The quilt back and batting must measure 4” larger than the quilt top on each side.
The extra fabric is used to attach the quilt to the bars and side clamps of their frame. The side edges also allow me to test the tension of my machine to make sure it looks good with each bobbin change.
Preparing the quilt top for longarm quilting
- Once the quilt top is made, look to see if there are seams around the outer edges. If so, baste through these seams about 1/8th of an inch in from the edge. This will ensure the seams don’t pop open when loaded onto the longarm. The binding will eventually cover up these basting stitches too.
- If the quilt top has a light fabric that might easily show loose threads from the underside, clip those threads.
- Make sure your quilt top is squared.
- Press the quilt top and fold neatly.
- Check the borders to see if they lay flat or are they wavy? It’s easy for borders to become stretched and “wavy.” It’s important to know that wavy borders frequently result in unwanted tucks. (One way to make flat borders is to fold the quilt in half lengthwise and measure the center of the quilt and make the side borders the same length as the center measurement, NOT the edge measurement. After you attach the side borders, fold the quilt in half the other way and measure the crosswise center (including the borders you just put on) and make the other borders the same length as that center measurement, not the edge measurement. )
Preparing the backing for longarm quilting:
- Backings fabric can either be an extra wide backing fabric, or the backing may be pieced.
- When piecing the back, please make sure to trim the selvages off. They will shrink unevenly when you wash the quilt and create a puckered line. Use a 1/2- 5/8″ seam and press the seam open. Ideally, the quilt back can be loaded so the seam runs parallel to the bars, but that may not always be possible . Also be aware that it is best to avoid a very symmetrical piecing of the back. This can be problematic when loading on the longarm, as you cannot see the back while quilting, making it difficult to guarantee symmetry especially if the backing fabric stretches a bit.
Please see my current batting options here. You are also welcome to provide your own batting.