Top 13 ways to prepare your quilt top before bringing it for machine quilting.

  1. Make sure the quilt top lays flat. If the top is flared or has extra fullness, the quilt cannot be pulled out.  I can possibly take out some of the fullness with quilting patterns or styles that disguises this problem. This does not assure however that there may not be some puckering or tucks around the edges.
  2. Press your quilt top. Turn your quilt top over and make sure the seams lie flat and are pressed in opposite directions so as to minimize thick seam junctures.
  3. Is the quilt top square? Measure the center vertically. Then measure the outside edges vertically. If there is more than a ½ inch difference, it is possible that your quilt will have tucks when quilted. Do the same measurements horizontally.
  4. Check quilt top for loose threads. Make sure there are no dark threads showing through lighter fabrics. If these threads are not trimmed, they will end up being quilted and they will permanently show through on the front. If your seams on the edge of the quilt unravel easily, run a basting stitch down the seam thus preventing further unraveling.
  5. Do not baste or layer your quilt.
  1. If your quilt has a definite direction to it or you want one edge to definitely be the top, pin a note to that edge.
    -Press the top and watch the directions the seams are pressed, especially if ditch-type quilting is to be done.
  2. Do not add embellishments such as buttons, beads, ribbons to the quilt top prior to the quilting process as they may get in the way of the needle. I can work around most appliques and special folds.
  3. The flatter the top is from the start, the better the quilting job will be.
  4. 100% cotton fabric is best, or a fabric to match those used in the top.
    -Decide if you want to pre-wash the fabric.
    -If seams are necessary to get the back large enough, trim the selvage edge from the seams and press them open. It is easier to do this if the seams are sewn at 1/2 inch.
  5. Also, watch the grainline of the fabrics. The grainlines of any pieces sewn together should match or there could be distortion in the quilting process.
  6. Size for backing: the backing must be 4 to 6 inches larger than the quilt top. This allows space for the pinning process and for the layering that takes place.
    -Since I need a true straight edge to pin to the canvas, the backing must be square and straight. Make sure the back is trim and straight.
  7. I can pre-wash, add seams, press, or square up the backing for a small fee.
  8. Batting also needs to be 4 to 6 inches larger than the quilt top. This allows space for the pinning process and for the layering that takes place. The thicker battings need extra inches for the rolling process.
    -Remember to purchase batting recommended for longarm quilting, some are too thin or not bonded.
    -Batting is one of those items that you “get what you pay for”. Beware, the cheaper the batting the poorer the quality. The quality of a batting will have an effect on the finished quilt.
    -Also, consider the purpose of the quilt when choosing the batting. Will it be on a bed, hung on a wall, or be used as a blanket. Some battings stretch more than others, some shrink more, and some are more durable.
    -If you have questions on batting, give me a call and we can talk about it.

Monique Wilson



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