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How to prepare for Longarm Quilting

If knowledge is half the battle then the other half is preparation. You can set yourself up for a successful quilting experience by taking the steps below to prepare your quilt for longarm quilting.

Backing Fabric

Square your quilt backing fabric. Squaring the backing fabric (especially the TOP & BOTTOM EDGES) is necessary for the longarm quilting process.

Backing fabric needs to be at least 8-12 inches WIDER and LONGER than the quilt top. This means having 4-6 inches all the way around the quilt top.You can ADD 4-6" strips of muslin (or any scrap fabric that you have) to extend the quilt back if your backing fabric isn't big enough

FOR WIDE BACK FABRICS – please supply at least an additional 12 inches (6 inches all the way around the quilt top). Wide backs can be unevenly wound on the bolt. Backings need to be “squared” to be placed on the longarm quilting frame. The squaring process does trim down the backing piece, and we have found that if a wide back is uneven, it results in more fabric that needs to be trimmed.

If the backing fabric is pieced, use a 1/2 inch seam and press open.

Also DO NOT leave selvage inside the seam (seam allowance). Selvage does not stretch and move, like the rest of the fabric, and may cause puckers if left in the seam. Selvage is good on the outside of the backing, just not good if included in the seam allowance.

Press the backing fabric so it is wrinkle free and any seams lay flat.

Quilt Tops

Clip loose threads from the back of the quilt top. This is especially important if white fabric is part of your quilt. Threads can show through the quilt top, if left inside.

We recommend squaring the quilt top before quilting.

Borders should lay flat. Wavy borders result from having excess fabric in the border. Excess fabric will cause the outside of the quilt not to lay flat and may result in puckers.

Anchor all seams that will remain on the outside of the border. As the quilt is handled, seams on the border will become loose and may pop open if not secured.

If the outside border is made of pieced blocks, for example, flying geese, stay-stitch all the way around the edge of the quilt at 1/8 of an inch. This will prevent the seams from pulling apart. Stitching within 1/8 inch will fall inside the binding.

Press the quilt top so it is wrinkle free and all seams lay flat.

Batting

We have batting available for purchase in the shop when you come in to quilt.

If you are supplying the batting, it should be 6-8 inches longer and wider than the quilt top (that’s 3-4 inches all the way around).

Preparing your Quilt Checklist

  • DO NOT pin or baste the layers; the TOP, BACKING & BATTING should all be separate
  • Quilts should be free of any embellishments; beading, etc. should be done after quilting
  • Mark top of quilt in 1/4" seam allowance with a chalk or removable marker
Backing
  • Make sure backing is square & 4-6 inches larger on all sides than top 
  • Press backing flat
  • Pieced backings-remove selvage edges before piecing
Batting
  • Make sure batting is square & 3-4 inches larger on all sides than top
  • Press batting flat
      Quilt Top
      • Make sure the top is square
      • Press the top so it lays flat
      • Trim all loose threads
      • Check all seams for gaps and loose stitching