Preliminaries and Preparations


Proper preparation is essential for a good result, so please read the following instructions carefully!

Any preparations that you choose to have me do here (e.g. seaming backing, pressing seams, etc.) will be billed at $20/hr.


  • The three layers of your quilt will be loaded on the machine independently of one another. Please do not pin or baste them together.
  • The batting and backing should measure at least eight inches longer and eight inches wider than your quilt top. For example, if your quilt measures 60" x 80", the batting and backing should measure at least 68" x 88".
The backing here is too skimpy. The underside of the sewing head (indicated by the green arrow) is running into the clamp that holds the batting and backing flat and taut. This can deflect the sewing line.
This customer pieced her backing to make it wide enough.

Quilt Top

  • Press seams well. Be sure the top lies flat. Ripples and puffy places will not necessarily quilt flat. Take care that the borders do not ripple and wave.
The body of this pretty quilt rolled up flat and smooth. The border, however, has extra fullness which creates ripples and waves.
The solution, other than removing and resewing borders, was to make folded pleats, as in the picture. The Internet is full of suggestions as to how to avoid this situation in the first place.
  • The top should be free of embellishments such as buttons, beads, and crystals.
  • Clip all loose threads and be sure the seams have been pressed.
The stray dark threads in this quilt show through the light fabric. Always check and trim these before you send your quilt.
  • A row of stay stitching, applied inch or less from the edge of the quilt, will prevent stretching and will keep seams that extend to the edges from separating.
  • If your quilt has a definite "head," and you think I might not recognize it, apply a piece of masking tape to identify it.


  • If you send batting, check the package to be sure it is suitable for machine quilting. I do not stock a large batting inventory, but offer some of my favorites if you would like to purchase batting from me. It is priced at $12.60 per yard (or 35 cents per linear inch). Check with me to see what's available.


  • Please trim off the selvage edges before seaming your backing. Sides should be straight, and the backing squared. (A better term would be "rectangled". Your backing should have straight edges, with opposite edges parallel. Corners should be right angles.) Bed sheets are usually not suitable because of their high thread count.
  • Be aware that it is not possible to center the top over the backing in both directions. A backing with a center monogram, or with a border, is likely to be "off" in the final product.
  • Thread used on the back side will be matched as nearly as possible to the top thread. (Top and bottom threads that contrast too much result in the appearance of specks of the opposing color.)


  • Please send extra fabric if you would like me to cut and apply binding. I will cut 2½ inch straight grain binding, apply by machine to the front, turn, and hand stitch on the back. Corners will be mitered. I charge 30 cents per perimeter inch for this. (If you would like me to cut and apply binding to the front, and leave the hand stitching to you, I will charge 15 cents per perimeter inch.)


  • A $50 deposit is required to begin work on your quilt. You may either include a check or money order (payable to Gull Cottage Quilting) in your shipment, or you may use PayPal here. Please indicate on your order form which payment method you are using.

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