PNW Quilting

Quilt Prep

Please review this page carefully. It is very important that you follow these guidelines.

 By making sure a few things are considered ahead of time you can keep your costs down and ensure your quilt looks great!

Ask yourself these questions.

1.  Are the thread ends trimmed?  Stray threads can show through the finished quilt and detract from the beauty of your finished quilt.   Trim stray threads before bringing the quilt in.

2.  Is the quilt top pressed so the seams are flat?  This is really important and can make a big difference in the final look of the quilt.  It is okay if some of the seams are twisted; that happens when you quilt.  But you really want to iron them as flat as you can.  Iron from the finished side (the front), and use starch or sizing, it will be easier to handle and quilt.  Please bring it in pressed, trimmed and placed on a heavy duty hanger.

3.  Do the borders lay flat or are they wavy?    Follow these steps for correct border length. Fold the quilt in half lengthwise and measure the center of the quilt and make the side borders the same length as the center measurement, NOT the edge measurement. 

After you attach the side borders, fold the quilt in half the other way and measure the crosswise center (including the borders you just put on) and make the other borders the same length as that center measurement, not the edge measurement.  Pattern makers tell you how long to make the borders, but most seams are not perfect 1/4 inch, so what works perfectly in a pattern may not work on your quilt. 

4.  Lay your quilt out on a bed or floor…. Does it lay flat?  If so, you are a VERYneat, precise quilter!  If they don’t, DO NOT take the whole quilt apart.  There a few tricks a good quilter can use to handle a little unevenness. On the other hand, if a block is way out of whack, you probably should consider re-doing it.

5.  Is the quilt clean?  Please be sure your quilt is clean before bringing it in.

6. How big should the backing and batting be?  Your quilt back and batting should be a MINIMUM of 3-4" bigger than your quilt top on each side.  That means a total of 6-8" longer and 6-8" wider.  We use that fabric to attach the quilt to the bars and side clamps of the quilting frame.  The side edges are also used to check thread tension of the machine so your quilt looks and feels great when you are using it.. Remember, backs and batting tend to shrink up during the quilting process.  If they are the same size as your top, you will be asked to make them bigger or we will do it for you and charge you for the work and fabric.

7.  Do you want the extra 3-4” of backing and batting trimmed? If so, we will trim it even with the top edge.

Remember that cotton batting shrinks 2-6%.  Batting provided off a roll has not been preshrunk.  You should take into account the shrinkage when making the quilt to fit a particular size bed or be responsible for preshrinking the batting.  The same rules apply to batting as to backing.  It needs to be 6" larger on all sides to allow for shrinkage caused by the machine quilting process.

8.  Did you piece the back?   (A quick tip for nicer looking quilts: be sure to trim the selvages off.  They will shrink unevenly when you wash the quilt and create a puckered line.) 

Please use a 1/2- 5/8" seam and press the seam open.  This minimizes the bulk in one area as the quilt back rolls on the frame and minimizes any resulting waves.  Ideally, the quilt back can be loaded so the seam runs parallel to the bars, taking the bulkiness of the seam out of the equation, but that may not always be possible, just be sure to discuss the back seams when we set up your quilt.

9. Did you square up your quilt back?    You can do this by folding it in quarters and using your rotary cutter and rulers to trim it even.  Just be sure the back ends up at least 6-8" longer and wider than the quilt top.

10. More about batting? We supply high quality batting from the WARM Co. at very competitive prices. Due to the requirements of long arm quilting we generally only use batting we provide.  Any batting you supply must meet our quality and size requirements.

11. What about THREAD?  We use only thread specifically designed for machine quilting. We use primarily Magna Glide by Fil-Tec a 100% polyester thread and keep many popular colors on hand. You may specify colors, however, if we do not have them in stock it will increase the turnaround time for your quilt. Thread changes, variegated threads and other brands are available at additional cost.

Some Final Notes:

Embellishments: Please wait to add these AFTER quilting. We cannot quilt over them and they may interfere with machine movement!. 

Prairie Points, Pockets, etc.
If your quilt top has any overlaps, pockets, or other loose fabric it must be temporarily tacked down for quilting.

Directional quilt tops & backs:
Mark the top of the quilt so we will know which way the quilting pattern should run.  If the backing has a top and bottom, please mark that also. (Safety pin a note to indicate the top).