Preparing Your Quilt

Before your quilt can be long armed, it needs a little TLC…

Dos:

  • The top and back will be stretched across rollers under tension, so please ensure your seams are securely sewn.
  • Trim all the loose threads – any poking through the top are in danger of being caught up in the stitching and any darker threads underneath may show through your quilt top.
  • Give it a jolly good pressing. The finished quilt will look much nicer if your seams are lying flat – and it reduces the risk of little pockets forming in the quilting
  • Long arm machines love a square quilt! This applies to the top and the backing.  Both are attached to the frame at a perfect 90˚ angle, so if this is out then the pattern will stitch slightly out too.
  • Your squared up backing needs to be 8” longer and wider than your quilt top (so, a 70” x90” top will require a 78” x 98” backing). This gives us enough spare fabric to attach and clamp it to the machine.
  • If you have to join your backing fabric, please use a ½” seam allowance, remove the selvedges at the join and press the seam open (a totally alien concept to us patchworkers!). You can leave the selvedges at the outer edges if you wish.
  • We supply the most fabulous waddings, which quilt really well on the long arm machine, however if you do supply your own wadding please ensure it is 6” longer and wider than the quilt top (so, a 70” x90” top will require 76” x 96” of wadding). As a rule, we do not pre-wash the wadding we supply, but can if you want us to – just let us know when you order.

Don’ts

  • Please do not baste your quilt. We attach it to the machine as three separate layers… and will have to charge for unpicking… Basting is, in my opinion, the most tedious part of quilting, so relax… have a cuppa… and rejoice in the fact that you don’t have to do it!
  • Remember we said the long arm machine loves a square quilt? Well, it hates embellishments! Buttons and beads especially are a big no-no. If you’re going to add them, please do so once we’ve returned the quilt to you. Embroidery is fine but, unless they’re sewn down (and any flappy edges secured), ribbon and ric rac can be problematic as they can get caught up in the foot.
  • The same rule applies to pins… the machine REALLY hates pins! If your domestic sewing machine catches a pin it will simply snap the needle… on a long arm machine, it can not only snap the needle but can also bend the entire needle bar. Please please please remove any pins from your work (apart from the one I’m about to ask you for next)…
  • If your quilt top & bottom are directional, please mark both with a note pinned to the top edge. You may think it’s really obvious, but it’s worth telling us to be on the safe side.

FAQs

  • Here at Lou Lou Rioux we offer a fully computerised ordering system, however we are real people and would be delighted to take your order in person or by telephone or email. All our details are on the ‘contact us’ page.
  • If you have a pattern in mind that isn’t listed on the website, please just ask. We work with the best pattern designers in the world many of whom will make one up especially for us.
  • We specialise in contemporary edge to edge long arm quilting. We can offer custom work, but because it demands so much more time it can be quite costly. Please contact us if you require custom quilting.
  • Our quilting studio is based just outside Monmouth, South Wales. We love to meet our customers, but please contact us for an appointment first. On a Thursday morning, you can also find us at The Cotton Angel in Monmouth.
  • Quilts can be brought to our studio, dropped off at The Cotton Angel in Monmouth or we can arrange courier collection – just tick the relevant box when you checkout online.
  • We aim to quilt a number of charity quilts each year. If you are a member of a quilting group who need a quilt long arming for charity, please get in touch and we’ll see what we can do.