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I'm a retired attorney, mother of three, Grandma, Samoyed mom, beekeeper, swarm catcher, quilter and lover of all things Oklahoma.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Preparing Your Quiltop for Longarm Quilting.

Make sure the thread ends are trimmed Stray threads can show through the finished quilt and after all the expense, love and effort you’ve put into making your creation, you just don’t want that to happen.  It will drive you absolutely nuts every time you look at it.

Ask me how I know...

Press your quilt top seams flat.  This is really important and can make a big difference in the final look of the quilt.  It doesn’t have to be perfect (believe me, we’ve all had twisted seams) but you really want to iron them as flat as you can.  Work on the seams from the back, then iron from the top (front) so it quilts easier and doesn’t wreck havoc on the tension. 

Do your best to get the sides square/avoid waves in the borders.  Speaking from experience from when I was a new quilter, ahem, there is only so much a longarm quilter can do if the quilt is running wild!    My best advice 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.  Good luck!

Make sure the quilt is clean.  Most of the time this is no problem but if you smoke and the quilt has absorbed the aroma, it can affect other quilts or the canvas on my machine.  Because of that, I wouldn’t be able to accept it before it had a bath.  J

Your quilt backing must be a MINIMUM of 4" bigger than your quilt top on each side.  That means a total of 8" longer and 8" wider. 

If you are piecing the backing, trim off the selvages, first, because they don’t shrink at the same rate as the rest of the quilt.  You won’t like the result after it is washed if you leave those selvages in. 

Although we quilters typically use a quarter inch seam on the top, remember to use a 1/2- 5/8" seam on the backing and press the seam open. 

Square up your quilt backing.  This is important because if it isn’t square, it won’t work with the longarm.  You can do this by folding it in quarters and using your rotary cutter and rulers to trim it even.  Just make sure the back ends up at least 8" longer and wider than the quilt top.

Press the backing. 

You need batting the same size as the backing.  

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