Preparing Your Quilt

There are many factors that contribute to a beautifully longarmed quilt. These tips will ensure the best results for machine quilting on a longarm machine.

The more accurate your piecing is, the better the outcome. The quilt top, batting, and backing are all secured to three rails that are all parallel to one another. For this reason, the top and backing must be square to ensure a satisfactory outcome. You can get more accurate piecing results by using a smaller stitch length (2 mm) and pressing.

One of the most difficult aspects of finishing a quilt top is borders that have not been properly measured before sewing. Borders that are not properly measured and applied may appear wavy or puckered because they were either too long or too short. No amount of quilting can fix this problem. For accurate borders, measure your quilt in three places along the length - add these three measurements and divide by 3 to get the average. This is the length you should cut your side borders. Mark the center of the quilt side, and the center of the border, then pin from the center out to the sides so that the ends line up. Sew on your side borders. You will repeat this process for your top and bottom borders.

Backing should measure at least 3" larger than the quilt top on all four sides.
Backing fabric should be 100% cotton. If using a pieced backing with standard yardage, seams should be sewn with a ½-inch seam allowance and pressed open. Since I typically use the same color thread for both top and bobbin, you should take that into account when selecting a backing fabric - either selecting a fabric where the stitches will blend in or stand out, depending upon your personal preference.