Please use the following guide to prepare your quilt top and backing for the longarming process.  Following these steps will help ensure the best results possible for your final quilt. 


  • First, whether this is a new or vintage top, DO NOT wash the top before longarming!  You will end up with tangles of loose threads on the back and most likely a distorted quilt. 
  • Mark the top of your quilt top and backing with a safety pin.
  • If your quilt top does not have a solid border (it is not pieced):
    • Trim any misaligned block seams along the edges so they are even
    • Make sure seams along the edges are secured with backstitching
    • I highly recommend that you stay stitch around the edges of your quilt within the ¼” binding area, to avoid stretching and to secure all your seams.  There is some stress placed on these seams during quilting.
  • Trim loose threads on the front and back of your quilt top.
  • Press your quilt top. Make sure seams are as you intended (open or to one side) and there are no folds or pleats along seams.
  • Make sure to remove all pins (except safety pins to mark the top of quilt and backing), buttons, sequins or other embellishments that can get caught in the machine


  • The backing should be AT LEAST 8” longer and 8" wider than your quilt top.  More is fine.
  • Press the backing to remove folds and deep wrinkles.  Seam allowances should be pressed open.
  • If you are piecing the backing, use AT LEAST a ½ inch seam allowance. 
  • Do not include selvages in seam allowance – this can cause puckering.  They are fine on the outer edges.
  • Use horizontal seams (parallel to top and bottom) whenever possible as they will lay flatter on the frame than vertical seams.
  • Square up the backing after pressing.
  • If you are using flannel, pre-washing before pressing is a good idea as flannel shrinks more than regular cotton.

A WORD OR TWO ABOUT BORDERS:  One of the biggest issues longarm quilters run into is the "wavy border."  Wavy borders are the result of a border strip that is actually too big for the side of the quilt.  This what happens when we create a long strip, stitch it on to the side of the quilt and simply cut off the extra border length.  It may or may not be possible to quilt out the extra fullness which can be considerable. if it can't be quilted out, the border either has to be removed, fixed and re-stitched or you end up with pleats or puckers in the border.  Here's a link to an article and video on the best way to make sure your borders will fit your quilt perfectly and quilt smoothly.