|BACK PREPARATION INSTRUCTIONS
The backing fabric is a huge 'patch'. It adds needed strength, stability, and straightness to the top and
batting. If it is not 'square' it will load onto my machine unevenly. Some areas will sag, while other
sections are taut, resulting in pleats in the backing or a quilt that will not lay flat. A good, square
backing is best. If you have to piece the backing try to make sure that the lengthwise grain is going the
same direction in all sections.
Some quilters like pieced backings. These can be attractive and cost effective, but the stability that you
get with an uncut piece of fabric is gone, increasing the possibility of tucks or folds stitched into the
back, or a quilt that does not lie flat. If you have not yet purchased your back fabric, I have 118-inch
wide white and cream cotton sateen available.
Determine the size the back should be … measure the top and add 8” to the length & width (ex.: the top
finishes 40 x 60 : The back would be 48 x 68.) Please don't skimp on this. My longarm isn't like a
regular sewing machine, where you can sew right up to the edge of the fabric. The backing is pinned
and clamped in place, so the edges cannot be sewn.
Remove the selvages before stitching the seams--they are woven much tighter than the main fabric. This
section will not quilt evenly and will probably not shrink evenly. You can leave them on the outside
edges. Backing seams should be one-half inch, and pressed open. The whole back should be pressed.
Have you ever had a quilt top that had a waves on
the edges, or even ruffles? If you attach borders that
are the PLANNED size to a quilt that is NOT the
planned size, you get waves. This happens when the
borders are too long for the center of the quilt. The
piecing usually shrinks up the quilt from the planned
size a little bit (and sometimes a lot). And sometimes
it even ends up larger than planned. The following
method of adding borders will prevent this problem.
After the body of the quilt has been pieced, gently
press before adding borders. The logical place to
measure the finished top is along its outside edges,
but this is not a useful measurement for adding
border. Instead, measurements should be taken
across the center in two or three places for both the
width and length. If these measurements are
different from that of the outer edge, accidental
shrinking or stretching has occurred. To keep the
finished quilt as straight and square as possible, you
must measure the centers.
To make a border with straight-cut corners:
1. Determine the length of the quilt border by
averaging two or three center measurements (see Fig.
1.) Cut two borders that length and pin them to
opposite sides of the quilt matching ends, centers,
and quarters easing in the fullness. Sew and press.
2. Determine the width of the quilt border by
averaging the distance of two or three center
measurements, including the borders added in step 1.
(see Fig 2.) Cut these borders that length and pin
easing in the fullness. Sew and press.
3. If the outer border has lots of seams, please stay
stitch the edges.
If you need help with any of this or just want to talk
about it, call me at 505-327-3190.