Quilt Preparation

Save time by making sure your quilt is prepared for the grand finale! Your pieced top, batting and backing must be three separate layers in order to be loaded onto the longarm quilting machine. Begin by removing all pins or basting threads. Then use the following information to make sure your quilt is ready to go.

Quilt Top

  • Top should be pressed and all seams should lie flat, especially at the joints.
  • There should be no holes or gaps where one of the fabrics got lost during construction. (The hopping foot can get caught in one of these holes, sew itself in, and be tricky to get undone without damaging your quilt!)
  • All embellishments should be removed. These machines are fast and durable, but needles break when they hit objects that shouldn’t be there.
  • Borders should be flat and even, no ripples. If it won’t lie flat on a table, it will not load flat on a frame and may pucker as you quilt.

Quilt Back

  • Quilt backing should measure at least 8 inches longer and 8 inches wider than your quilt top. This allows us to attach your backing to the leaders, clamp the sides and still have room to move the machine around without hitting the clamps.
  • If your backing does not have this margin, add fabric to make it so (it doesn’t have to match, it just has to make it bigger). Square up the piece that you have, then add straight pieces! Trust me, this is important when you go to load.
  • The bigger your quilt, the more extra length you need in your backing. Backing and batting are drawn up during the quilting process and you don’t want to run out of backing at the end!.
  • All edges should be rotary cut straight, not ripped.
  • Selvedges are removed from the joining seam and side edges.
  • Pre wash your back if using heavily dyed fabrics and press out all “factory wrinkles” from the bolt.


  • Batting should be the size of your backing
  • Packaged batting should be opened and fluffed in advance for ease of handling
  • Batting should be of a good quality that will enhance your finished product. (I do not recommend “craft batting” and may refuse to use it.)
  • Several Quilter’s Dream battings are available for purchase at the studio. Please see our Thread & Batting page for more information. You may also bring your own good quality batting.

Pre- Treating Your Quilt

If your quilt layers have been living in a smoking environment, they must be pre-treated before being brought to the studio for quilting.

  • Open each layer into a loose “heap”.
  • Place each layer in a separate garbage bag with a piece of bar soap. (Something strong like Irish Spring works best)
  • Twist tie the bag shut and leave for at least a week.
  • You can try tumbling it in a dryer with a dryer sheet.  Please make sure the smoke smell is gone before bringing it to quilt. Many thanks.


Mermac Design will add binding to finish the edges of your quilt. We will either apply binding to the front for you to hand sew on the back or apply it to the back and machine finish it on the front. See our pricing page for fees. Please prepare your binding as follows:

  • Strips should be evenly cut at 2 1/2 inches.
  • Diagonally piece all strips together.
  • Press joining seams open.
  • Fold and press binding in half the long way, wrong sides together, aligning raw edges.
  • Roll finished binding onto a tube to keep it neat.
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