**Things to Know**
This is the part where we walk you through how our process typically unfolds, and we explain some of the “behind the scenes” details from our end. We want to answer frequently asked questions, and give you a sense of how we like to work. We are ALWAYS open to questions, and happy to chat!
Backing Fabric Questions:
What Size Should My Backing Be?
Here's an easy way to remember our requirements: “Eight is Great!” As in, we need at least 8” of extra fabric to be added to Height AND Width. For example, if you have a quilt top that is 60" x 80", your backing should measure at least 68" x 88". It can always be bigger (Longarmers love wideback fabric!), but not smaller. We really, truly need this extra fabric to be able to run test stitching as we unroll the entire quilt on our frame. Sometimes as the quilt layers shift or fabrics stretch, the thread or tension needs to be fine-tuned, and having a “Test Strip” to check everything out invisibly is essential to protect your quilt top. This doesn't have to be a source of worry, if you have any concerns or questions, please feel free to reach out to us and we can figure it out together! We know how to remedy backing “emergencies,” but additional costs might be incurred, depending on how much extra work is required.
Which Backing Fabrics Do You Accept?
We have experience quilting backings with cotton, flannel, minky, and rayon fabrics. We’ve used pieced backings, wideback/wholecloth fabrics, and combinations of textiles. We are happy to explore and experiment with you, and will accept different backings on a case-by-case basis. Please mention on our “Book a Quilt” form if you are sending anything other than quilting cotton, as we just need to get the right materials prepped. There are no extra fees for varied backing fabrics.
How do I seam this crazy thing?
Typically, the seams work best for us if they run horizontally (left to right) across your backing fabric. It is easier for our rolling bars to keep those edges smooth and flat laying in that direction. However, we quilt projects all the time that feature Improv or pieced backing fabrics, and they all quilt out just fine! This is a preference for us, not a requirement.
We also encourage you to use the selvedge edges as the sides you sew together, and feel free to leave them uncut at the top of your backing. They are typically already a straight edge, and that makes loading your quilt much simpler!!!
Please DO indicate if you have a specific directionality in mind for your fabrics though. You can run a safety pin through (or washi tape, or pen marking) to mark the “top” of your quilt flimsy and another marking the ``top” of your backing fabric, to ensure that we can easily recognize which direction you want to face upwards on the final quilt sandwich. For clarity, “top” here means the edge of the quilt that would tuck up towards your head and shoulders, the “bottom” would be down at your feet.
Prepping Your Project:
Finished My Quilt Top and Backing! What Do I Do Now?
1) Pop the cork and CELEBRATE!!! Never, never, EVER apologize, worry, or stress that your sewing is imperfect. ALL SEWING IS IMPERFECT. Promise! Seriously, ours is, yours is, it JUST ALWAYS IS!!! Instagram and Photoshop can make us all crazy if we let them. Don’t buy into the illusion or expectation. We work with you, we love to help. Let’s focus on that good stuff!
2) Square it up, pretty please. There are excellent tutorials available to give you tips and insights. Our favorites are over on YouTube from Blair Stocker at Wise Craft Handmade https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yIqm7Q36vqw and The Crafty Gemini at https://youtu.be/yHteSUaU0yQ
In order to load your quilt straight on our longarm frame, we need there to be straight edges across the top of your quilt, and down the sides. When a quilt is left untrimmed or crooked, it can warp the placement of the quilting panto, or prevent the panto from lining up along seam lines properly. In some quilting designs, these imperfections are invisible, but on others, it can draw attention to visible warping. If you have concerns about your seams staying straight, we have a LOT of solutions, and great designs to suggest that can take the stress completely out of the equation! We are not perfect quilters, so we don’t ask you to be either! We’ve seen a lot, and we have a lot of knowledge to help guide you through these processes! We’re here to listen, to advise, and to assist the whole way. If you are worried about trimming off a point, a corner, or tip, etc. in the squaring process, we can help you with that too! We learn best when we learn together!
3) Press it, press it good! Try not to “iron” as it can stretch fabrics and seams out. Press your blocks and your seams (with or without steam and a tailor’s clapper), and get those little suckers flat! If you ship a folded quilt flimsy and backing to us, we are happy to touch the top up before it goes on the frame. Please do your best to give us a good head’s start. If you are local, consider rolling and pinning your fabric and top around a cheap pool noodle to keep the seams nice and flat. We will also keep our eyes out for any deep seam pile-ups, and smooth those out as we quilt along.
4) Trim your fly-away threads, ESPECIALLY if they are dark fabrics next to lighter fabrics. Nobody wants to see a dark shadow lurking under their pristine white background fabric, left by an errant dark thread! We always catch them as we can, and we use a lint-roller on any fabrics that are prone to fraying (like linen or some heavier fabrics) before we get started quilting too. Just keep your eyes peeled! Team effort, for the win!
5) Measure your quilt top accurately in inches. You may get slightly different numbers across the top, middle and bottom of the quilt top. We will be calculating the quilting based on the largest width and height measurements taken. The panto needs to fill the entire measured surface area to look its best.
Disclosures and Minutia:
What Does Your Pricing Include?
Our E2E Panto designs begin at $.025/square inch. If your quilt top measures 60”x80” and you select a standard pantograph, your quilting cost would be $120.00. The costs per square inch rise from there to accommodate the amount of hands-on time and support each quilt will require. There can be some fluctuation in pricing during the quilting process, depending on the nature of the quilt top, density, and the degree of difficulty within certain quilting designs. We will advise you as you select your design, giving our insights and ballpark estimates of how much each design should cost. We DO NOT want there to be “Invoice Shock” after a quilt is completed!!! We are absolutely comfortable discussing any budget, and can guide you to choices that are easiest to price, that are still an EXCELLENT compliment to your work. As we discuss your design options, do not hesitate to ask questions that come up about the differences in panto pricing, etc. We are happy to remain transparent about our pricing structures, and can offer you comparisons to help you make your selections. You have the final say in keeping your project on budget and we are here to help and support that!
