Preparing Your Quilt Top for Long Arm Quilting
- The batting and backing should measure at least 8 inches longer and 8 inches wider than your quilt top in order to load it on the longarm machine safely. If your top is 60” by 80”, your backing and batting should be at least 68 by 88 inches.
- The backing, batting and quilt top are loaded onto the machine independently. Please do not pin or baste them together. If there is a definite “top” for the quilt top and/or backing, place a safety pin in the center of the top edge of the quilt.
- Press your seams, quilt top and backing thoroughly. Be sure that the top lies flat. Extra fullness in the quilt top will not “quilt out”.
- Clip all loose threads from the back and the front of the quilt top. Stray loose threads can show through light fabrics.
- Make sure that your backing is square, and the edges even. If your backing is not square, it can be squared for you as a specialty service, but will usually require more fabric than the 4” extra on each side to allow enough for squaring and trimming. If the backing needs to be pieced, sew the pieces together with a ½” seam and press open. Remove selvages from the seam, since they will cause puckering. It is okay to leave the selvages on the outer edges.
- The quilt top should be free of any 3 dimensional embellishments such as beads, buttons.
- Straight borders cut from the length of the grain (parallel to the selvage) lay flatter than those cut across the grain. Measure your quilt at several places across the center of the quilt before cutting your borders. Pin the borders to the quilt by matching centers, ends and quarters, and ease the quilt into the borders. Avoid handling your quilt by the borders once they have been attached. This can stretch the borders and lead to extra fullness in them.