Preparing Your Quilt

The Quilted Orchid

How to prepare your quilt top in preparation for machine quilting


Clip any dangling or stray threads, press seam allowances to one side or open (just be consistent for the entire quilt top), press entire quilt top, safety pin the top edge of your quilt top as well as the top edge of your backing (if appropriate), if your quilt top doesn’t have borders for best results stay-stitch 1/8″ from the edges to keep any piecing from coming undone while loading the quilt on the frame, for non-border tops please back-stitch any seams that are at the edge of the top.

Please wait to sew on any embellishments such as buttons, beads, charms, rick-rack, etc to your quilt after it’s been quilted, otherwise, custom quilting charges will be incurred.


Measure your quilt top through the center from one end to the other lengthwise, repeat for each end. Also do this for widthwise. If the measurements are off by more than 1″ then there may be excess fabric in the borders.

The best way to attach borders is to measure the length in three places – through the center of the quilt and across both the edges. Take the average of those measurements and cut both top and bottom border to this average measurement. Pin the ends together then sew. You may have to ease in a bit of the top but this will ensure that you have flat, not wavy borders. Too much wave in your quilt top and it may not “quilt out” but have tucks instead. Do the same for your side borders. If your quilt top lays flat then your finished quilt will also be flat.

I’ll do my best to quilt out the fullness if these instructions aren’t followed, but in many instances, small pleats can’t be avoided.


Your backing needs to be 8″ (4” on each side) larger than your quilt top. For example, if your top measures 60″ x 80″ then your backing needs to be 68″ x 88″ up to 70″x90″. This extra fabric is necessary for mounting your quilt to the quilting frame. Your completed quilt will be returned to you with the backing untrimmed unless you’ve requesting the binding service. Please square your backing fabric so that it has 90 degree corners. Use straight grainlines for the backing edges. Bias edges will continue to stretch during the framing process. If it needs to be seamed please cut off any selvages and press the seam allowances. Pieced backs can be beautiful, but keep in mind that it’s not meant to be reversible. A few leftover blocks are great just not a second quilt top. Please be kind to your quilt and use the same high quality cotton for your backing – no bed sheets please.


I stock an extensive selection of Hobbs Batting.  We have Tuscany Cotton, Tuscany (80% Cotton, 20% Wool), Tuscany 100% Wool, Tuscany Silk (90% Silk, 10% poly) and Heirloom 80% Cotton, 20% Poly.


I will choose a complimentary thread color that will let the texture of the quilting shine but not overwhelm the piecing. Please be aware that I use the same or similar color of thread for the quilt top thread as well as the bobbin thread. If you have a high contrast backing the thread choices may be limited.

Thread weight will be determined by the quilting design selected, and whether or not emphasis on the quilting is desired.


For internet/mail order clients, please neatly fold your quilt top and backing, place in a plastic bag along with your name and contact info.

Currently shipping, via Priority Mail 2-Day™ Medium Flat Rate Box, is $13.65.  Both quilt top and backing will fit this box.  However, it’s advised that they be placed in a plastic bag, incase of weather.