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How to prepare your quilt for longarm quilting

Ready to send your quilt top?  Fabulous!

Preparing a quilt for longarm quilting is a little different from what you might do when you quilt it yourself.  The best part is that you don’t need to baste a thing!  Each layer is loaded onto the machine separately.

Here are a few steps you can take to ensure the best results:


Size matters...

Make sure your backing is at least 8 inches wider and 8 inches longer than the quilt top.  (the longarm needs a 4 inch margin on all 4 sides).

Your batting should be at least 5 inches wider and 5 inches longer than the quilt top.  (margin of 2.5 inches on all 4 sides)


 For example:  If the quilt top is 60 x 80,

  •  your backing should be at least: 68 x 88

  •  your batting should be at least 65 x 85

a measuring tape against an orange background
a person sewing a large piece of fabric with a sewing machine.


Piece, square up and press your backing...

If you piece fabric together to make your backing, press that seam open if possible, and trim off selvedges to reduce bulk. Once it is finished, square it up and give it a good press.


Square up, tidy up and press your quilt top...

Square up your quilt top as best as possible, then clip any loose threads so they don’t show through - especially dark threads against light fabrics.  Give it a good press.  

the back of a quilt with loose threads


Label which way is 'up' ...

If your quilt is directional, or if you just prefer one edge to be the 'top' (at the pillow end of the bed), label that edge of your quilt top and/or back with a note and/or safety pin.


Pack it for shipping or transfer...

Fold the three layers separately with seams towards the inside.  If you are a mail-in client, place them in a plastic bag, then inside a box or sturdy envelope for shipping.  If local, you can transport your layers folded in a bag or on hangers. 

an image of a postage stamp


Not sure how to square up your quilt top?  How to piece a backing?  Which way to press your seams?  Shoot me an email here and I'll send you a detailed tip sheet about each of these Quilt Prep steps.


I can't wait to see your quilt!

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