How to make your quilting go smoothly and produce amazing results!

Measure your borders! After the work of piecing your whole quilt top, it’s tempting to quickly sew strips of border fabric on without measuring. However, this tends to throw the top “out of square” and makes it extra difficult to longarm satisfactorily. I use techniques to shrink and spread different areas to make the finished quilting look as best as it can. But these take time, and there’s only so much correction I can apply. If you measure your quilt top, then measure your border fabric, then pin the borders on before sewing them, your quilt top will be much closer to square, avoiding these problems.

While piecing the top, press the seams as you go. Once the top is done, press the whole thing once again. If not pressed, the top is more likely to bunch up in small areas into pleats and tucks as it’s long-armed. I can watch for that and correct, but the best way to prevent this is pressing.

Trim off loose threads from the piecing, because these can catch the foot of the machine and then pull the thread or even tear the quilt.  I’ll trim or hide any loose threads that I come across, but they can be easy to miss.

Backing fabric should be 8″ – 10″ larger than the pieced top overall (at least 4″ to 5″ larger than the quilt on each side). This is necessary to load the quilt properly on the longarm machine. Also, batting and backing can shrink slightly during quilting, so we want to make sure there is enough.

Please note I can’t accept Luxe Cuddle or Faux Fur fabric for your backing because these tend to jam the machine. Also, quilting these fabrics tangles their plush threads and does not leave a good appearance.

If you’re piecing the backing, first trim all selvage off, because selvage doesn’t have as much give as the rest of the fabric. Often, this difference can distort the quilt, especially after washing. Use a 1/2″ to 5/8″ seam and press it open.

If you use a serger to piece quilt tops and applique, you should use a 4-thread machine/stitch. A 3-thread stitch is good for finishing raw fabric edges; however, if you sew fabrics together with a 3-thread stitch, they can be pulled apart very easily.

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