Longarm Quilting - Top 10 Quilt Prep Tips - On Pins & Needles Quilting Co.

As a professional longarm quilter I often get asked tips to consider when bringing your quilts to be quilted on a longarm quilting machine. Following these tips can help your longarm quilter produce the best possible finished product for you.

  1. Backing - Backing needs to be at least 4" longer and 4" wider than your quilt top. This gives your quilter enough extra fabric to pin, clamp or load your quilt on their machine. It also gives the machine head enough room to go all the way to the edge of the quilt top without anything else getting in the way.
  2. Batting - If you choose to provide your own batting, please make sure it is at least 3" longer and 3" wider than the length and width of your quilt.
  3. Pressing - Please make sure all quilt tops and backing fabrics are pressed and seams are secure. An 1/8" stay stitch is helpful on heavily pieced quilt tops.
  4. Clip Threads - Clip all loose threads from the back of your quilt top as these could show though lighter colored fabrics. Seeing darker colored loose threads through the lighter parts of your quilt top ruins an otherwise beautiful quilt.
  5. No Pinning or Basting - Please do not pin or baste the layers of your quilt together. Your quilter will load the 3 layers of your quilt onto the machine independent of each other. Pinning and basting really causes problems for longarm machines.
  6. Embellishments and Thickness - The quilt top should be free of embellishments buttons and beads as longarm needles cannot go through these. Sew on any embellishments afterwards. Excessively thick fabrics (i.e. seams on denim quilts), embroidery, etc. can also be very difficult, if not impossible, for needles to go through. 
  7. Directional -  If your quilt top is directional, please mark the top and/or backing with a safety pin rather than hope that your quilter figures it out.
  8. Do NOT bind - Bind your quilt after you receive it back from your longarm quilter. Binding your quilt beforehand creates major problems. Any fullness will end up at the bottom of the quilt with nowhere to go. Additionally....it does not provide the extra 4" for the backing (per item #1 above) needed to attach the quilt top to the longarm machine.
  9. Be Patient - Many longarm quilters have been very busy during the pandemic. They provide a labor intensive service and frequently work long hours during busy seasons. Check with your longarm quilter to see how far out they are. Some quilters will offer a rush fee option if you have a short deadline to meet. 
  10. Social Media - Ok, so this isn't a before thing....but in today's day in age nothing makes your longarm quilter happier than hearing a happy customer and getting tagged on a social media post.