There are a few things that you can do to improve the final product before handing over your quilt to be professionaly quilted. These things will help make sure that the finished quilt is everything you had hoped!
Perhaps the single largest thing you can do to influence that the final product is what you want it to make sure that the quilt is square before quilting. There is an idea that things like wavy borders and hourglass shaped quilts can be fixed during quilting. This isn’t true. It doesn’t quilt out, it quilts in.
Quilts often become a little “wonky” as we piece due to seam allowances, bias edges, etc. Your chance to make the quilt square again and remove wave in the quilt is when you add your borders.
- After you have finished your top, spend time giving it a good press. Iron from the back to make sure that you iron seams in one direction.
- Measure the quilt from top to bottom in the middle. This is your true quilt height.
- Measure the quilt from top to bottom on the left and the right. If this measurement is vastly off from the center measurement you may want to go back and adjust a few of you blocks to bring the measurements more inline.
- If they are pretty close, cut your border fabric, best lengthwise grain since it has the least amount of stretch, to the center measurement.
- Mark the center of the right side of the quilt and the center of the left side of the quilt. Find the center of the border fabric and starting in the center pin to the quilt top. Now move up and down pining. Easing if you need to do so.
- Sew the borders on.
- Now you repeat the process for determinging the length of your top and bottom borders. Start by measuring the width of your top with its new borders. This is your true quilt width.
- At the end you should have the top that is now square and true!
- Give your top a good pressing. Do it from the back to make sure that the seams lay the way you want.
- While you have the quilt turned over, trim any loose threads. Focus especially on those that might shine through on the back of lighter fabrics.
- Make sure that you don’t have any seams that are pulling open around the outside edges. (Especially if you don’t have a border fabric) The easiest way to do this is by stay stiching the perimeter of your quilt about 1/8″ from the edge of the quilt. This will ensure that your seams can’t pull open.
- If your quilt was appliqued or paperpieced, make sure that you don’t have any holes where the applique wasn’t sewn all the way down or where paper from paperpiecing was pulled away from the seam.
- Mark the top left corner of your quilt with a safety pin.
- Don’t baste your quilt together with batting and backing. The longarm machine will take care of doing this job.
- If you have plans to add embellishments to your quilt top, don’t add these until after the quilt has been quilted. It is not possible to sew across beads, buttons, crystals, trinkets, etc during the quilting process.
Backing and batting
- Because of the way that quilts are mounted on the longarm, it is imperative that both the back and the batting be at least 6″ – 8″ wider and longer than your finished top.
- Please mark the top left of the back with a safety pin.
- If your backing is pieced, make sure that the seam is pressed all in the same direction. It is ok to use a wider 1/2″ seam on the back if you prefer for sturdiness.
Remember – things don’t quilt out, they quilt in. So take the time to fix any problems with your top before handing it over to be quilted and you will be much happier with the end result!