The Quilt Top:
Proper preparation and construction techniques ensure quality results during the quilting process. You have put a lot of thought, time and care into piecing your top and we want to make sure you have a finished quilt that you are proud to own or give to that someone special. Your attention to detail will assist us greatly in providing you the best quilting experience possible. Below is a checklist of things you should do before you bring your top in for quilting:
PRESSING is Important! Of course, the best pressing is accomplished during the piecing process. We can not stress enough the importance of using proper pressing techniques. Make this a "routine" part of your piecing experience. Once you have completed your top, do a final press. Quilters starch can sometimes help with puckers and other "unruly" issues but.... DO NOT use steam or other liquid materials (i.e., starch) on your borders! This can cause them to distort and can make it difficult to square corners, etc. Press the wrong side of your top first then give the right side a final press.
TRIM loose threads! There will always be a few loose ends. But if loose threads are not trimmed from the back of your quilt they could show through (especially on light backgrounds!) after your top is quilted. Once your top is quilted YOU CAN NOT make these go away! Please, take the time to trim. It takes about 5 minutes and will save you a lot of heartache. Additionally, trim loose threads form the front of your quilt top! These can cause a huge problem if they are "caught" on the hopping foot during the quilting process. The best thing to do is "clean" each block as you go during the piecing process. But don't forget those long seams during the setting process. It is especially important to check the borders.
Make sure your quilt top lays FLAT! The old "It'll quilt out" saying is NOT always true. Sometimes? It'll quilt in! It is normal for there to be a little fullness in the center of your top (especially on heavily pieced blocks) but it is almost a guaranteed disaster if your borders are not attached to your top properly. Wavy borders are a pesky problem. And sometimes they happen. This can cause "pleats" and "puckers" during the quilting process. We make every effort possible to work around these issues but the results are not always favorable. We recommend that whenever possible, you cut your borders LENGTHWISE rather than across the width of fabric. Since the lengthwise grain of the fabric has no "give" your borders are more likely to lay flat. Yes... it requires a little more fabric. But... you will have a MUCH better end result. If your outside borders are pieced (with only one seam or a million and one) we recommend that you "stay-stitch" all 4 sides with an 1/8" seam to prevent distortion. DO NOT serge! If you have questions? PLEASE ASK! That's what we're here for. If you are having problems in this area we are happy to give you a mini "hands-on" lesson as to how you might resolve these issues.
The Quilt Back & Batting:
Fabric selection is key! Fabric selection is just as important for the back as it is for the front of your quilt. In almost all cases it is best to use 100% quilting cottons. If you want the "quilting" to show it is best to use a solid, small print, or tone-on-tone fabric. If your quilt back is too "busy" the quilting will not be as visible. We will NOT do long-arm quilting on "sheets", minky or double-sided t-shirt quilts. If you are using decorator weight fabrics we would prefer to do a small "test" on it before we commit to the work. Please bring a small "extra" piece of backing with you so that we can do this.
Make sure your back is BIG ENOUGH! Your backing should be 8" longer and 8" wider than your quilt top. For example: If your top measures 40" X 50" your back should measure 48" X 58". It is important that there is something to "grab" onto during the quilting process.
Make sure your back is Square! It is easier to achieve this if you "tear", rather than "cut" your back. If your are piecing your back (most people do) please remove ALL selvages before your piece your back together. Selvages can be difficult to stitch through and may cause puckers and thread breakage. Use a 1/2" seam allowance and press the seam to one side. Please do NOT serge these seams!
PRESSING is important! Please press your backing to remove any and all creases/wrinkles! Press all seams from the front and the back to ensure there are no "pleats" in the seam. If you do not pre-wash your fabrics it is important to use starch, sizing, or steam to remove the fold creases in the fabric. It is hard to get them out once your top has been quilted. We are happy to do this for you but there is a $10.00 charge for this service.
Batting: We use Hobbs Heirloom 80/20 and Quilter's Dream 100% cotton (Select loft) at The Studio. If your prefer something different, please feel free to bring it with you. If you are bringing your own it needs to be at least the same size as your quilt back and needs to be squared.
We want your quilting experience at The Studio to be a GREAT one but please remember we can only give good results when we are given good results to start with. We are here to help in any way we can. Please call or e-mail us so we can answer your questions for you.
Huggs 'n Stitches!