Do you have beautiful quilt tops that you would like to quilt and finish but either dread the process or just don’t have the time? Red Bridge Quilts offers a longarm quilting service to help you get your quilt tops finished and turned into those beautiful family heirlooms or gifts that you can take pride in. Contact RBQ for more details.
Here are just a few examples of some of the quilting designs that could transform your quilt into a beautiful masterpiece. You will be able to choose from many different designs and will also be advised on thread colour.
Preparing Your Quilt for Longarming
(Including some tips from Ashley Perkins)
Press the top
The first thing you want to do is press your quilt top. Press the seams in the back to make sure they are as flat as you can get them. This also gives you another chance to inspect those seams to make sure there are not any coming undone. After pressing the seams, you can turn the quilt top over and press the entire top.
Square the top
Square the top by measuring it across the width in three different places and insure that these measurements are the same. Trim if necessary in order to accomplish this. Then do the same down the length of the top.
Trim the threads
This step is often overlooked because it is so tedious. If your quilt top has a mix of light and dark fabrics, I suggest checking for loose, dark threads that might show through the light fabrics. This is something that can be done while you’re pressing the quilt top for the final time.
This is an optional step, but it can be really helpful and will make your longarm quilter really happy! Stay-stitching is helpful if you have seams or bias edges along the outside of the quilt. This helps ensure those seams don’t come apart and will help keep bias edges from stretching. To do a stay stitch, you simply sew a straight seam approximately ⅛” in from the edge all around the perimeter of the quilt top.
Mark the top
Marking the top is another optional step. Perhaps your quilt top doesn’t have an obvious top or bottom. Maybe you’ve chosen a quilting design that is directional or you have a preference for which way the longarm quilter loads the quilt top. Marking the top can be as simple as using painter’s tape to show the top and the centre of your quilt.
This step is important. Please don’t assume that your quilt top measures the same as what is written in the pattern. The quilt top needs to be measured so you know exactly how much backing to provide. Your backing must be at least 4” larger on each of the four sides for your quilt to be loaded properly. An easy way to measure your quilt top is to fold it in half lengthwise and measure from the fold to the outside and then multiply that measurement by 2. You’ll want to do this for both the length and width of the quilt top. For example, if your quilt top measures 45″ x 60″, your backing should measure 53″ x 68″.
Making sure your backing is square is also really important. Whether you’ve purchased extra wide backing or you’ve pieced the backing, don’t assume it’s square. You can square up your backing by folding it so that the selvages are touching. Once you’ve folded it and it is lying flat, take a ruler and line it up perpendicular to the straight folded edge. Once you have the ruler lined up, cut off about an inch of fabric. You’ll want to then repeat this step on the other end.
You may want to purchase a little extra backing fabric so that once it is squared, you are not left with a backing that is too small. If you have pieced your backing, a horizontal seam is helpful in reducing bulk when the quilt is advanced on the longarm. If your backing is directional or you want a specific side to be the top, please mark it. See the above paragraph concerning the minimum measurements for your backing fabric.
Your batting should be 3″ larger on all sides. For example, if your quilt top measures 45″ x 60″, your batting should measure 51″ x 66″.
Red Bridge Quilts has the prerogative to charge extra if any of the measurement requirements mentioned above are not met.