Ruler Work Resource for Using Rulers on a Stationary Machine

Recently, the concept of Ruler Work with long arm rulers on a stationary machine has had some new developments in available feet and techniques and there's increased interest here on the blog about it. I've updated the blog page above on the subject to include the new information and have decided to run the content below (with a few additions) from that page as its own post for my newer readers.

Below are links to the posts I have done about using long arm rulers on a stationary machine. The machine can be a regular domestic sewing machine or one of the sit-down style long arm machines. It takes practice, but it can be done and yields some great results!

Ideally, you want a foot made for use with rulers. It can be done without a ruler-type foot, but should the ruler slip under or over the foot you can break a needle and possible throw your machine out of timing. (This means the hook and needle are no longer in the right place at the right time to form a stitch.) But here's a nifty way of doing ruler work without a ruler foot that is safer than most: No Ruler Foot? No Problem!

Using rulers on a stationary machine when free motion quilting is still a bit of an out-of-the-box technique and if you don't have a proper ruler foot, you may need to try some out-of-the-box thinking about the feet that are available; try different feet, different height of the foot (usually higher), a different needle position to use with a different brand's foot, etc. See the Tutorial for Using the Janome Ruler Toe on Berninas for ideas.

Sit-down long arm systems have this type of foot available.

The Janome 'ruler toe' is part# 767-434-005 and fits on the convertible free motion foot set for either high shank machines, low shank machines, or the 1600 convertible set. Newer, high-end Janomes come with their own version of the Convertible Free Motion Quilting Foot set, but can use the Ruler Toe from the Frame Quilting Foot set also.

Foot Questions for Doing Free Motion Ruler Work 

Free Motion Quilting with Rulers, an Update


This blog post Tutorial for Using the Janome Ruler Toe on Berninas is the most current information on a ruler foot for Berninas. Follow it up with information on a new ruler foot from Parrs Reel Ruler.

Bernina has also come out with a long arm machine which can use regular Bernina free motion feet. It is expected that the long arm's feet can also be used on regular Berninas and it has a foot for doing ruler work. No idea when it will be commonly available and it may take some creative settings adjustment unless Bernina also has some sort of software/settings adjustment.

The following post on Berninas still hold true if you don't use either option given in the two posts above: Free Motion Foot and Toe Follow Up  (Mostly about Berninas) Also see the link for No Ruler Foot? No Problem!

Using Long Arm Rulers on a Sewing Machine

Cross Hatching Ruler Work on Sewing Machine

Video: Quilting with Ruler on a Sewing Machine

Quilting With Rulers on a Domestic Sewing Machine

Choosing Long Arm Rulers for Your Sewing Machine

New Rulers for Free Motion Quilting (Fine Line Rulers)

Video: Free Motion Quilting Curved Cross Hatching

Free Motion Monday Quilting Adventure: Ruler Work, Week 1

Free Motion Monday Quilting Adventure: Ruler Work, Week 2

Free Motion Monday Quilting Adventure: Ruler Work, Week 3

Free Motion Monday Quilting Adventure: Ruler Work, Week 4

Parrs Reel Ruler Foot Review

I am so excited about the design potential of using free motion ruler work!

I have even set up a Pinterest board for ruler work and design inspiration.


  1. So here's the bit I don't get: WHY or WHEN do I do ruler work?

    I do a lot of stuff freehand and mark when needed. Is a ruler the difference between "good enough" and "OMG FANTASTIC" ? Or does that depend more on the operator?

    1. Great question Andrea! Much of the when and why comes down to style of quilting and the operator, but crosshatching is a great example of when to do ruler work, as are beadboard and other designs that are composed of parallel lines. These are pretty traditional designs, but can be used for other styles of quilting too. Continuous curves (curves around squares) are much more uniform with a curved ruler, though slower than freehand. Rulers can help develop a framework upon (or around) which you can do freehand work. Some people find stitch-in-the-ditch (SID) work (for simple quilting or for stabilization of a more complex quilt) easier to do with a ruler. When using motifs made of straight lines (Like Judy Madsen does) with freehand work surrounding them, I can always get a straighter line with a ruler than I can following a marked line freehand.

      This post, has some good traditional ideas of ruler work designs.

  2. Thanks so much for posting all of this information. I love free motion quilting on my domestic machine, but I do sometimes envy the regularity I see achieved on quilts done on a long arm and I have attributed it (justified or not!) to the ability to use rulers. Your posts are encouraging me to add ruler quilting to my skill set.

  3. FYI - I was at my Bernina dealer this weekend, and Bernina is coming out with a new longarm machine. They are making a ruler foot (#96) for it, which will also fit the new style machines. It is supposed to be available around April.

    1. I had read that regular Bernina feet could be used on the new long arm, so I suspected the ruler foot from the long arm could be used on the regular Berninas, but hadn't gotten it confirmed yet. That is wonderful news!

  4. Thanks for all this great info Amy! I bought a foot from Finishing Touches to use on my Juki TL-2010. It works great, but often squeaked when it rubbed against the ruler. I solved the problem with car wax. Details on my blog post here:

  5. well, sometimes you just need to get creative from the other side of the fence too. I've used double sided sticky tape and thin metal (think aluminum flashing thin). I cut a strip of that about an inch tall and use the double sided sticky tape to stick it on the side of the ruler (perpendicular to the edge). This creates a guide for your thin toe, hoping,or broken so it doesn't hop, to rest against. It's thickness is negligible and you can use your regular cutting rulers! Straight, scalloped etc. the tape and the flashing are plenty flexible. As for the ruler slipping, is use sticky gel pads on the ruler. Just my way of experimenting with ruler work. Is okay, but I still prefer Freemotion without the ruler.

  6. Gosh. This is a wonderful post, Amy! It encapsulates so much! Whenever I post a ruler work photo to Instagram, I inevitably get questions that you've answered here. You're definitely a quilter-in-the-know! I'll be pointing people to this post. It's great! Have a blessed and merry Christmas!

  7. Thanks, Amy, for such a helpful post. Grouping everything together with the latest updates really helps me. I want to try some ruler work in 2015 but have a Bernina with the old foot style. This post makes me feel much more comfortable.

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  9. Should there be another persuasive post you can share next time, I’ll be surely waiting for it.
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