Preparing Your Quilt Top for Professional Completion
Take the time to prepare your quilt top properly
to ensure the beauty of your final project.
Measure your top at both sides and the middle. Average these measurements (a+b+c=d; d/3=length you should cut your border). Do this for both vertical and horizontal borders. Then simply pin and then stitch the borders to match your quilt. This should give you a square quilt, plus your borders will not be wavy. (If the difference between any of these three measurements is more than an inch, you should consider finding the problem in your top and fixing it before attaching borders.)
Do not put embellishments on until after I have quilted the quilt. The hopping foot is likely to knock them off, break them or bounce off them, which will dramatically affect the quality of the stitching.
Preparation of Completed Top
- Trim and remove lose threads.
- Mark the top edge of both the quilt and the backing.
- Square and press your quilt. Seams should be pressed to the dark side, or as necessary. If you are requesting stitch in the ditch (SID) quilting, press all seams carefully!
- If your top has a pieced or bias outer edge, stay-stitch 1/8 inch from the outer edge to prevent seams from opening.
- Make sure the batting and backing are 6 inches longer and wider (or larger if necessary) than the top. Call me if you are uncertain!
- Prewash your backing.
- Trim selvedges from the backing fabric, piece it as necessary, and iron flat, pressing any seams open.
- If you have pieced your back, try to not make it symmetrical – this is very hard to set up in both (side to side, top to bottom) directions. Consider using your scraps from the top, use wider seams (up to 5/8”) and press all backing seams open!
- Square up your backing; do not leave long sections thinking your quilter will ‘just deal’ with it.
What do you want in the design of your quilting? This can be a difficult decision, and may be the biggest reason you’ve hired a long arm quilter. While you may trust me to ‘do the right thing’, you still must participate!
Do you have a set design or feel in mind? Are you leaning towards traditional or modern, dense or open, or maybe fun or thoughtful?
Do you want an all-over design? Special treatment in each block and border? Or a pattern that complements the fabric?
You don’t have to decide the specific stitched elements, but with this sort of input from you, the possibilities are endless. Together, we’ll get everything right for you.
You’ve put hours into your quilt, don’t sell it short by making it with the crappy materials. Bad fabric, batting or cheap thread will ruin an heirloom – you should see my grandmother’s quilts. And I cannot use your thread as my machine is finicky and requires special love (just like your quilts).
You are welcoming me into your design process. Let’s build a relationship – you and I are a team. When we are open and honest, all this works better. If you are expecting me to press, trim, repair, and remove dog fur (or anything else) from your top, please expect to pay my hourly wage.
What if it’s not right?
Usually, if something isn’t right, I’ll call you to discuss it. This may be open stitching or a wonky design that we discussed but when I started quilting, it just didn’t fit. If it was a misunderstanding, we’ll work together to make it right. If you have problems, please call! I want this to be a good experience for both of us.