Quilt Preparation

Quilt Preparation

Preparing your quilt for machine quilting

Whether you are doing the quilting yourself, or paying for it to be done the following points should be carefully considered.

It is important to prepare your quilt top and backing carefully to ensure the best results are achieved. If you do not wish to prepare your back or top I am happy to do this for you. A fee is charged for this service.   I also sell Wadding (Batting) and backing fabric

Things to consider

Take time to consider ideas for your quilting design and bring them along to your consultation for discussion. It is important that the quilting design enhance your quilt.  I have books and magazines that you can look through and am happy to make recommendations about quilting designs.

Please ensure the top is in a state you are happy with prior to getting it quilted. Quilting is unlikely to remove fullness, unevenness or lack of squareness from the top or hide other blemishes or flaws.

Before you come think about what effect you want to achieve with your backing. If you choose a plain backing, the quilting will be more visible than a patterned backing. This is great for an all over edge to edge design. The pattern will be highly visible on the reverse. A patterned backing makes joins and thread colour changes less visible. This is great for custom quilting.

Consider what batting will suit your needs. Polyester is great for kids quilts as it can take being washed and dried often. Some battings weigh more than other types so must be considered for large bed quilts. Batting with loft can help conceal imperfections. Thin batting like bamboo is lightweight and drapes well, but can be unforgiving for some quilt designs. Cotton batting shrinks 2% after washing, giving an authentic antique look to your quilt.

Note: If you leave the design to my discretion then I will need your approval of my choice before I proceed.


  • Ensure your quilt top is squared and borders are even, measure your quilt across a border and then through the middle, parallel to that border on both width and length. These measurements should be the same. A difference of more than one inch will result in pointed corners, wavy borders or an “hour glass” shaped quilt. If there is a big difference, may want to remove the borders, cut them to the same length as the centre measurement, pin to the quilt and then re-sew.
  • If there numerous pieces, or pieces on the bias, or if you have a pieced border, it is best to run a stay-stitch around the edge of the quilt ( a scant 1/4″), as this will keep all seams secure, especially if your edges are cut on the bias.
  • Trim excess seams or points that can cause undesirable lumps.
  • Make sure your top is clean.
  • Please have your top and backing well pressed. Check all seams to ensure they are pressed flat. Be careful not to stretch the quilt during pressing as this will just spring back when it is quilted.
  • Embellishments should be added after I have quilted the top.
  • Each layer is mounted on the quilting machine separately, so please do not baste or pin the quilt layers together
  • Trim off all loose threads from the front and back of your quilt top. Loose threads on the reverse side of your quilt top may show through the top after quilting. Loose threads on the top of your quilt can get caught in the hopping foot of the machine and damage your quilt top. Repairing damage caused by this is chargeable as it is easily avoided ( and neither of us really wants to go there).
  • Use a good quality backing fabric (100% cotton is recommended. Sheeting is not).  I have samples of wide backing fabric for purchase.
  • Remove selvedges from your backing fabric and ensure your backing is square.
  • If you are joining your backing please ensure each piece is square before joining. Join pieces with a 1/2″ seam and press all seams open.
  • Your backing and wadding are to be 4″ larger than your quilt top on all sides (total of 8″ larger in both directions) after squaring your backing. When buying backing allow enough extra fabric for shrinkage (if you prewash your fabrics) and squaring. The extra 4″ allows the quilt to be pinned and clamped correctly on the quilting machine.  I can supply both wadding and backing fabrics as part of the service.
  • Place a safety pin at the head end of the quilt. Some quilting designs are directional and we need to know which will be the head of the quilt.
  • Place a safety pin at the head end of your backing fabric as well.  This helps even if it is obvious as it reduces chances for error.