On October 11, 2022, Guild Member Stephanie Baker shared with us some great information about how a longarming business works, how pricing is determined, and tips for keeping your longarmer happy. Here is the second installment of what we learned during Stephanie’s presentation.
Part II: Backing, Batting, and Thread
Backing choices and how to prepare them- 3 common types of backing: 1) 108” wide backing- great for larger quilts, if you can find the designs you like. 2) 42” wide fabric pieced backing - makes the back coordinate with the top of the quilt. 3) A fully pieced backing - can be tricky and not all quilters will work with this type of backing. It’s almost considered another quilt top. These can be hard to work; you cannot guarantee the placement of the top of the quilt and how it will “land” on the back of the quilt.
The size for your backing must be larger than the quilt top by 4-6” on all 4 sides. If your quilt measures 72” x 60” add 10” to each of those measurements (82” X 70”) and you will be covered. The backing needs to be larger due to the side clamps and the leaders that hold the quilt to the frame.
Batting choices- There are many options for different situations. Who is the quilt for? How will it be used? What type of look are you going for (piecing or quilting as the focus)? An 80/20 cotton/poly blend is common for everyday use, gifted, or community service quilts. For custom quilts it is popular to have the 80/20 for the base layer and a second layer of wool with more loft for the show quilts or quilts for display. Some longarmers will opt to have their clients provide their own battings while others require you to buy directly from them. Batting, like backing must be 4-6” larger on all 4 sides.
Thread selection- Most longarmers have their own collection of thread to use. You can usually pick out the colors with them. Depending you your quilters’ preference, you can match the bobbin thread to your backing or match the top and bobbin threads. For the custom quilting jobs, thread matching becomes more important as each area may have a different color.
We will complete our journey later this week in Part III: Computer-Guided vs Operator-Guided Quilting! See you soon!
For more information about Stephanie's business, you can visit her website at www.stephaniezquiltz.com/about