Frequently asked questions of a longarm quilter.
How do I prepare my quilt for longarm quilting?
Your quilt top and backing need to be pressed, threads cut. Do not baste the back, batting and quilt top. The three layers are loaded onto the quilt frame separately so there is no need for you to spend time basting the layers.
The quilt must also lay flat and be square. The dimension across the top of the pieced top should be the same as across the bottom of the quilt. The dimension from one side of the quilt to the other side of the quilt should be the same at the top, middle and bottom. The borders should not have extra fullness.
The backing must be square so that when it is attached to the rollers the quilt travels evenly from the front to the take-up roller.
The selvage must be removed from the backing.
Backing and batting must be at least 8 to 12 inches, wider and longer than quilt top. (See below)
Do not baste or pin the three layers together.
If your quilt top has a particular direction safety-pin a tag to the top and mark the tag as the top. If the back has a particular direction, safety-pin a tag to the top and mark the tag as the top.
Why do you need at least 8 extra inches of back and batting material?
Once loaded onto the quilting frame the quilt is held onto the quilting frame by the front roller bar and the take-up roller bar. It is also necessary during quilting to hold the fabric on the side so the fabric is held secure. This helps to assure that we don’t have any creases or a pucker in the back. To hold it firm I use a side-clamp to graph some of the back material. You can imagine that you need a bit of extra material for the clamp to hold onto away from the sewing head.
Also, the clamp will temporary distort the back material just a bit. By providing at least an extra 4 inches of fabric on each side, the distortion occurs close to the clamp and far away from your quilted design.
Please notice that I wrote at least 4 inches on each side. That means your back and batting should be at least 8 inches longer and wider than your quilt top. Providing a back and batting that is 10 or 12 inches longer and wider than your top material is not only quite acceptable but it is preferred.
What happens to this extra material? Will you return this material?
After machine quilting is complete, your quilt will be trimmed to remove excess
back fabric and batting at no charge to you. This excess back fabric and batting
will be returned to you.
Why can’t I put embellishments on my quilt before you quilt it?
Embellishments I am referring to are beads, buttons or any other object that is not fabric. Understand that the quilt top when loaded onto the quilting frame is attached using clips to a roller. The top is then rolled around this roller. An embellishment could pierce the other quilt layers while it is in this rolled position. Next, during the quilting process, the needle could hit the embellishment resulting in a broken needle and, or a tear in your quilt top. Once an area is quilted, the quilted top section is rolled onto a roller while the next section is quilted. Again, an embellishment could pierce the other quilt layers while it is in this rolled position.
For all, it is much safer to add the embellishments after the quilt is quilted.