So that I can give your quilt a quality finish, I have listed here some suggestions for your quilt preparation
Take care in piecing your quilt top - use 100% cotton fabrics, keep seam allowances even & press well, flipping to one side to allow accurate SID (stitch-in-the-ditch quilting) where needed. This is important, especially for custom quilting as I need a ditch to stitch into, especially on outer edges of blocks & border seams. Trim any loose threads on the back of your quilt as they may show through lighter fabrics after quilting. For borders with lots of piecing, stay stitch across seams on outer edges of the quilt to prevent them coming apart. When adding borders, measure length required through the centre of the quilt & pre-cut borders to this measurement before pinning & attaching evenly. This will help borders sit flat & prevent those ‘wavy’ edges. Do not add any embellishments (eg buttons, beads, charms, etc) before quilting is done as they may get in the way when doing the quilting. The foot on my machine is 1/2" diameter & I am not able to do any stitching directly next to these embellishments, it is much easier to add these after the quilting has been completed.
Make sure your backing fabric is big enough - I recommend that your backing fabric be at least 10 cm (4") larger than the quilt top on all four sides, so that will total to 20cm (8") in total in both length & width. The reason for this is so that it (the backing) can be attached to the large rollers on the frame of the machine easily & allow enough room for the machine to stitch through to the outer raw edges of the quilt top without hitting into the side clamps which are used to hold the free edges of the quilt while it is being quilted. It also ensures there will be enough backing fabric at the far end of the quilt when it's almost fnished. Should you need to join your backing with a seam to make it large enough, read through the next paragraph for tips on this.
Prepare your backing fabric - If joining with a seam, remove any selvedge & sew with ½” wide seam & press open. Make sure the backing piece is square with straight edges, lies flat (lay out on floor to check this) with the sides parallel & outer corners square.
Tips on backing fabrics - It is recommended that you use 100% Cotton fabrics for your backings. The use of poly/cotton sheeting for backing fabric is not recommended as it can often be too dense for even needle penetration causing skipped stitches.
I also recommend the use of extra wide backing fabrics which are available from quilt shops & by mail order. I have a limited range here at the Studio, Widebacks Australia has a very good range, samples of which I have at the studio & I can order these for you.
It is also recommended to wash your backing fabric to remove any sizing (starch finish) or excess dye from the manufacturing process, also to pre-shrink the fabric before use. If this has not been done & I feel that it is necessary, a fee will be charged for me to do this.
Ensure your Wadding is large enough - for all the same reasons as above with the backing fabric. If your wadding needs to be joined, please leave the pieces separate as I can join them during the quilting process without leaving a 'ridge' in the wadding which would otherwise be felt through the quilt when finished.
Time is Money!! - most quilters are busy people, so presenting your quilt, backing fabric &/or wadding scrunched up in a bag means they will need to be pressed & will most likely charge you for it. Presenting the layers of your quilt in a tidy manner will greatly reduce the preparation time & may also gain you a reduced fee for any set up costs. Placing your quilt layers on a padded hanger is a great idea. If you are sending your quilt by post or courier, gently fold your quilt layers without having extra creases before placing into the post bag, then all the quilter needs to do is quickly press any folds for it to be ready for quilting.
Attach your label to the backing fabric before quilting - in doing this it will be more secure & less likely to be removed should the quilt become lost or stolen (yes! this does happen). It will also be stitched through during the quilting process so it is unlikely to be removed & can stay on the back of the quilt forever. If you have a prepared label, I can attach this for you (by domestic machine), or for a small fee, if you provide the necessary information, I can prepare this for you & attach to the backing before quilting.
What sort of information should you put on your label? There is much information you can add to your label & can vary depending on the quilt. Start with the name of the quilt, name of the recipient & the quilt maker (& the name of the quilter if you have not done this yourself), the town/place where these people live, date when quilt was made/finished, any relevant story about the quilt, why it was made (eg for wedding or birthday), the materials used to make the quilt (eg 100% Cotton fabrics, Cotton Wadding), instructions on how to launder the quilt. The list can go on, but the more information you can include on the label, the more helpful it will be for historical value in the future. If you have a left over block from the piecing or strips of fabric, add this around or next to label to 'dress it up' & make it interesting.
Please do not pre-baste your quilt in any way before sending it in for quilting. The backing fabric & quilt top are attached to the machine individually (with wadding between) so an even tension can be maintained throughout the quilting process. This is important to prevent an puckers or tucks in the backing fabric. Should your quilt arrive with any basting already done (either with pins or by hand) this will need to be removed & you will be charged for the time taken to do this. Any safety pins will be returned with your quilt.
The Quilting Process - there are many aspects to consider when having a quilt quilted. Give some thought as to what type of work you would like done on your quilt top. Is it a gift for someone? If so what do you think the recipient would like? What sort of money do you want to spend? The more detail in the quilting (eg Custom work) the more it will cost for this to be done. Also, keep in mind that if you say "Quilt what you think is best", this may well mean the quilter will stitch whatever she feels necessary to complete the quilt. It makes my job so much easier if you have some idea of what you would like the overall look of your quilt to be. It is afterall your quilt & you have invested a lot of time & money to make so far.
Please keep in mind that your quilt will be together forever so the more care taken in your preparation & decisions on the quilting, the better result I can achieve for you! Should you need any further information please contact Val.