Cottage Chintz Long Arm Quilting Services

HINTS - How to Prepare Your Quilt for Quilting

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We all want our quilting experiences to be the best! So here are some hints on how to best prepare your quilt for quilting. Always feel free to ask me any questions, whether you use my services or not!

Quilt Top

1. Make sure your quilt top has been pressed and all threads cleaned up. Trailing dark threads can really detract from the quilt if they are caught between layers.
2. It is very important that your top be square. If you find that one side is more than 1 inch off, hmmm, you are going to have a bit of a problem. I can handle it, but it does affect outcome.
3. Check to be sure all seams are sewn securely. Twisted seams should be corrected so your quilt lays down flat. While you are at it, just stitch 1/8 of an inch away from your pieced top - that prevents the possibility of any seams popping open.
4. Make sure all borders (inner and outer) are not wavy. If you lay your quilt down and it does not lay flat, you have wavy borders. I have a hint to eliminate that, so keep reading!

Backing

1. Should be similar to the thread color being used on the top, as I use the same color thread on top and in the bobbin.
2. Fabrics should be 100% cotton to get the best results. Sheets are not appropriate for quilt backings.
3. Remove all selvages - Selvages are made with chemicals and are heavier than the rest of the fabric.
4. Backings and batting (if supplied) need to be 4-6 inches larger on all sides of the quilt. For example if you have a 60x60 quilt, you will need to supply backing and batting in the size of 68x68 minimum. This will supply the needed 4 on all sides of the quilt.
5. Make sure backing is cut square also. Use a 90 degree ruler to verify. Sharon Schambers gives a great tutorial on this.
6. Press all seams open in the backing! Less bulk for the needle to go over!
7. Using lengthwise grain, not horizontal, for the length of the quilt will ensure that your top will not be slightly twisted. Remember the quilt backing is tightened on a rack, and horizontal seams stretch!

Your quilt will be quilted in the condition it is receive and will be as free of puckers, pleats, and tucks as your piecing will allow. No one is perfect! So I understand! Let me know if you need assistance!

Note: Quilts with embellishments cannot be machine quilted. Plan to add your embellishments after quilting is complete.

Squaring Borders

Wavy Borders will cause pleats or bulk. I can try using steam and added batting, but the best way to resolve it is to attach the border correctly! Now when I first started quilting, I just zipped that border on - but that can cause havoc on a rack where your quilt is expected to be square (dumb machines). My twin sister Nadine came up with this super easy way (yah, I'll give you the more complex way as well) to ensure your borders fit properly.

1. Use the Lengthwise Grain whenever possible. The lengthwise grain does not stretch!
2. Measure across the center of the quilt first, add of an inch to the measurement. Cut the border to this measurement. This will ensure that the quilt squares up every time.
3. Find the middle of the border, pin it. Now divide it in half again, using only one half of the border, then do the other side (you are "quartering" it).
4. Do Step 3 to the side of the quilt you are sewing. Match the pins and sew!

The other way to do? Measure the middle of the quilt, then the sides and take the average. Cut the border to the average length. You still have to follow steps 3 and 4 above, though!! No escaping that. It allows you to "ease" the border in, and you won't be pulling at it (we rush to get those borders on, don't we?) and creating a wave.

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