The Quilt House

The Quilt House

​​Professional long-arm quilting service.

Tips and Tricks


Preparing a Quilt Top

  • Do not use selvedges in your quilt tops.
  • Your quilt top should be well pressed before you bring it to me, with all seams pressed in the direction you wish them to sit. Generally seams should be pressed to one side: this enables you to press towards the darker fabric and eliminate the issue of dark fabrics showing through light fabric. Also, seams should be pressed to one side to facilitate "stitch in the ditch" quilting.
  • A suggested method of folding your quilt is to fold in half lengthways, bringing the right-hand edge to the left each time. Do this as many times as necessary, depending on the size of your quilt, so that it is a manageable width. Then you can bring the two bottom ends up to meet and hang the quilt on a skirt (clip) clothes hanger or over the bar on a conventional clothes hanger. This is a good way to store and transport your quilt tops and backing.
  • Loose threads on the top and back should be trimmed as these may catch and distort the quilt, or show through the fabric and spoil the look.
  • Make sure all seams are intact, especially those at the edge of the quilt.
  • As far as possible, your quilt top should be flat. I may be able to work around small discrepancies in piecing, but generally mistakes in construction cannot be quilted out and may in fact be exacerbated during quilting. If your quilt has wavy outer borders, I suggest you remove them, resize and reapply them. Similarly any "tents" caused through excess fabric in the centre of the quilt should be eliminated. This may sound like a huge chore, but believe me the extra effort is worth it!
  • Mark the top edge of your quilt with a small safety pin so that I can be sure to get the orientation correct.
  • Please do not have any embellishments/beads etc on your quilt as these catch in the hopping foot of the machine.


The Quilt Back

  • Fabric for your quilt back should be 100% cotton, of a similar weight/thread count to your quilt top, preferably designated craft/ patchwork fabric. Using sheeting etc may produce a poor result as it will typically differ from the other fabrics used.
  • Your quilt backing should be well pressed. It can be folded and hung in the same manner as the quilt top. (See above).
  • Your quilt back must measure 4 inches larger than the quilt top in each direction, that is, 8 inches longer and 8 inches wider than your top. The reason for this is to allow me sufficient fabric to attach the back to the rollers and clamps on my machine. So, for example, if your quilt top measures 50" by 70" your backing should be 58" by 78".
  • It is very important that your backing is very square, as I use the squared edges of the backing to align the batting and quilt top when I load them to the machine. I will always check and trim your backing to ensure it is spot-on before I proceed. This is another reason you need to allow a little extra fabric for your backing.
  • Please ensure the selvedge is trimmed off all seams.  The weave of selvedge is different to the rest of the fabric and will quilt differently, so selvedges sitting in seam allowances may cause uneven stitches and cause a tight ridge through the quilt. 
  • Wideback fabrics created for use on quilt backs are ideal, but it is often economical to piece a backing using leftover fabrics. Bulky seams should be avoided and where you have pieced a backing, the seams may be pressed open. Trying to match intricate piecing in a backing to the design on the front is difficult  and so I generally advise against this.
  • I advise you to wash all backing fabrics prior to quilting.


The Batting

  • Your batting should also measure 4 inches larger on each side than your quilt top, that is, 8 inches longer and wider.
  • I can supply Matilda's Own 60/40 batting. This is 60% wool and 40% polyester, has a medium loft (puffiness) and has been pre-washed and pre-shrunk. I can load this to the quilting machine in the most economical orientation and return to you the portion which is not used. It is 240cm (94.5inches) wide, so accommodates quite a large quilt.
  • If you require a larger size,  many patchwork stores also stock it in 310cm (122 inches) width. If you are making a dark coloured quilt, you might like to consider using charcoal batting.
  • It is possible to join batting for use in your quilts, but it must be absolutely flat and unpuckered and all pieces joined must be of the same type of batting.  To do so, I recommend Matilda's Own Batting Joiner, which is a 20cm wide fusible tape. I am happy to join your batting for you, for a small charge. Please inquire if you are interested in this service.


Choosing Your Quilting Thread
 

  • I use Aurifil thread to quilt your quilts. This is manufactured from a strong long staple Egyptian cotton which produces a smooth strong thread. It is available in 270 colours, including some variegated colours.
  • When choosing your quilting thread colour, we "trial" the thread by laying it across various sections of the quilt top to see how it looks against the different fabrics you have used. Some colours look well against certain portions but are a poor choice in others. We will attempt to find the thread which looks good in all sections. It is also very important to see how it looks against your backing fabric (and it is a good idea to keep this in mind when deciding on your backing fabric).
  • I use the same coloured thread on the top and in the bobbin.
  • Variegated threads can look very effective, but not always so. Because we cannot control which section of the variegation will fall in a certain part of the quilt, a variegated thread is not always the best choice. Variegated threads with a lot of white in them may also lead to a disappointing result.  I will always do my best to guide you into making a decision which leads to a pleasing result.


Choosing the Quilting Design

  • I have a large selection of edge to edge, block and border designs from which to choose, many of which are stitched out on fabric samples so that you can see exactly how they look. When you come for a consultation we will spend some time working out what will be suitable for your quilt.

Peggy has only been quilting for a year but has really caught the bug. (See more of her work on the testimonial page). Her most recent quilt, which she designed herself is a bookcase quilt. To do justice to the design, each book is individually ditch-stitched, with a little stippling in the background. I designed a simple border to complement the rest of the quilt. Peggy is going to embroider book titles on the spines of the books.

​​Professional long-arm quilting service.

​​Professional long-arm quilting service.