Your top should be squared, pressed and free of extraneous threads or wavy borders. Here’s why:
Not Squared? Don’t expect it to magically be squared after quilting. I know that would be nice and all, but that won’t necessarily happen. I don’t have a magic wand to help you in this department. It will be more difficult to load onto the frame and the quilt may not be square after quilting. There are tricks I can do to ease in fullness, but the best solution is to start with a square quilt.
Not Pressed? You don’t really want me to quilt your creases and wrinkles into your lovely quilt, now do you? I don’t want to do that to you, either!
If your seams extend to the edge of the quilt, stay-stitch them 1/8” in from the outer edge so that they do not unravel during the quilting phase. The longarm has a hopping foot that is low and that foot can grab and rip open seams that are already loose or open on the top.
Dangling Threads? If they are on the underside of your pieced top, they may show through the quilt once they are sandwiched between the batting and the pieced top. If they are dark threads, expect them to show through that beautiful white fabric you used on the top. Not a good thing, I know. Take the time to prepare all that hard work. I know it’s yet another step in your process, but your quilt is certainly worth it!
Wavy borders? This goes back to the missing magic wand. A quilt needs to lie flat (or nearly flat) on a longarm frame in order to achieve the best possible result. Wonder if your border is wavy? Lay it on a flat surface and measure the width of it at the edges and across the middle. If these measurements vary by 1″ or more, you definitely have a wavy border… my deepest sympathy to you. Wavy borders can be fixed slightly with a change in quilting pattern, but not all fullness of a border can always be taken in. Folds or tucks or pleats may have to occur during the longarming process and if your border is too wavy to achieve a good end result, I reserve the right to tell you and let you decide how you wish to fix it.
Backings need, most importantly, to be squared and AT LEAST 10″ wider and 10″ longer than the quilt top. No exceptions. If your quilt top is 80″x80″, the backing needs to be 90″x90″. That extra room is necessary to load your quilt onto the huge longarm frame and attach it to the side supports. Without it, the longarm simply can’t reach everywhere to quilt. IF custom ruler work is to be done, that minimum requirement is 12″ wider and 12″ longer than the quilt top, as rulers require a base that is hooked to the head of the machine and that base requires more room to manuever. It’s just that cut and dried. 🙁
Backings that are pieced need to have their seam pressed either open or to one side and will be loaded onto the longarm with the seam running horizontally. This is the best way to get consistent tension across the quilt while it is on-frame and consistent tension leads to consistent stitching. You and I both like consistent stitching or we wouldn’t be in this hobby or business!
Batting must be at least 8″ wider and 8″ longer than the quilt top. No exceptions. Longarms need to be tensioned with each bobbin or upper thread change and this extra room is needed to test the tension. I don’t want to test thread tension on your quilt top and you don’t either!
You can use your batting* or I can supply batting to you. If you are providing your own batting, please cut it so that it is no larger than 4 inches of additional room on each edge in relation to the quilt top, or there will be an upcharge for cutting your batting to size.
I currently provide:
Quilters Dream White Cotton Select: This is a 100% mid-loft cotton batting. Natural Cotton Mid-loft can be specially ordered if requested.
Quilters Dream Natural Cotton Deluxe: This is a 100% higher-loft cotton batting. Natural Cotton Mid-loft can be specially ordered if requested.
Quilters Dream Black Poly Select: This is a 100% poly batting of fine denier microfibers of solid black. This is an excellent choice for darker quilt tops and backings.
Quilters Dream Poly Select: This is a 100% poly batting of fine denier microfibers in white. This is an excellent choice for lighter quilt tops and backings.
Quilters Dream Blend Select: This is a mid-loft blend of 70% cotton and 30% poly with an ultra-light scrim base.
Quilters Dream Superwash Wool: This is a thermally bonded blend of Merino and domestic wool with a light yet lofty feel. This is a washable wool batting.
Quilters Dream Puff: This is an exceptionally warm, thermally bonded puff poly.
There are additional Quilters Dream battings that are possible through special order. Ask me about other options if you are interested in another Quilters Dream product.
IF, you are wanting a show quilt with improved stiffness, talk to me about doing a double batting in your piece. I can give you a suggestion or two on what battings to combine for optimum effect. There is no extra charge in the quilting of this; there is only the additional charge for the additional batting.
*If you are supplying your own batting, please know that some battings will not quilt nicely and I reserve the right to deny your batting choice. I do not say this as a means to upset you… Some battings simply will not hold up to the longarm quilting process. Remember, you get what you pay for in batting, so please don’t put a cheap batting under your beautiful quilt. You get a better result and it’s lifetime will be greatly extended with a quality batting. Your beautiful quilt deserves good batting!
PLEASE, I BEG OF YOU, DO NOT BASTE OR PIN YOUR QUILT TOGETHER. This is an industrial longarm machine and not a domestic machine. It works best when it is in three separate layers. In fact, I cannot and will not load it onto the frame if it basted or pinned.