Preparing your quilt for a long arm quilter
Keep your quilt top and backing separate. Do not baste together. Each piece is rolled separately onto the quilting machine.
Backing- Please make your backing 6-8 inches wider than your top. Backing should be squared up and edges straight. Do not leave selvages in the pieced seams of your backing. Selvages are a tighter weave than the rest of the fabric and will cause puckers in the back around the seam. The backing plays a very important role when loading your quilt on a longarm frame. A flat and square backing creates a nice foundation for the quilting and the result is a nice flat quilt that will hang beautifully.
Top- Top must be square and lay flat, trim loose threads, stay stitch 1/8” around your edges if they are pieced so that the seams are not pulled apart when it is rolled onto the long arm machine.
Borders- It is very important to have your borders properly squared. When they are not squared and all wonky it becomes very challenging to load the quilt on the long arm machine and you could end up with tucks sewn into your quilt.
- Determine the length of the quilt border by measuring your quilt body in 3 places (not right along the edges- go 2 to 3 inches in from the edge). Average the 3 measurements to get the border length.
- Cut two borders that length and pin them to opposite sides of the quilt. Match the ends and centers, then gently ease in any fullness.
- Pin, sew and press.
- Repeat for the top and bottom borders measuring the width in three places and averaging to get your border length.
The following is information my fellow quilters are already aware of, but if you have inherited a quilt top and you are not a quilter, below is a brief description of longarm quilting.
Longarm quilting is a process of sewing together a quilt top, quilt batting and a quilt backing fabric to form a finished quilt. It begins by rolling the quilt top and the quilt backing onto separate rollers on the long arm machine. The batting is then sandwiched between the top and back fabrics. All three layers are then quilted together with designs to form the quilting. Machines are guided freehand by the quilter, by following a pantograph or by a computer.
There are many options for quilting designs.
Designs can be the same design across the entire quilt, which is called edge to edge.
Custom quilting is quilting that accentuates the piecing and may have different designs in the borders, quilt center or individual blocks.
Free motion is the quilter guiding the machine using their own ideas and designs.
Pantographs are printed designs which the quilter follows along using a laser pointer attached to the long arm machine.
Computerized quilting is a design produced on the computer by the quilter. The machine is connected to the computer and the machine is moved via the computer back and forth across the table with belts that are attached to the machine.
If you would like more information or need help deciding what to do with your quilt top contact me and I will help you decide the best options for finishing your quilt.