Preparing for Quilting
Any quilt I assist with will be treated as if it were my own and I will want the very best outcome possible for you.
So here’s a checklist of items for making your quilt top and preparing it for longarming. Each item is a link to tips
that will lead to a lovely quilting result. If you have questions or need assistance feel free to call me at 608-234-8619 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Central, Monday through Friday.
Seams: Sew your seams using straight / even ¼” seam allowances, nothing less. This ensures you have strong and flat seams that will glide under the needle foot. Press your seam allowances as you piece so your block and pattern progression is flat and true.
Borders: Borders need particular attention so they are flat and do not ruffle. Before cutting fabric for your border, measure your pieced quilt top from top to bottom through the center. Cut your side borders (length) along the selvage edge using this center measurement. Pin the border to the top, easing or stretching to fit. You may want to pin and match at the center and ‘quarter’ points. Sew carefully, especially where easing so you don’t create tucks. You may want to stitch with the border against the feed dogs, so pin with the quilt top on top. Press the seam allowance toward the border. Next measure the quilt top from side to side in the center. This gives you the top and bottom border length measurement. Repeat as done for the side borders.
Edges & Corners: Trim and square up edges and corners to true. If your quilt top does not have borders, it’s good insurance to ‘stay stitch’ on all sides 1/8” from the raw edge. This will keep your seams intact during handling and stitching.
Pressing: Press your quilt top thoroughly to reduce the potential for puckers or tucks while being quilted and so creases and wrinkles are pressed out (they’re very hard to erase once the top is quilted).
Top of Quilt Marked: If you have a specific top and bottom to your quilt top, mark the top with a safety pin. The same for your backing.
Folding for Transport: Trim and pick off all threads on the backside of your top. Fold your top and backing in a manner that avoids hard creases. Accordion-style folds or a wad of tissue paper in inner folds help minimize hard creases. Otherwise, consider using an inexpensive swimming noodle to roll your top and backing and avoid creases altogether.
Batting & Backing: If you provide your own batting, remove it from the plastic bag to release creases prior to measuring and cutting to size. Measure your completed quilt top and add 8” in total to the width and 8” to the length when cutting your batting and backing. This extra allows for ‘shrinkage’ during quilting as the process pulls up batting and backing. If you need to piece your backing to achieve the size needed, cut the selvages off first (they will not stretch when rolled on the frame like the rest of the backing fabric will which creates unevenness). For durability during use of your quilt, run seams going parallel to the top and bottom of your quilt vs. running vertically. Press any seam allowances in the backing to one side, not open. Pressing open exposes the seam thread so it’s less durable than when the seam allowance is pressed to one side.