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Thread: Top almost done - prep for longarm?

  1. #1
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    Hi all, I'm almost done with my second top. It's a Christmas gift, and will be taken to a local quilt shop for longarm this week. Is there anything I need to do to this top to make sure it's ready? Clip threads from the back? One final all-over pressing? Anything? This will be the first time I've had something like this done. A friend helped me finish off my first quilt by doing straight line quilting on it.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Super Member Murphy's Avatar
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    Hi and welcome to the board from Iowa. It is best to talk with your longarmer to see what they require. Press everything nicely and prepare the backing. Looking forward to seeing pics (smile).

    Quote Originally Posted by DawnM
    Hi all, I'm almost done with my second top. It's a Christmas gift, and will be taken to a local quilt shop for longarm this week. Is there anything I need to do to this top to make sure it's ready? Clip threads from the back? One final all-over pressing? Anything? This will be the first time I've had something like this done. A friend helped me finish off my first quilt by doing straight line quilting on it.

    Thanks!

  3. #3
    Power Poster dunster's Avatar
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    Yes, it should be pressed, clipped, be sure there is plenty of extra backing all around (check with the longarmer to find out how much she wants). Congrats on getting your 2nd top done - be sure to post a picture.

  4. #4
    Moderator QuiltnNan's Avatar
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    welcome from MN. you should definitely check with the LA. they most likely will want you to have the backing larger than the top, among other things

  5. #5
    Senior Member Cosy's Avatar
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    Clip threads, front and back. Square the top and the back. The back should be at least 4 inches larger than the quilt top all the way around. If the top has been pieced to the edges or if the fabric tends to fray, stay stitch all the way around. Make sure seams are intact, not coming apart at the joinings. Definitely do a final pressing, not only will it make the quilter's job easier, it gives YOU a final check on undone seams, threads to be clipped, etc
    But discuss it with the person who is actually doing the quilting, they may have other requirements.

  6. #6
    Moderator Jim's Gem's Avatar
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    Welcome to the board from Southern California!

  7. #7
    Power Poster PaperPrincess's Avatar
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    Welcome from MI. Yes, clip all threads, and give it a good press. If the outermost border is pieced, like a piano key or braid, do a stay stitch about 1/8 th inch from the edge. Contact your quilter to see if there are specific size requirements for the backing. Also, if you are planning on piecing the back, ask if there are preferences on which way the seam runs.

  8. #8
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    Welcome from Michigan.:)

  9. #9
    Senior Member Rhaorth's Avatar
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    at the risk of sounding stupid.... what is a stay stitch?

  10. #10
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    If the back is pieced, like rows of patchwork, spare blocks, etc. then how much excess should be at the top? How you get it so that the top of the backing lines up with the top of the front, approximately? Gosh, this even sounds dumb to me, lol.

  11. #11
    Super Member Peckish's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rhaorth
    at the risk of sounding stupid.... what is a stay stitch?
    Not stupid. :) It's a term that comes from garment sewing, and it means to stitch close to the edge with large stitches. It prevents garments from stretching on the bias while they're being made (hence the "stay" part). In quilting it helps keep blocks together at the seams, and keeps the edges straight and prevents stretching.

  12. #12
    Super Member Peckish's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maia B
    If the back is pieced, like rows of patchwork, spare blocks, etc. then how much excess should be at the top? How you get it so that the top of the backing lines up with the top of the front, approximately? Gosh, this even sounds dumb to me, lol.
    You won't be able to have the top of the backing line up with the top of the front. The backing will always be larger than the top when you are taking it to a longarmer. Because of the way LA'ers have to load the quilt on the frame, they require the top to be the smallest part of the quilt.

    The way to have the top of the backing line up with the top of the quilt is to lay it out on a floor, pin it, and quilt it yourself. Or - (this just occurred to me) you COULD sew a piece of scrap onto the backing, which would move the top of the backing down a bit, but I'd be worried about the guesswork involved in that.

