Quilt Preparation & Tips

What Professional Long-Arm Quilters Like to See When a Quilt Top and Backing is Delivered to Them
 
One of the nice things about having your quilt long-arm quilted, is you do not have to pin, tack, fuse or baste.  No layering is required. The top, backing, and batting need to be separate.  
                                               
Mark the top of the front and back of quilt to insure the correct design direction when mounting the quilt onto the frame.  This can be done with a safety pin.
 
Top must be flat, pressed, and squared up.  Seams should be pressed flat and pressed to one side or open.  All loose threads need to be clipped.  Embellishments such as buttons, ribbons, etc. should be added to the top after it has been quilted.
 
Please be sure all seams are secure. If you have a pieced border (flying geese, piano keys etc.) stay stitch the outer edge to avoid stretching and seams popping open.  Do not serge the edges.
 
If you piece your back, make sure all pieces are the same length and there are no waves. Heavily pieced backing are not recommended. The backing needs to be squared up.  Pressout  all wrinkles and fold lines on the backing.
 
Batik backings need to be washed to remove any wax residue.  This can impact the tension of the stitching.
 
Backing should have selvages removed before seaming.  Don’t use sheets for the backing, as the weave is too tight. The selvages and weave of the sheets can cause stitches to skip.  If the seams are more than a ¼ of an inch wide, they should be pressed open or to one side.   Do not serge your backing pieces together as this can cause a lump in your quilt.
 
If you would like the seams on the backing to run a certain direction, please indicate which direction you would like.  Horizontal seams (Left to Right) are preferred.   It is easier to avoid floppy areas and possible puckering when quilts are loaded.
 
Centering a quilt on a pieced backing is not possible on a long-arm machine without pre-basting, and even then there is no guarantee it will remain centered due to the way they are loaded and the “draw-up factor” involved during the quilting process and your quilt is not square.  You must specify if you wish to have a top centered and there usually is an additional charge.  
 
 
Backing and batting must be at least 4” larger than the top on all
sides.  For example, if the top is 72 X 90, the backing and batting will
need to be at least 80 X 98.  You do not have to cut the backing and
batting to be the exactly the right size.  It can be bigger and trimmed
later.  
 
Batting needs to be of good quality.  Batting that can be pulled apart easily, bunches or stretches cannot be used.  Warm & Natural, Hobbs 80/20, Bamboo, Hobbs 100% cotton with scrim and wool  are some of the battings that I can use.  Please check if you have a different type of batting to make sure it is the kind that I can use.  I have batting available for sale up to 126" wide.
 
If you have wavy borders, you may want to fix them before having them quilted to avoid having them pucker.
 
What Stitch Length Should I Use On My Quilts?
 
To make secure the seams on a quilt, it is recommended to use a 2.0 (12  stitches per inch) stitch length.  For well loved children quilts you may want to use a little smaller stitch of 1.8 (14 stitches per inch). 
Why should I remove the selvages from fabric edges?
The selvages should be removed because they will shrink differently then the rest of the fabric and with cause the seam to pucker. Depending on how thick the selvage is, it may cause stitches to be skipped when it is quilted.