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Thursday, December 13, 2012


Here a just a few tips and things you may, or may not know when taking your finished top and backing to your favorite long-arm quilter.

When a long-arm quilter places your top, batting and backing onto their machine - they need the ability to set it on a frame, which means they need extra fabric to roll onto that frame so they can do the actual quilting onto your entire top. So...

What you need to know about your backing before taking it to a long-arm quilter:

1. Provide your long-arm quilter with enough yardage for the backing that not only fits your top, but has an extra 4-6" around it so that they can load it onto their machine properly and have the ability to quilt the entire top.
2. When putting together your backing, ideally you should run the backing lengthwise (horizontally even though that might entail more yardage). The reason is it provides additional stability.
3. It is truly very difficult for a long-arm quilter to center your backing perfectly. So unless your backing demands that it be center, it really shouldn't matter where the seam falls (if the backing is pieced).Here are a few tips to help prevent that from happening before you take it to your long-arm quilter:

Additionally with all the lovely and beautiful quilt designs long-arm quilters can do, well sometimes between the movement of their stitching and the design it can cause your top to become a bit stretched or off-center.  Especially if you have a lot of bias pieces in your top.  Here are a few tips to help prevent that from happening:

1.  When placing your border onto your quilt, unless the design demands it, make sure that you place the border on-grain.
2.  Especially if your border or overall quilt has a lot of bias pieces in it:
     a. First cut the selvages off your backing (assuming you've provided your long-arm quilter with that extra 4-6 inches for them to grab and work with). 
     b.  Take the selvages and stay stitch them around the edges of your top for extra stability.
3.  Simply stay stitch your top.


Jen said...

Sorry, these questions may be a bit novice (but they are sincere):

1. When you say that the backing fabric should be used length-wise, I'm not sure I am clear. If My piece of backing fabric that I have is 44" wide (a standard, not wide quilting fabric) and 1 yard long, then would I have 1 yard running from top to bottom of quilt or 44" running from top to bottom?

2. What does this mean: "stay stitch"?

Thank you!

The Cotton Club Blog said...


Thanks for your question and remember all questions are good questions. First I'd like to say that this particular blog was to mostly convey the importance of stabilizing your top before sending it off to your long-arm quilter. This helps them in keeping your quilt as "square" as possible.

Therefore, "stay stitch" means just running a 1/4" stitch along the edge of your top. This helps to stabilize the top and not be pulled out of shape when your long-arm quilter begins to work on it.

As for making and placing the backing onto your quilt. Yes, you would have 1 yard, 36", long running top to bottom because again you are looking to create stability and running the length of the fabric from top to bottom of your quilt does that.

I hope this helps to clear things up.

The Cotton Club