Preparing Your Quilt Top

Make sure you've given your quilt top a final once-over, when you're all finished.
• All the seams should be pressed to one side (not open), if at all possible. Open seams give the fibers of the batting a chance to pop through the quilt top, over time. Plus, pressing seams open prevents me from stitching "in the ditch", because it may pierce construction threads and compromise the structural integrity of the quilt. Of course, there are exceptions to every rule. If you have a quilt block with a lot of sharp points that result in a very bulky seam, feel free to use your judgement about pressing open.
• Clip any threads that show on the front and any excessively long threads on the back. One of my quilting friends calls this, "giving your quilt a haircut".
• Double-check for squareness. One way to do this is to fold your project in half and compare opposites sides to each other. Are they the same length? If you have a wide border, you can shave a little excess off, if necessary. Even if you trim off 1/4" from one end but not the other, I've found that your eye will never notice the difference. But you're more likely to notice if the squareness is out of whack.

ORDER FORM: Click Here to download and print my "Order Form", which will contain all the information I need to know about your quilt. If you forget, don't worry. We can fill one out together when you come to drop off your project.

Preparing Your Quilt Backing

I often get questions about how to prepare backing fabric, like....
• Do I need to press my backing fabric? Answer: NO - I will spritz any pronounced creases with a water bottle while I'm mounting the backing on my frame, and they will smooth right out.
• Which direction should the seam in my backing fabric go?
• What if my backing fabric is just shy of required size?
These questions often go together. Click here to see my blog post about seaming and leaders.

The most basic thing to remember is that your backing fabric needs to be AT LEAST 8" wider and 8" longer than the quilt top, in order for me to mount it on my longarm quilting frame. More than 8" is even better! When I finish quilting, I will trim the excess fabric off to a clean edge (unless you request otherwise) and return the extra backing fabric to you, along with the finished quilt.

Calculating Binding

If you'd like to prepare your binding and have me attach it to the finished quilt, I'm happy to help! Your binding should be prepared in one long strip, long enough to go the entire way around your quilt, plus an extra 8" at least.
A) To figure out how much binding fabric you need, first add up all the sides of your finished quilt. If your piece is 40" x 60", your overall linear length will be 200 inches.
B) Now, most fabrics are at least 42" wide, and we must figure out how many widths of fabric we'll need to get our required linear length (200 inches). So take 200" divided by 42", and you get 4.76.
C) Round up to the nearest whole number, and you figure out that we'll need 5 strips (42" long), sewn together to make one long strip that is greater than 200". Please use bias seams to join strips - it creates less bulk in the finished binding.
• Note: it is always better to overestimate with binding. So, if your math tells you that you'll need, say, 4.9 strips, instead of rounding up to 5, go ahead and round all the way up to 6, just to give us extra length for piecing and working around the corners.
D) Next, you need to figure out how much yardage to purchase. That depends on how wide you want your binding. If you want to have me attach your binding to the finished quilt top, I require binding be 2.25 inches. Take your number of strips from (C) above and multiply it by the width you want. For this example, we'll say 2.25" binding. So, 5 strips x 2.25" = 11.25" inches. So we need to purchase 3/8 yard of fabric for the binding.

Preparing Binding Strips

A) Cut your fabric into strips 2.25" wide.
B) Join the strips together by laying the ends of two strips together, right sides together, at 90º to one another. Sew from corner to corner. Then trim excess off the seams, press open or two one side (your choice). Fold the whole long string in half, wrong sides together, and press in half.
C) This might more easily be explained by showing you what I mean. I found a short video that you can watch by clicking here.
Important: should you choose to hire me to attach your binding, the part that I can perform for you is Step 4, in the video at the link above. I will return it to you, ready for Steps 5 and 6.

Cutting on the Straight Grain or Bias??

That's a personal decision. I'm happy to work with either. If your binding fabric is striped or plaid, binding on the bias can create some fun visual effects. For a short video on cutting bias strips, click here.

"Effortless Binding"

For those who dislike the binding process, you have another option! Take use of my "Effortless Binding" service, and have me do it for you! Bring yardage fabric, and I will cut, piece, and press into a binding strip. I will then machine stitch the binding to the front and back of your quilt, and it returns to you completely finished and ready to use!

See further info about on my "Services" page (scroll to the bottom).