Quilting Prep


Before sending your top to be quilted, there a few simple steps that should be followed. By taking a few extra minutes to double check these things, you are insuring that you get back a beautifully-quilted quilt. 

Consider the following tips and suggestions as a guideline for preparing your quilt top to quilted by any longarmer: 

• Quilts are generally quilted in the order they are received. If you need your quilt by a specific date, that can usually be arranged; however, there may be a rush fee involved.

• Label the top of your quilt. Make sure to let me know if your quilt top and/or backing are directional. Pin a small note to the top as a reminder for me.

• Do not baste your quilt layers together. 

• The more care you take when pressing your top, the better the overall quilting will look. If the seams are especially bulky, please try to press them open.

• Quilt top should be square and lie flat with no ripples or fullness in borders. See the notes under "Borders" below.

• Please try to trim all loose threads from right and wrong sides of the quilt top. Contrasting threads can shadow through lighter fabrics.

• Secure the exterior seams of quilt top with back-tacked seams. If you have a pieced border, please stay-stitch a line 1/8” from raw edges to secure the seams.

• Add all embellishments (charms, beads, buttons, etc.) after the quilting. 

• Dimensional blocks, dense embroidery, and appliqued patches cannot be stitched over unless noted. 

• The Backing and Batting should be a minimum of 6-8 inches longer and wider than the quilt top. This allows a 3-4 inch margin on all sides. If in doubt, go BIGGER! 

The Quilt Backing

Quilt backing fabrics should be of similar weight and fiber content as the quilt top. Stretchy fabrics are not a good choice. Flannel is very nice, but be sure to preshrink by washing at least once in hot water. Backing fabrics can be a busy print to hide the quilting or plain fabrics to accentuate elaborate quilting. Consider the thread color when 
selecting backing fabric. If you don’t want the thread color to show on the backing, purchase a fabric that most closely matches the thread color you’d like used on your quilt.

The direction you piece the backing is important (top to bottom/ side to side). I will usually load the backing with the seam running parallel to the rollers of my frame. This means that a quilt can be loaded and quilted sideways. Please use a ½” seam when piecing your back and press the seams open. This creates less bulk and will look nicer on your finished quilt.

It is not necessary to square your backing prior to quilting.


Quilt borders should lie flat and not have fullness or waves. Borders that do not lie flat, can cause tucks or pleats when quilted. Quilts with rippled borders are extremely difficult to quilt, as there is just too much fullness in the outer edges of the quilt compared to the center. It may be necessary to take a “tuck” in your border if there is too much fullness. Check the quilt top for “square”; the sides should be the same measurement just as the ends should be the same measurement.

Batting Makes a Difference**

Many types of battings are available and each one will quilt differently. Remember that the batting will directly contribute to the feel of the finished quilt. Some important considerations about the finished quilt should be made when selecting your batting. Consider the following:  weight, warmth and washed texture (flat, wrinkled or puffy) in determining which batting you’ll use. Choose the best batting you can afford. We are often tempted to use inexpensive batting to keep our costs low. Poor quality batting will rear its ugly head in the quilt's life. You've put all that time and effort into piecing the quilt, use the best batting you can afford.

For machine quilting, the batting needs to be 6-8" wider and longer than the quilt top. Packaged batting DOES NOT need to be opened or trimmed. 

I have found that Dream Cotton batting in the "Request" loft is not ideal for machine quilting. The "Select" and "Deluxe" lofts are perfect. Batting color is important as well. Quilts that are primarly white or light in color will look better with a bleached white or natural batting. Quilts that are black or very dark will need black batting.

**Batting is available for purchase at competitive prices. I carry Hobbs 80/20 in both natural and black,  Quilters Dream Blend 70/30, QD Wool and QD Puff (synthetic)**

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