Sending your quilt to a Longarm quilter will make it look beautiful and professional. However, there are a few suggestions and hints you should consider before sending your quilt for quilting. Below are things everyone should know on how to prepare your quilt for Longarm quilting to make sure your quilt comes out with the best look possible.
Preparing your Quilt Top
Look to see if there are any open seams on the outer edges of your quilt, especially quilts that do not have borders. If so, baste through the seams with a 1/8” of an inch seam. This will ensure that the seams don’t get caught or pop open when the quilt is being quilted. When you add your binding, these basting stitches will be covered up. If you have a lot of seams on the outer edge, you may have to baste around the entire quilt, or just baste through each one.
If your quilt has a light fabric that may show threads through the top, it’s a good practice to clip those threads. No one wants to see a red thread on the top of their beautiful quilt. If threads pull up while your quilt is being quilted or I notice a thread in the seams – I will do my best to clip them or pull them through a seam. Some fabrics may frey a lot, if this the case with your quilt top, use a bit of Frey Check – that will help keep those unruly threads under control.
Make sure your quilt top is squared and you don’t have wavy borders. If your quilt does not lay flat, then you have wavy borders. See below on how to prevent wavy borders.
Preventing Wavy Borders
Once your quilt top is done, all you need to do now is add your borders. I know it’s tempting to just sew on a length of fabric, cut it to the length and think you’re good to go. I even do it sometimes. But you’ve just spent a lot of time on your quilt, so it’s a good idea to spend the extra time and do it correctly. Who wants wavy borders and pleats???? Whenever possible use the lengthwise grain of the fabric for borders, it doesn’t stretch.
When you are ready to finish your quilt and add borders, lay your quilt on a flat surface. Measure through the center of the quilt from top to bottom. Cut two side borders to this length. One border at a time, fold lengthwise in half and then again into forths. Place pins at the fold points. You will have 3 pins in your border. Do the same with your quilt, fold in half and pin, and then fold in half again and pin. With right sides together line up the middle pins and pin the quilt and border together. Do this for the other pins as well. Also, pin the ends together. If your quilt if large it’s a good suggestion to add pins in between.
There is often a little bit of excess fullness or fabric on either the quilt top or border side. Whichever side seems to be full or have excess fabric, place towards the feed dogs when sewing. The feed dogs will help ease out any fullness.
You may need to gently hold the fabric near the pressure foot as you sew to help ease out any fullness or extra fabric.
If there isn’t any fullness or extra fabric on either the quilt top or border, place the quilt tops towards the feed dogs as you sew your borders on. Press your seams, and add the other two borders using the same method.
Backing should be 4” – 6” bigger than the quilt top on all four sides. If providing your own batting, the same 4”-6” bigger on all sides as well.
Press seams open. If you press to one side, press them towards the bottom of the back.
Sheets I generally don’t recommend using as a backing, but I used them for several customers, and they have worked great. I would recommend a high quality top sheet. I would also recommend pre-washing them. For another easy backing and no piecing option, a good suggestion is to use Wide back fabric, most of them come 108” – 120” wide.
Please try to have your quilt top and backing pressed. I will do my best to quilt it as free of puckers, pleats and loose thread as much as I can. I know everyone isn’t perfect, but I will make your quilt look as perfect and beautiful as possible.
If your quilt has embellishments, it cannot be quilted. Please add embellishments after it has been machine quilted.
All my quilting is done on a Gammill Statler longarm machine, with a 14 foot table. The Statler Sticher offers state of the art stitch and precision. I currently have over 250 quilting patterns and designs to choose from, and I am continually adding new designs to my collection.
After I’ve quilted your quilt – I would like to post pictures of your beautiful and completed quilt. Please let me know if you would like to have your quilt featured for everyone to see.