Prep Your Quilt

Prep Your Quilt for Quilting Checklist


  • Check for and repair loose seams.
  • Press all seams flat.
  • Remove loose threads.
  • The quilt top must lay flat to prevent puckering and folds.
    TIP: Measure your quilt top’s width along the edges and center. Even measurements indicate a flat top. Measure your quilt top’s length in the same manner.
  • Please see Prevent Wavy Borders below!
  • Baste outer edges of pieced borders to prevent separation of pieces when light tension is applied to smooth quilt top.
  • Make sure any appliqué is secure.


  • Backing must be 8″ longer and wider than the quilt top.
    A 4″ allowance on all sides is necessary for maintaining proper tension during quilting.
  • Make sure all four sides of your backing have straight edges and are not cut on the bias.
    TIP: Bias (or diagonally cut) edges stretch at a much greater rate and prevent proper tensioning of the back on the quilt frame.


  • Batting must be at least 6″ longer and wider than the quilt top.
    A 3″ allowance on all sides ensures batting is evenly distributed.


  • No selvages in a top.  Selvages can only be on the outer edges of backing.
    TIP: Selvages shrink at a different rate than the rest of the fabric and will cause puckers.
  • Tops, batting & backing must be separate for proper loading on the quilting frame.
  • NO PINS!
  • NO BASTING (except for outer edges of pieced borders)!




Prevent Wavy Borders

Prevent Wavy Borders

You’ve spent so much time carefully measuring your quilt blocks. Now, it’s time to do the same for your borders.

If one long strip of fabric is created for the border, sewn from one end of the quilt to the other, and any extra fabric trimmed away, the border will most probably be wavy. This becomes even more pronounced with multiple borders.

Longarm quilters can ease in some of the waviness, but often puckering and even pleating can occur.

Here’s the best practice to maintain smooth borders:

Measure Vertical Borders
  • Measure the quilt across the left (A), middle (B) and right (C).
  • Average the three measurements:  (A+B+C) / 3
    Round to the nearest 1/4 inch.

For example, if a quilt measures 32″ on the left, the middle measures 31″ and the right measures 30″, the proper measurement for the borders is 31″.  (32+31+30) / 3 = 31.

  • Cut two border pieces at the determined length.
Pin Vertical Borders
  • With a pin, mark the centers of the quilt and border.
  • Align and pin the center of the border to the quilt’s center.
  • Align and pin the ends of the border to the quilt’s ends.
  • Ease in the remaining border to the quilt and pin.
  • Sew the evenly distributed border to the quilt.

Repeat with remaining borders.

Measure horizontal quilt border.
Pin Horizontal Quilt Border