  13. #13
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    So if the longarmer wants the back 5" longer than the top, it should be +2.5" on each end of the backing? The way I'm doing it, the backing is pieced from straps and extra blocks, in vertical rolls, so the extra width is there, doesn't matter if it's a little more to the left or right. But I'd like to come close to centering it top to bottom. If I were going to quilt it myself, that'd be no problem, I'd figure it out, lol. But I'm sending it out. I'll ask the quilt artist, but I'd like to have a clue first.

  14. #14
    Super Member Peckish's Avatar
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    Check with your longarmer - if she says 5", she probably means 5" on ALL sides. I've never had one smaller than 4" on all sides, and usually they want more in the range of 6".

    A (hopefully helpful) word of advice - tell your longarmer that you are new, and ask her to explain the things you don't know or understand completely. If she does so graciously and patiently, then use her services. If she gets cranky about having to explain things to you, run far, far away. Good communication is essential for a successful experience for both you AND her, and good longarmers who want your repeat business and referrals will take the time to make sure you understand everything.

  15. #15
    Senior Member Rhaorth's Avatar
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    ty for the info :)

  16. #16
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    So if a top is 40x40", and you piece the backing just to have the excess needed to load it on the frame, then how can you do it so that the added pieces end up trimmed off? I've seen some pieced backs that must require some pretty precise positioning...

  17. #17
    Power Poster ckcowl's Avatar
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    generally if the long armer is requiring 5" that means all the way around- so if the top measures 80"x90" the backing/batting needs to measure 90"x100" (5" all the way around)

  18. #18
    Power Poster ckcowl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maia B
    So if a top is 40x40", and you piece the backing just to have the excess needed to load it on the frame, then how can you do it so that the added pieces end up trimmed off? I've seen some pieced backs that must require some pretty precise positioning...
    when the (longarmer) loads a quilt the backing is fastened to leads- and rolled up on roller bars- then the top is loaded- and rolled up= then the backing is pulled across the quilting area and again fastened to leads- (pinned or basted) the top is brought up over the backing and the batting is (floated) inbetween- clamps are used to hold the backing/batting taut on the sides-
    if you work closely with the long-armer---and they are willing to do the extra work/time they may try to line things up===but as the quilt is quilted the backing/batting draws up---much like doing embroidery or applique---which is why you need extra fabric/batting in the first place- so things are not likely to stay---lined up
    after the quilting is finished and removed from the frame you lay it out and trim/square it in preparation for binding...cutting off the excess backing/batting

  19. #19
    Power Poster blueangel's Avatar
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    Welcome from Kansas

  20. #20
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    Thanks for the info, ladies! I knew you wouldn't steer me wrong!

    Fortunately, my backing is a large piece of muslin. I don't have to piece it, and should have plenty for extra all around.

    I have one more border to put around the entire piece, and then I'll try to get a photo uploaded.

  21. #21
    Senior Member Shelley's Avatar
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    It's easy to center the quilt vertically on the quilt, but not horizontally. If you want the horizontal centered, choose a design were the quilt can be loaded sideways. I prefer that for custom quilting anyway, because it allows me more room to work before I have to advance the quilts and gives me fewer advances.

  22. #22
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    Thx, Shelley :) I think that might be the solution. I don't think I explained myself very well, anyway.

  23. #23
    Senior Member Cosy's Avatar
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    [quote=Peckish]
    Quote Originally Posted by Maia B
    ... (this just occurred to me) you COULD sew a piece of scrap onto the backing, which would move the top of the backing down a bit, but I'd be worried about the guesswork involved in that.
    The other part of the guess work is that the quilting will take up part of the backing, and THAT depends on how close the quilting is or what the quilting pattern is, and can even seem random. You might add borders that can be sacrificed or left on as the quilting demands. Like others have said, talk to the LA'ern about what you want.

  24. #24
    Super Member twixbar's Avatar
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    Welcome to the board, you will love it here. :-)

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