Here are some tips that will maximize the quality of your
Remove selvedges. Reason: the selvedge has a different
stretch rate than the main fabric.
Make a true square or rectangle of both top and backing.
Always make the backing 4 inches larger on all 4 sides.
Reason: the top fabric and the backing draw at different
rates while quilting. In addition, different fabrics draw
at different rates. The added 4 inches allows room for
Backstitch all open edge seams as well as each piece in
the quilt. Reason: the quilt top is under some tension
as it is being quilted and could come apart if there are
Trim all loose threads. Reason: if during the quilting
process the machine foot catches a loose thread, it responds
like an emergency brake and could result in a hole in
Press the quilt top and backing. When possible, press
seam allowances flat. Reason: it makes for a nicer finish
and reduces blousing. All seams roll on the machine at
a different rate than single layer flat material.
If the perimeter does not have a border, a stay stitch
(basting) all the way around is very helpful. Reason:
the outside edge of a pieced quilt top is left unstable
and has a tendency to stretch or droop. The basting helps
stabilize this looseness.
Avoid using sheets. Reason: the weave (thread count) is
generally too tight to produce decent machine tensions.
Avoid backing borders. Reason: the top and backing draw
at different rates, so during the quilting process, the
border on the backing becomes asymmetrical on the sides
and could miss the end border altogether. If extra material
is needed to make the backing of sufficient size, place
this extra down the center of the backing.