First: The most helpful hint I have ever heard for ensuring that a quilt will ‘quilt out’ beautifully is to attach borders, if any, as follows:
a. Measure your quilt (before borders) vertically through the center. Cut two border lengths to this measurement and fit to quilt, one on each side, pinning in the corners and center, placing additional pins evenly and sewing slowly. You’ll need more pins the wavier the fabric is. Sometimes the center is longer than one or both outside edge(s), in which case the border fabric will need more easing; sometimes the opposite is true, and the quilt side will need more easing.
b. Measure your quilt (after side borders) horizontally through the center. Measure two border lengths to that measurement and proceed as above.
I can’t tell you the number of times this method has resulted in a much more satisfying result!! If you have any questions about this method at all, give me a call.
Second: For longarm quilting your quilt will be loaded on three separate rollers. Please leave the top, batting, and backing fabrics separate, without pins or basting. Remove any embellishments.
Third: All seams should be pressed in the direction you want them to be when laid out on the batting. Check to be sure the quilt is as square as possible, and that all seams are secure with no holes or incomplete seams. Unpressed seams will give a lumpy quilt.
Fourth: Clip all threads and remove pet fur/hair (so they don’t get included in the quilting!!)
Fifth: Backing: Because the rollers of the machine take up extra fabric, backing needs to be 8” longer in each direction than the quilt top. (For example, if your top is 48” x 60” your backing should be 56” x 68”.)
Sixth: Batting: needs to be 7” longer in each direction than the quilt top. (For the 48” x 60” quilt above, the batting would be cut 55” x 67”.)