Preparing your Quilt Top for Quilting

Now that you have finished the quilt top, you need to get it ready for quilting, either on your Janome Quilt Maker Pro 18; Janome Quilt Maker Pro 16; Janome Artistic Quilter SD16 or your Janome domestic machine. Here’s a few guidelines with what you need to do in order to have the best quilting possible.

Press your quilt top. Turn your quilt top over and make sure the seams lie flat; your iron is your best friend.  If you have fullness, you can also spray starch the area and iron that section as this may help shrink, or ease in that section. 

Is the quilt top square? Measure the center top to bottom. Then measure the outside edges. If there is more than a ½ inch difference, it is possible that your quilt will have puckers when quilted. Repeat the process horizontally. If the top is not flat or has fullness, the quilt cannot be pulled out. You can possibly take a couple of “darts” to remove some of the fullness if the design patterns allows this. However, this does not ensure that there won’t be puckering or tucks around the edges.

Check quilt top for any loose threads. Make sure there are no dark threads showing through lighter fabrics. If these threads are not trimmed, they will end up being quilted and they will show through on the front. If you have a border with piano keys for example, sew a basting stitch down the outside edges to prevent your seams from opening up.

If your quilt has a definite direction to it or you want one edge to be the top, pin a note to that edge. Do not add embellishments such as buttons, beads, ribbons to the quilt top prior to the quilting process as they may get in the way of the needle

The flatter the top is from the start, the better the quilting job will be. Did I mention your iron is your best friend? 100% cotton fabric is best. Decide if you want to pre-wash the fabric. If the top fabric was washed then you should wash the backing as well. Don’t forget to Iron.

Backing. If seams are necessary to get the back large enough, trim the selvage edge from the seams and press them open. It is easier to do this if the seams are sewn at 1/2 inch. The backing must be 4 to 6 inches larger than the quilt top. This allows space for the pinning process and for the layering that takes place. Make sure the back is trimmed and straight. If you are loading the back onto a long arm and the back has seams, it is always easiest to have the seams parallel with the bars when possible. The thickness of the seam allowance won’t build up around the rollers as they would if the seam was vertical.

Batting also needs to be 4 to 6 inches larger than the quilt top. Batting is one of those items that you “get what you pay for”. Beware, the cheaper the batting, the poorer the quality. The quality of a batting will have an effect on the finished quilt. We will be discussing all types of batting in a future post. Stay tuned.


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