Quilt Preparation


The Preparation of Your Quilt Top is Essential to Good Quilting!

The Quilt Top
  • Please make certain every pin has been removed from your top.
  • Do not send the quilt with embellishments already attached. They will have to be removed before quilting and we will need to charge the hourly fee. Also we cannot be responsible for their loss or damage.
  • Do not baste the layers of your quilt together. The top and backing must be attached to the long arm separately.
  • Check the back of your quilt top and clip any loose threads. Unclipped threads or fabric frays can show through light fabrics and be seen from the right side, particularly if darker fabrics are pieced to lighter fabrics.
  • Check to be certain all pieced seams are completely sewn together. When attached to the leaders on a long arm machine incompletely sewn seams or very shallow seams may pull apart.
  • Check to see that your quilt top is "square".  The width from side to side should be the same for the entire length of your quilt.  Likewise, the length of your quilt should be the same across the entire width of your quilt. If you are having problems with this, please bring it to our attention and we will discuss your concerns.
  • Give a final pressing of your entire quilt from the front side to be certain no pleats or tucks have been pressed in. A light spray of Mary Ellen's "Best Press" (available at most quilt or fabric stores) or similar product will help "set" your seams. This is a good time to remove any threads from the right side of your quilt top.
  • Be sure your quilt top lays flat. Ripples or puffy places may or may not quilt flat. Take care that your borders do not ruffle or wave. If your borders do not lay flat it may cause a pucker or pleat as your top is quilted. We would suggest taking off the borders and reattaching them following the instructions in our Quilting Helps Section on "How To Add Borders That Stay Flat". If you decide not to reattach your borders we may find it necessary to take a dart or pleat in your border.
  • Identify the top of your quilt with a piece of paper safety pinned to the fabric. If you write on the paper use pencil not ink. Ink contains certain oils that may harm your quilt. Do not use tape of any kind as it may leave a sticky residue which will cause dirt to accumulate on the top as well as collect on the quilting needle causing imperfect stitching. We will not remove tape from a quilt top but will return it to you at your cost for you to remove. We do not want to stitch through any tape on your quilt.
  • Fold carefully to prevent wrinkling while in transit
  • If you have any concerns about your quilt top, please bring it to our attention
  • Your finished quilt will be returned to you untrimmed ie. with the excess backing and batting still attached. We can trim your quilt for you priced at the rate of $15.00 per hour as listed under Other Services on our pricing page. If you would like us to trim it for you all excess fabric wider than 2 inches will be returned to you.
The Quilt Back
  • If you pre-washed the fabrics in your quilt top you should pre-wash your backing and press, before any further measuring or preparation of your quilt back is done.
  • "Matilda" is a big girl 25 inches from needle to roller and 14 feet long which enables us to handle large quilts and design elements. To accommodate her your quilt backing needs to be 6 inches larger than your quilt top on each side and at the top and bottom in order to attach to the leaders and side clips.  In other words, a total of 12 inches longer and wider than your quilt top.  If the throat of the quilting machine bumps into the side clips it causes distortions in the quilting.  All excess fabric will be returned to you. Be certain you have more than the additional 12 inches before squaring your backing or you may run short after squaring.
  • Square your backing then check to be certain you have an adequate amount.  The backing must be squared to load correctly on the long arm. If your backing is not squared puckering may occur in the backing as it is quilted. If you would like us to prepare the backing we will do so, if requested, at a charge of $15.00 per hour as stated on our pricing page.
  • If you need to seam your backing to reach the dimensions you need you might want to check our Quilting Helps Section on "How to Construct a Quilt Back".
  • Press your seamed backing from the right side to be certain no tucks or pleats have been pressed in along the seams.
  • If you have already prepared your backing and need to enlarge it please machine baste strips along the sides and top to provide enough fabric to attach to the long arm.  A similar weight of fabric to your backing is preferable (ie muslin would be fine for woven cotton tops).  Square your backing fabric and the added strips.  Again we will do this for you, if requested, at the cost of $15.00 per hour plus the cost of muslin.
  • Your quilt back should be pressed and the top of the backing marked with a safety pin and a piece of paper so we can be certain it is oriented the way you desire.
  • Be certain all pins have been removed from your quilt back.
  • Fold carefully to prevent wrinkling while in transit.
Please include a signed and dated order sheet with your quilt top and backing. Make sure your name, address and phone number are clearly printed.  Include any notes that you feel will help explain your desires for your quilt.