The pieced quilt top is a work of art, it only becomes a quilted work of art when there batting and backing fabric are all bound together by a quilting stitch design. The quilting design itself adds depth and detail to your top to really set off the entire beauty of he art. The quilting service provider must make certain that you understand some of the difficulties they encounter when working with your art. Let’s begin with the two basic forms of quilting services, Edge-To-Edge and Custom quilting.
For most quilters seeking the affordable route there is the choice of Edge-to-Edge or E2E for short. As the name implies the pattern is repeated from one edge of the quilt to the opposite edge. The quilt is then rolled up and the design repeated, until completed. This does not mean that E2E are dull and simple patterns, oh on the contrary! There are literally hundreds of designs to suit anyone’s fancy or we can design and digitize one for your art. This is the most efficient use of a computerized quilting system. I utilize a fourteen foot Gammill longarm machine and aided by the Statler Creative Studio version 7 to meet your needs. The price for an E2E is 0.025 cents per square inch. All you have to do is multiply length by the width, then multiply by 0.025. In some circumstances the quilting provider may also selecting batting and backing fabric to help the top piece maker, and secure the perimeter with binding. A professional quilter will assist the piece maker at any phase where service is needed. The professional quilter will also review your top to determine if there are any complications that require correction before loading and quilting. You will be given the option to correct the issues or pay for the corrective service.
Custom quilting is when the piece maker seeks intricate detail and special effects for complex blocks, sashes, and borders. This where the professional quilter must have a long background in free motion quilting or a computer aided design (CAD) system. This is where the Statler Creative Studio version 7 comes into play. There are literally thousands of digital designs to be found through the internet. In many cases we cannot find what we believe would add the effect we wish and our design team consisted of Eddie Greenlee and Courtney Nicklas help to design and digitize the quilt CAD file to complete the effect.
Custom quilting is the most expensive quilting service there is. This service will start at .05 per square inch or a proposal will be given for the cost. Most piece makers using the custom route will do so if they can afford it, are looking to sell their quilt, or are entering their quilt in a judged competition. Now let me talk about the secrets to a stunning finished quilt.
Batting & Backing Fabric
Batting helps the quality of the quilt stitch pattern effects to appear. I highly recommend that your pieced art use batting made by Quilter’s Dream and I can order this for you. Ther are many other batting products available but most have an adverse effect on the quilting outcome and can do some damage to the quilt machine.
Your backing fabric may be a whole cloth backing or it must be pieced and sewn together to cover the area of the quilt top. However, both the batting and the backing must 6 inches longer in length and width when supplied to your professional quilter. The reasons are numerous, but most of all due to the potential of pushing pulling of the fabric during quilting there must be play so that the final cutting allows enough of all three layers for the final step – binding.
The final three steps of completing a quilt is the process of applying a line of fabric that binds the outer edges of the quilt and conceals the three layers that would otherwise be visible. Part of the process is manual cutting and the joining of fabric to make the binding strip, the next process is machine driven by attaching the strip to the top, and the final process is hand stitching the strip to the back concealing as much as possible any stitches from appearing. Think of crown or base molding in construction when you think of binding.
It is very rare that you might want to engage a professional quilter for all or one of these services. The binding strip for example may have to be made from remaining fabric and the top maker simply wishes to hand that part away. The cost for this is $.10 per linear inch (not including any fabric needing purchased). In our example this would be $24.
It is also very rare that the top maker would want the professional quilter to also sew on the binding strip, but the scenario may exist if the top maker’s machine is not working and a deadline is near. If the binding strip is made by the top maker the fee for machine attachment is $0.10 per linear inch or $24.
The last process is hand stitching the strip on the back side. Because of health issues such as reduced strength or arthritis, or a simple dislike of hand stitching – I can complete this process for $0.10 per linear inch or $24.
To provide the complete binding service processes described above the cost is $0.25 per linear inch. Therefore a complete binding service for the quilt in this example would be $60. No one ever said quilting was an inexpensive hobby, these are time consuming processes and my pricing structure is fair and comparable.
Advance Preparation of Your Quilt Top
You’ve heard the old saying, “measure twice, cut once”. Quilt top production is no exception and proper measuring is essential to a high quality work of art. Attention to detail is paramount. All your edges should be straight and corners abutted. Seams should be pressed flat and open, but not ironed, as fabric can be stretched by ironing.
Open seams is where the two adjoining blocks seam allowance are facing flat on their own side. Think of it this way, if you do not, one side will have a 1/4″ addition of fabric making three layers and creating a noticeable rise in the fabric and potentially creating poor stitch from jump stitching when the bobbin and upper thread do not connect.
Your top creation skills can improve over time if your professional quilter is invested in teaching you the tricks and tools of the trade. This is why we have created our YouTube channel to help you increasing your making skills.