The old saying "it will quilt out"
sometimes translates to "it will quilt IN!"
Proper preparation and construction ensure the best results in the quilting process of your prized pieced top. Rest assured that we are not the quilt police and do not scrutinize the construction of your top to see if all your points match or not - our personal motto is "finished is good" - however, there are a few tips that will assist both of us to come to a favorable outcome in the finishing of your quilt.
Please have all seams pressed
This is best done during the actual piecing. Not doing so can leave small pleats in the seams that may be visible after the quilting process. Pressing often during piecing can’t be emphasied enough. Discipline yourself to making pressing an important part of your quilting life.
Trim those loose threads on the top and especially the back
As quilters ourselves, we recognize that in this life there will be strings - a few here and there are natural – but nothing is worse than varicose veins showing through light fabric, to be seen forever and ever, amen.
Excess threads peeking through the seams on the front are not only a visual distraction to your longarm quilter but can sometimes cause unnecessary boo-boos and hangups if they catch the hopping foot of the longarm during the quilting process. Again, practice the discipline of trimming threads as you piece.
Once again, this is a piecing detail and discipline. Fullness can creep in during complex block construction, sometimes the only thing that will help a bock go together nicely and lay flat is a good can of spray starch! Generally a little fullness can be eased in during the quilting process, but it’s those wavy borders caused by improper attachment that is the real culprit.
Every effort is made to work around fullness in the quilt body as well as wavy borders by easing in the fabric, but the results are not always favorable – sometimes it is necessary to create false pleats that will need to be hand appliqued down once the quilt is returned. Practicing good piecing habits will elimate a lot of issues. Don't be afraid to ask if there is something you don't understand or haven't acomplished yet. Quilting is a journey not a destination - we are all somewhere on the path of learning. Again, no quilt police at Quilts 'N Kaboodle, we are here to serve you. That said....
There are occasions that it may be best to reattach the borders for a more pleasant outcome. Realize, however, that once it's on the machine, it's either quilted out or quilted in. It's your responsibility to make sure your quilt lays flat and is pressed well before the quilting process.
When you take a quilt class the teacher concentrates on teaching the
This quilt has good borders
and shows how a quilt is loaded on the longarm frame
technique to make the blocks or design and then sends you home to complete the quilt top. Patterns and books seem to major on the construction of the interior of a quilt and minor on the importance of piecing and applying borders.
Oh sure, they discuss the proper way to add borders by measuring the quilt top in three places, taking an average, then cutting the border to the exact length of that average, but they don't tell you why...and isn't it much easier to just sew on a strip then cut it off when you run out of quilt top? Sure it is, I've done this, more times than I'd like to admit. But....
The problem with this sort of mentality is the undesirable end result, especially if your quilt top is going to be put on a longarm frame to be quilted. These so called "wavy borders" will result in pleats and puckers when it's quilted.
….let me explain…
Longarm quilting differs from domestic(home) sewing machine quilting in that the components of the quilt - the back, batting, and the top - are not first basted together. Instead they are loaded on the frame in a process that allows each to be held taunt..
Generally speaking, the backing is loaded first (see information concerning preparing your backing for important details) then the batting is basted across the top edge of the backing. Next the quilt top is centered and basted at the top of the backing/batting compo as well as down the sides that are exposed on the surface of the frame. For this reason do not pin or baste the three layers togetheror you will just spend time undoing what you've done
As the quilt is advanced the sides continue to be basted down prior to quilting that area. If the quilt top is not square then the fullness will just work its way down the quilt and you will end up with a wonky bottom and you can pretty much guaranteed fullness in that final border and a quilt that will not drape or hang because it is not square.
A Short Lesson in the Proper Attachment of Borders
Quilting is a learning experience, that’ what I love about it! Always something new to learn, some new pattern to try, etc. Here’s the method I use on my personal quilts. Rest assured, I had my fair share of wavy borders before I became discipined in this area.
First, take the center measurement of the length of the pieced top , since it may have some fullness its best to measure in three places and take the average.
Using this number, cut the top and bottom border to that exact measurement
Fold the quilt top in half and place a pin to mark the center, then fold in quarters marking with pins.
Do the same for the border, placing pins to mark the center and the quarters.
Next matching the pins on the border and top pin the two fabrics , right sides together. There may be fullness as the pieces come together, if so, ease this in at the sewing machine, with the fullness next to the feed dogs.
Attach both the right side and then the left side borders. Press.
Repeat the process for the other two borders by again measuring the width of the quilt top in three places taking an average, then cutting the top and bottom borders to this number.
Mark the center with a pin and then find the quarter marks as described above.
Pin the border to the quilt top, right sides together. Sew, easing in any fullness.
Do this for both the top and bottom. Press and ta-da, you now have borders that make a square frame for your quilt top! There may be some slight fullness in the center, but this will usually quilt out. The important thing is your borders will be square and therefore your quilt should be square too!
If you have questions or concerns about border attachments or any other concerns please contact us and we'll be glad to give you more information. It's our priority that you be pleased with the outcome of having your quilt professionally quilted. Together we are creating an heirloom to be enjoyed today and for future generations!