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Preparing Your Quilt

Beautiful Quilts begin with beautiful tops.  When putting your top together, pay close attention to customary quilting techniques.  Be careful to keep your
1/4" seams accurate and set your stitch length to between 2.0 and 2.5.

Most Importantly, make sure your borders are measured, cut and sewn accurately and lay flat.  The best way to accomplish this task is to take 3 measurements through the middle of the quilt lengthwise.  Don't take the measurements at the end of the quilt because sometimes the ends may get stretched.  If you measure about a quarter of the way across the quilt, then take the middle of the quilt measurement and finally about a quarter of the way to the other side.  These will give you more accurate measurements.  

Once you have the 3 measurements, calculate the average and use this measurement to cut your lengthwise borders for the sides.  Repeat the process for the width of the quilt and use the average of these 3 measurements to get the top and bottom border measurements.  When sewing the borders on the quilt, begin in the center and work towards each end easing in the fullness as you go.

After the border is finished and the borders attached, you will want to trim and clip any hanging threads and press all seams in order to leave the least amount of bulk in them.  Avoid having any seams twisted and verify that seams at the edge of the quilt are stitched securely.  It's a good idea to stay-stitch around the edge of the quilt about 1/8" from the edge.  Finally place a safety pin with a note at the top left corner so that the quilter will know which you consider the top.  This is especially important if either your top or your backing have directional designs.

It's time to prepare the backing for your quilt.  You will want to decide whether or not you want the quilting to be visible on the back.  If you do, choose a solid fabric for the back.  If seeing the quilting on the back is not important to you, try using a coordinating fabric with a smaller print.  Heavenly Hugs Quilts keeps a supply of 108” wide backing in an assortment of colors if you don’t want to supply your own. The current supply of backing is selling at between $12.00 - $15.00 per yard and the average King quilt would need approximately 3 yards. These prices may change based on my cost on the future purchases. 

The backing and the batting should be at least 6 to 8 inches larger than the quilt on all 4 sides. For example, if your quilt is 60 x 80 then the backing should be at least 72 x 92. If you are planning on using a lofty batting, then you would want to add a couple more inches to each side. Trim off the selvage edges if the backing is pieced and make sure the backing is squared up.

If you must piece the backing for your quilt, try to use an all-over print without a directional design. This will allow you to place the seam across the width of the fabric so that it will lay perpendicular to the rollers on the Longarm machine. This makes it easier to quilt without the seam skewing the top.

Don’t try to use a sheet as your backing. Sheets are made with tightly woven fabric which would cause broken threads or skipped stitches on your quilt. You can add a border to your backing if you need to increase the size, however, this could cause additional complications when quilting such as shifting fabric and difficulty in centering the backing. If you must increase the size of the backing it is usually best to add it to the center where it can be hidden easier.

DO NOT BASTE your quilt top. A Longarm machine uses individual rollers for each layer of the quilt sandwich. When sending your tops out to be quilted, always iron each layer and fold them individually. Then if they are being mailed, wrap them in plastic and package them securely according to the shipping company’s requirements. USPS is relatively inexpensive and usually arrives within a couple of days. They can be insured and tracked.  As mentioned earlier, Heavenly Hugs Quilts will reimburse your shipping costs if you send several tops in a single package.

Don’t serge seams on your quilt because it will create additional bulk in the seams, and they tend to pop open or ravel.

Don’t add embellishments to your quilts until after they have been quilted. Items like buttons, beads or crystals can cause major damage to a Longarm machine. You will also want to make sure you have no pins or clips left in the top, other than the one at the top left of the quilt.  If Heavenly Hugs Quilts has to remove any of these items, they will be returned to you to be re-attached. This may result in extra costs.

In addition, Heavenly Hugs Quilts can provide you with quilting quality batting for your quilt for an extra charge. We currently stock Warm and Natural, Hobbs, and Quilter’s Dream Batting in 100% cotton and 80/20.  Although not currently being stocked, we are also able to provide Wool and Polyester Batting. If you wish, you can provide your own quilting quality batting.

Be sure to call or text prior to mailing or delivering your top. We want to make sure to watch for it to arrive. You can use this call to discuss the designs, batting, thread and prices before we start quilting your top. Heavenly Hugs Quilts wants to deliver your quilt exactly the way you want it and to exceed your highest expectations.

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