How To Prepare Your Quilts
For Longarm Machine Quilting
The better you prepare your quilt, the better it will be when
finished. We are very good at what we do, but we can't work miracles. Please review this page carefully. It is very
important that you follow these guidelines. By making sure a few things are taken care of ahead of time you can
keep your cost down, reduce the time it takes to get your quilt finished, and
most importantly, make sure your quilt is a beautiful finished product.
Backing must extend at least 3" beyond quilt top on all sides!
This means it must measure 6 inches longer and 6 inches wider than
your quilt top. For example, if your quilt top measures 64" wide and 90" long, the backing must be 70" wide and 96"
long. This very important because if the back is not big enough we cannot attach your quilt to the machine. If your
backing is not big enough we can add material to make it work (extra charge). However you may end up with some
different colored fabric on the back of your quilt!
Your best choice is a good
quality cotton or muslin fabric. Low quality backing material is prone to
stretching and fold overs. You spend a lot of time and money on the top -
please do not scrimp on the backing. We can provide high quality backing if needed.
not accept bed sheets for backing!
Wide Quilt Backing
We recommend a one piece backing whenever possible. We stock a number of wide
back fabrics in different colors and styles. Quilt wide-back fabrics come in wide widths so no piecing is
A one piece backing is not always possible. When making a pieced
back, the less seams the better. Backing should be sewn together so seams
run horizontal. Except for an extremely long quilt, there should never be a need for more than two horizontal
seams. Pieced backings should be pressed with seams open. Unless you want nice
little words and funny colors showing on your quilt all
selvages should be trimmed off prior to piecing. Keep in mind pieced backings greatly increase the chance for tucks
and fold overs on the back. Vertical
seams can make it even worse.
There are two big reasons to avoid the temptation
to try to create a "fancy" back or two sided quilt. First, be aware we cannot see the back when quilting. If you
are hoping to have perfect borders on the back or something centered on the back of your quilt you will probably be
disappointed. Second, backs with extra piecing will almost always be out of square and have
extra material that will create foldovers and puckers. Extreme care must be taken with pieced backs to make
sure they are very square and flat.
Embellishments: We cannot quilt over them and
they can damage our machine. If we have
to remove any embellishments to
complete your quilt these will be returned to you with your quilt so you may re-attach them. This may incur an
Check your quilt for extra or stretched fabric.
This by far the most common problem we see. This often happens when attaching
borders, but can occur anywhere in the quilt top. When placed on a firm smooth surface the quilt top should lay
flat. If you see any tenting or bubbles these areas may end up with small folds or overlaps when quilted. If there
is too much extra fabric, even if we slow the machine down and manually adjust as we quilt, tucks and overlaps may
Make sure quilt top
If you measure your quilt in all directions there should not be more than a 1/4"
difference in any direction. Measurements should be taken at both ends and middle of both length and width and
across both diagonals (corner to corner). We can make only minor adjustments to length and width of borders and
patterns to compensate for out-of-square quilts. Make sure edges are straight
sure seams are
If you have loose seams, the
machine will find them! If your top has no borders, stay-stitch 1/4" in all the way around the edge. This keeps the
seams from "popping" and prevents stretching when attaching it to the canvas on the rollers. Please, no serger
stitching. All loose threads should be removed.
Your quilt top should be well pressed with
seams closed. Care should
be taken to press seams toward similar colors. If you press a dark colored fabric to a light colored fabric the
dark fabric may show through your quilt top!
DO NOT pin, baste, or use adhesives to attached top to batting and backing. We will need to take
it all apart in order to quilt. We cannot quilt any materials that have adhesives applied.
Prairie Points, Pockets,
If your quilt top has any
overlaps, pockets, or other loose fabric it must be must be temporarily tacked down for quilting. These may incur
an extra charge.
Directional quilt tops &
Mark the top of the quilt so we will know which way the
quilting pattern should run. If the backing has a top and bottom, please mark that also. (Safety pin a note to
indicate the top).
We supply high quality batting at
very competitive prices. Due to the requirements of long arm quilting we generally only use batting we
provide. You can supply your own batting, however it must
meet our quality and size requirements for machine quilting. We do not quilt with any battings that contain more than 20%
polyester. All customer supplied batting is subject to our approval.
We use only thread we supply that
is designed for machine quilting. We use Signature 100% cotton threads and keep several hundred colors on hand. You
may also specify colors, however, if we do not have them in stock it will increase the turnaround time for your
All quilts will be returned
trimmed even with the quilt top unless you request us return your quilt untrimmed. This is important if you plan to
roll backing for your binding.