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How To Prepare Your Quilts For Longarm Machine Quilting

The better you prepare your quilt, the better it will be when finished. We are very good at what we do, but we can't work miracles. Please review this page carefully. It is very important that you follow these guidelines. By making sure a few things are taken care of ahead of time you can keep your cost down, reduce the time it takes to get your quilt finished, and most importantly, make sure your quilt is a beautiful finished product.


This means it must measure 6 inches longer and 6 inches wider than your quilt top. For example, if your quilt top measures 64" wide and 90" long, the backing must be 70" wide and 96" long. This very important because if the back is not big enough we cannot attach your quilt to the machine. If your backing is not big enough we can add material to make it work (extra charge). However you may end up with some different colored fabric on the back of your quilt!

Your best choice is a wide width good quality cotton or good quality muslin quilt back fabric. Quilt back fabrics come in wide widths so no piecing is required. Low quality backing material is prone to stretching and fold overs. You spend a lot of time on money on the top - please do not scrimp on the backing. We can provide high qulity backing if needed.

We do not accept bed sheets for backing!

Pieced backings should be sewn with seams running horizontal.

Please be aware we cannot see the back when quilting. Pieced backings greatly increase the chance for tucks and fold overs on the back. Vertical seams can make it even worse. Pieced backings should be pressed with seams open. Unless you want nice little words and funny colors showing on your quilt all selvages should be trimmed off prior to piecing. If you are hoping to have perfect borders on the back or something centered on the back of your quilt you will probably be disappointed. Extreme care must be taken with pieced backs to make sure they are very square and flat.

Check your quilt for extra or stretched fabric.

This by far is the most common problem we see. This often happens when attaching borders, but can occur anywhere in the quilt top. When placed on a firm smooth surface the quilt top should lay flat. If you see any tenting or bubbles these areas may end up with small folds or overlaps when quilted. If there is too much extra fabric, even if we slow the machine down and manually adjust as we quilt, tucks and overlaps may occur.

Make sure quilt top is square.

If you measure your quilt in all directions there should not be more than a 1/4" difference in any direction. Measurements should be taken at both ends and middle of both length and width and across both diagonals (corner to corner). We can make only minor adjustments to length and width of borders and patterns to compensate for out-of-square quilts. Make sure edges are straight.

Make sure seams are secure.

If you have loose seams, the machine will find them! If your top has no borders, stay-stitch 1/4" in all the way around the edge. This keeps the seams from "popping" and prevents stretching when attaching it to the canvas on the rollers. Please, no serger stitching. All loose threads should be removed.

Your quilt top should be well pressed with seams closed. Care should be taken to press seams toward similar colors. If you press a dark colored fabric to a light colored fabric the dark fabric may show through your quilt top!

DO NOT pin, baste, or use adhesives to attached top to batting and backing. We will need to take it all apart in order to quilt. We cannot quilt any materials that have adhesives applied.

Embellishments: Please wait to add these after quilting. We cannot quilt over them and they may interfere with machine movement! In the event we need to remove emblellishments to complete you quilt these will be returned to you with your quilt so you may re-attach them.

Prairie Points, Pockets, etc.
If your quilt top has any overlaps, pockets, or other loose fabric it must be must be temporarily tacked down for quilting.

Directional quilt tops & backs:
Mark the top of the quilt so we will know which way the quilting pattern should run. If the backing has a top and bottom, please mark that also. (Safety pin a note to indicate the top)

We supply high quality batting at very competitive prices. Due to the requirements of long arm quilting we generally only use batting we provide. Any batting you supply must meet our quality and size requirements for longarm quilting.

We use only thread we supply that is designed for machine quilting. We use Omni Threads and keep several colors on hand. You may also specify colors, however, if we do not have them in stock it will increase the turnaround time for your quilt.

All quilts will be returned trimmed even with the quilt top unless you request us return your quilt untrimmed. This is important if you plan to roll backing for your binding.