designs on handmade quilts – the leaves, the waves, the arches… Those are all made with rulers!
Machine quilting rulers are basically just templates that you place on top of your quilt to help guide the ruler foot and create any design you can think of without having to map out the design first on your fabric.
Compared to free motion quilting, quilting with a ruler is a much easier way to quilt. You are guaranteed an interesting design without much effort. When free-motion quilting, sometimes even straight lines can be a bit of a struggle, but using a ruler can help you eliminate this problem!
If your design calls for lines of specific lengths, using a ruler is especially helpful because the ruler already has space markings to help you create them without having to measure or mark anything directly on your fabric.
How does this work, exactly? First of all, you’ll want to use a ruler foot on your machine to create a sturdy base and a safe distance between your needle and your template. Then, place the ruler on your fabric where you want your design to be, and place the ruler right next to the ruler foot.
As you quilt, simply press the ruler onto the fabric and push it through the machine, making sure to follow any curves or arches if necessary. You will want to use a quilting ruler that has some grip on one side so that it does not slip on your fabric as you sew.
As with anything, it will take some practice for you to get used to the additional tool on top of your fabric. To start off, you can use some scrap fabric and test some straight lines of various lengths. Once you are comfortable with the lines, you can branch out to create some curves and arches.
It may feel awkward at first when you try to manage the ruler template, but once you have mastered this tool, it will make quilting any design a lot easier and more fun!
How Thick Are Quilting Rulers? Picking the Right One
If you have a mid-arm or longarm quilting machine, almost any quilting ruler will work. Quilting rulers are usually ¼-inch thick, which is a lot thicker than other types of fabric rulers. Quilting rulers are usually designed with some grip on one side to makes quilting with them easier.
Quilting rulers come in so many different shapes and sizes that you’ll get addicted to buying more! If you are new to quilting rulers, we recommend starting with a straight-edge ruler, right-angle ruler, and circles before branching out.
These shapes are quite versatile and can be used to create almost any design. They are also great to practice with if you are not used to quilting with a ruler. Once you feel comfortable quilting with a straight ruler, you can start trying different designs with other ruler templates.
Best Machine Quilting Rulers
The fun part about quilting rulers, for your machine or otherwise, is growing a small collection to play with!
But to start with, you’ll want to stick to simpler straight-edge, right-angle and triangle, and circles before moving on to other shapes, as we said. You’ll also want a ruler with some grip on one side to help you work the fabric through the machine along the guiding shape with some finesse.
To get you started, here are some of our top quilting rulers for machine use:
|1.||Omnigrid Non-Slip Quilter's Ruler||Rectangle, 6 x 24"|
|2.||EZQuilting Simplicity Ruler||Triangle, 10.5 x 10.5"|
|3.||Good Measure Every Circle Set||From 0.5 x 3" to 2.5 x 7", set of 5|
|4.||Amanda Murphy Every Oval Sewing Templates||From 0.5 x 1" to 0.5 x 10", set of 5|
|5.||Creative Grids Machine Quilting Ruler||Straight and clamshell edges, 4.5 x 6"|
If you are interested in finding out more, we have a full review of each of our best picks.
1. Omnigrid Non-Slip Quilter’s Ruler
Omnigrip Non-Slip Quilter’s Ruler is a solid ruler for beginners, with all the features you will need to create straight-line designs on your quilt. It measures 6″ by 24″, and every square inch is marked by a grid system that allows you to accurately measure your lines while you quilt.
This ruler is non-slip, having some grip in the back of the ruler so that it doesn’t slide around while you create your design. This feature makes sewing a lot more comfortable, and you are guaranteed a straight line without too much effort.
The rectangle ruler is also marked with various angles, 30°, 45°, and 60°, which allows you to create diagonal lines with ease if your design calls for it.
Overall, this is a solid ruler to start with, especially if you have never quilted with a ruler before. It allows you to practice creating some straight lines of various lengths, which is quite versatile for many popular designs. Once you are comfortable quilting with this ruler, you can experiment with other designs to up your quilting skills.
2. EZ Quilting Simplicity Triangle Ruler
A good deviation from the traditional straight ruler is this triangle template, which offers almost all of the benefits of a rectangle ruler with a straight edge, and more!
With this triangle ruler, you’ll be able to create sharp right angles and 45-degrees diagonal lines without having to mark out anything on the fabric beforehand.
The clear triangle ruler measures 10.5″ by 10.5″ and has clear markings 0.5″ apart (and indicators for the quarter-inch in between). This design allows you to create squares and triangles of various sizes with ease. The size is quite big, so you will be able to create quilting patterns from big to small with just a single tool.
On the edges, you will see that the ruler even has room for seam allowance, which is great if you are cutting and combining several pieces of fabric to quilt. It’s quite a versatile tool if you love trying out different designs by combining fabric or sewing straight lines to add patterns to your quilt.
3. Good Measure Every Circle Set
Once you are comfortable quilting with a straight ruler, the next step is trying your skills with circles! This set of five circle rulers will allow you to create circles of various sizes, ranging from 0.5″ to 7″.
Each ruler has an inner circle and an outer circle of different sizes. Depending on your design, you can use the rulers to create circles, half-circles, or arches for your quilt. The inner circles offer sizes from 0.5″ to 2.5″ (each is 0.5″ bigger than the last), and the outer circles are sized 3″ to 7″ (each is 1″ bigger than the last).
Compared to quilting with a straight edge ruler, quilting with a circle ruler is not that much more difficult, so these are great tools to practice with when you first start experimenting with curves and shapes.
4. Amanda Murphy Every Oval Sewing Templates
Ovals are one of the most common designs when it comes to quilting. With the smooth curves of the oval, you can create clamshells, waves, and various other designs with just a simple template. That’s why this set of oval quilting rulers are quite popular among quilters.
The set comes with five different oval templates in various sizes, ranging from 0.5″ by 1″ to 5″ to 10″. Each oval ruler offers a small inner oval and a large outer oval, so you are actually getting 10 different sizes with this set of rulers.
These ruler templates are designed to work with a longarm quilting machine, with a non-slip side so that the ruler will stay in place while you work. You can position the rulers in different ways to create curves in various shapes and sizes, and the rulers have clear markings so you can replicate the shapes again and again as you create patterns while quilting.
Overall, this set is a step up from the traditional round curves, allowing you to create some interesting designs with just a simple tool.
5. Creative Grids Machine Quilting Ruler
This ruler template is the most advanced one compared to the other rulers on this list because it allows you to quilt straight lines as well as curves.
The ruler is ¼” thick and measures 4.5″ by 6″, which is a medium size for a quilting ruler, allowing you to easily switch it around to create various shapes and patterns with your quilt.
The clamshell curves are a huge selling point for this ruler since it allows you to create a clamshell pattern with a rounded tip connecting the clamshells. It also has curves in various sizes, so you are allowed to be as creative as you want in creating designs in various patterns and sizes.
Similar to other types of quilting rulers, this one also has a non-slip size and markings printed on clear plastic. You can clearly see the fabric underneath while quilting, and the rulers won’t be slipping around as you go, making quilting a complicated pattern much easier!
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