No quilt top is absolutely perfect and I do my best to ensure a high quality quilting job but taking a few extra steps to prepare your quilt top properly will make a big difference in the quality of the final product.
Ensure your quilt top is square and flat. Measure your quilt across the top, middle and bottom. These measurements should be very close. If there are discrepancies, it means there is fullness in part of your quilt that will result in either puckers or the corners of your quilt becoming distorted during the quilting process. This type of fullness cannot be “quilted out” and will more than likely result in puckers in your quilt.
Clip all your threads! Missing a dark thread on the back of a top with a light background could result in it showing through the quilt.
Do not baste your quilt. The top, batting, and backing are loaded onto the long arm separately. I will not be able to quilt a top that has already been basted into a sandwich.
Press your top and seams. Fold your quilt as neatly as possible with seams to the inside.
Stay Stitch your edges. If you have seams that go all the way to the edge of the quilt (ie, you do not have a border), take a moment to see if they are secure. If they are starting to come apart or loosen, take a moment to stay stitch ⅛ of an inch from the edge. Loading a quilt on the long arm involves putting the top under some tension that could pull these seams apart further.
Size your batting and backing. Your batting and backing need to be at least 8 inches larger than your quilt to give four inches of space on each side for loading. If your back is pieced, remove the selvedges, use a half inch seam allowance, and press open for best results. Leave the selvedges on the outside perimeter edges of the backing. Ensure the sides and top of the backing are as square as possible for best results. If you do have seams in your backing, they need to be perpendicular to the top of the quilt for even loading.
If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact me!