Backing and Batting 6-8" larger than top
Backing top/bottom square
Backing & top pressed
Loose threads trimmed

  • Backing (and batting!) must be AT LEAST 6" inches wider and longer than your quilt top (backing in lavender on the graphic to the right). This means 3-4 inches on all sides. Example: If your quilt is 45" x 60" then your backing should be at least 51" x "66"".

  • NOTE: If your quilt backing is smaller than needed, you can add muslin or scrap fabric to bring it to the size I need. IMPORTANT: In most cases muslin strips must be added to both the top and the bottom as the point of adding them is to give me the fabric needed to attach the back to the machine at both ends while being able to center the quilt top appropriately.
Seams (backing only)
  • If you have a seam for your backing due to piecing two (or more) fabrics, decide if you want the seam lengthwise or crosswise. If you don't tell me, I'll assume based on the sizes of the fabric. If the width and length are about the same, I'll make a judgement call on what I think looks best based on directionality of the fabric design although in most cases I will go with vertical over horizontal*.

* NOTE: Especially for larger quilts, a lengthwise seam will have more integrity -- it will be stronger and hold up better. It also allows for centering on the quilt frame. A crosswise seam will typically end up somewhere 3/4's down the length of the quilt because I pin near the top and start about an inch or so down. (See: 'other' regarding pieced backings.) [NOTE: I "can" center fairly close on a crosswise seam if you have enough fabric but you need to let me know you want it and it won't be precise.]

  • Not absolutely required, but if your seam is created by sewing two selvedge edges together, stitch with a seam larger than needed to cover the puncture marks. Then trim your seam down to 1/2". Don't leave the selvedge in. If you don't trim, your backing will have puckers when quilted (or if not when quilted, then after a few washings).

  • Also not required, but recommended that you press your backing seam open. This reduces the bulk when quilting.
  • The backing should be as square as possible on all sides. To check for square, fold your backing in fourths. Do all the edges line up square with your ruler or do they look like the sample to the right? If not, trim both top and bottom to a 90 degree angle using your rotary cutter and mat.

Why? The backing is pinned to the frame on the top and the bottom. These edges must be straight or the quilt will not be even as it is rolled.

NOTE: If I need to square your backing for you, this adds $10.00 to the cost of your quilting. Why? It has to be done, but I really don't want to be cutting into your fabric, plus it takes time away from me getting started on your quilt.

  • Press your backing. It should be as wrinkle-free as possible.

  • If you have a preference for top (direction of design) and its not obvious, please put a safety pin in what you consider the top of the backing.

  • Pieced backings: pieced backings will incur an additional charge if I need to attempt to center a design with the top -- especially if the design is crosswise (see my notes on how a quilt is typically loaded onto the frame). As you are creating your pieced backing, work especially hard to keep it squared as you go along. I can't see much of the back while I'm quilting, so won't know until the quilt is done whether it is straight.
  • Batting should be approximately the same size as your backing (6-8" larger than the top).

  • Type of batting is customer preference although I prefer to not quilt with high-loft polyester batting.

  • You can purchase Hobbs 80/20 (96" or 120" wide) from me if desired (at a cost typically cheaper than most stores, starting at $6.50 a yard) or you may provide your own batting. Ask me if you need help deciding what type of batting to use for your project.
  • Before attaching borders, press and square your top (all four sides should be at a 90 degree angle). If your top isn't square, no matter how straight your borders start out, they will end up "wavy". (See info above on squaring your backing)
  • As with your backing, your top should be pressed and as wrinkle-free as possible. If I have to press your quilt, I charge $10.00 minimum.

  • Seams should be flat and be butted or pressed open. HINT: If you weren't able to butt all your seams while piecing, when you press, snip near the junction of the seams to be able to press one of the seams the other direction. Bottom line: there should be no lumps on the top of your quilt. Lumpy seams will make the quilt look lumpy or worse - break needles which could tear the fabric.
  • Press border seams the width of the border with your iron rather than length. Pressing the length can stretch your borders out (make them "wavy" or "wonky"). See graphic to right and see my special page on other ways to prevent wavy borders.
Loose Threads
  • Trim off all loose threads from the top of your quilt.

  • Trim as many loose threads as possible from the underside. Once quilted, there's no getting between the layers and you will not be happy when that pesky red thread shows through your white piece.