Preparing Your Quilt

Preparing Your Quilt

There are a few steps you need to take to prepare your quilt before you bring it to me.

  1. Measure the quilt top and backing to make sure that it is square (note: this does not that the quilt itself is square – i.e., with the same length and width – but that the corners are square and that opposite sides of the quilt are the same length). The quilt should measure the same across the top, middle, and bottom, and the sides should be the same measurement  (in other words, check both orientations).
  2. Do not use bias seams in your borders. Bias seams have extra stretch and your quilt can end up having angel wings on the corners! The best way to determine the length to cut your borders is to measure the width of the quilt in four places – top, bottom, one third of the way down and two thirds down. Take the average of these lengths (though hopefully they are all about the same). Cut the border this length and pin on the ends first, then ease the fabric in. Pinning the borders in place helps avoid stretching as you sew – remember to let the machine feed the borders through, don’t tug. Repeat for the long side of the quilt top.
  3. Measure the quilt backing and batting — they each need to be six inches longer and wider than the quilt top. That equals three inches extra on each side. This is needed for the quilting machine clamps that draw the back taught and in case the quilt is not square or draws up when quilted.
  4. If you piece the back, cut off the selvages on the seamed side. Selvages are stiffer and thicker and so if you remove them, the back will be more supple. Press the seam open.
  5. Press your quilt top, pressing seams to the dark side where possible.
  6. Trim loose threads, especially where dark threads will show through light fabric. If there are excess untrimmed threads on the back when you give it to me, I may need to charge you for trimming threads.
  7. Make sure all seams are securely sewn. Stay stitch along the edges if there is heavy piecing to make sure those seams edges do no come unsewn. Check for spots where the seam allowance might be frayed or too narrow, causing a gap. It takes time to check for open seams, but it is worth it as they are difficult to fix once they are on the long arm machine.
  8. Please, do not use sheets for backing. The weave is too tight and they cause tension problems. If you are looking for beautiful extra wide backing, check out SewBatik.com. They have beautiful backings and even have a good sale section.If you purchase backing from SewBatik and use my name and long arm account number (LAP 1529 in the Special Instructions section) then I will give you a discount on quilting services.
  9. Do not baste your layers together!