All of our Design Consultation is included in your E2E costs. Our collaborative process also includes several design images sent via text or email to help you narrow down your choices, and a basic set of Mock-Up photos (when possible) to show you a simple overlay of the quilting design on top of a photo of your quilt. These mock-ups are not 100% to scale and typically are sent showing a bright contrasting thread color, to show design details and shapes. These mock-ups are only available for designs we already own, or the E2E digital pantos available on www.urbanelementz.com
We have collected almost 1,000 pantograph designs in our library!!! Customers may use any of those designs at no cost. If you request an Edge-to-Edge panto that is not already in our library, we're happy to split the cost of the new panto 50/50. Most pantographs run around $15. There are only two scenarios where we would bill a customer full price for a panto purchase. 1) If the customer requested the purchase of a specific new design, but then did not use it on their project, 2) If the customer requested a very niche-themed panto that we were unlikely to reuse for future customers. If that is ever the case, we will communicate the specific Design Fee while we are engaged in the quilting design collaboration process. We have all kinds of design themes available in our Panto Library, everything from traditional, novelty, modern, holiday, geometric, floral, feathers, linear, fillers, dense designs, or faux free-motion, to name just a few styles. We also offer individual block designs and shape-specific quilting options for our Custom Quilting clients! Don't hesitate to ask us about mixing E2E with Semi-Custom work too.
After you have paid your invoice, we will email you a few high quality photos of your completed quilt. If you credit both our quilting work and our photo as Wander Stitch Company, you may use them to promote your work. We maintain rights to those photos, and you may not sell or alter them without our consent. These photos make great "content" for social media accounts, and we highlight them to our accounts frequently!!
Our Standard Process:
ALL PROJECTS must use the “Book A Quilt” form from our website. The details on that form are logged directly into our record-keeping software, so it is VERY IMPORTANT. We will confirm receipt of the Booking form with an email, and either provide our shipping address, or schedule a pick-up/drop off of your quilt. We are happy to pickup and/or deliver within 20 mile radius of Warrenton, Virginia. The Dulles Expo Center is also a good location for us to meet clients. For our Metro DC/MD customers, we offer some appointments for pickup and drop-off at Tint Makerspace in Falls Church, or we have had consistent one day delivery using USPS. Just let us know where you are, and what you need, and we’ll make a plan!
Your project is added into our queue in the order the quilts are received by us, in hand. We request a Due Date for scheduling purposes. Our fastest turnaround time is approximately 5-7 days from receipt of the quilt, but our queue can back up for 6-8 weeks occasionally. Our calendar is in constant fluctuation, but we will specify your Completion Date when we discuss your Booking Form details. If possible, we are happy to expedite your service, but that is not guaranteed. Please look ahead to plan out your holiday or seasonal quilting needs, or pattern release dates!
Upon receipt of your quilt, we place the projects in order in a zipped plastic bag with your “Book A Quilt” form and work order inside the longarm studio. We share our home with a short-haired dog, but she is blocked from the quilting room at all times. We are entirely a non-smoking household. If there happen to be strong allergens present (fragrances, smoke, animal hair, etc.) when we receive your quilt, we will hang and air out the fabrics, and the project will reenter the queue when the smells have lessened.
When your project is next in line, we will text or email you to begin the Design Consultation process. You can help guide our suggestions by including descriptions or themes in the Message section of the Booking form. Some examples are: “I’d like a modern star shape with a rounded edge. I’d like it to be around 6.5” wide. I like floral designs with swirls. I hate Meander style quilting, but I love feathers. I am obsessed with geometric patterns. I want a different design in each block. I’d like something with a masculine feel. This is for a teenage girl who is crazy about cats and ballet. I’d like for it to be super subtle and spread out wide. The design needs to have a beachy vibe. I want this quilted so densely that it can stand up by itself. I prefer traditional quilting designs. I love hexagons and triangles. I want to mix it hand-quilting with this panto, so I need empty space too.” We will communicate with you during our process as much or as little as you’d like. Some people enjoy progress updates, some people prefer a formal unveiling live at the end. Let us know what your preferences are in the Message section on the Booking Form.
When we are suggesting or choosing thread colors for a project, we typically recommend a neutral shade that blends into the lightest fabric colors within an arrangement. Most customers prefer the quilting to support the quilt pattern, and blend into the background. We are open to discuss different thread choices between bobbin and top threads, and we have experience with blending these to assist your selections. We do offer colored and variegated threads, if your style is to let the quilting itself sing.
After completing your quilting, we will remove the quilt from the frame, and can trim it down for you. We leave our basting stitches in place, as they provide great support when sewing down binding. We typically suggest a ¼” edge between the trimming line and the basting stitches. If your quilt top was not originally squared straight, we will not cut through your quilt top design, but leave the trim line at ¼” outside the widest edge of the fabric, and allow you to remove any extra, or attach the binding at that place instead. We will always return any excess backing fabric and unused batting to you, unless you donate it to our re-use in charity projects. We frequently volunteer through several charities and fundraisers to donate quilts, quilting, and other services. If you are local, you will be contacted and a pick-up/delivery will be scheduled when the invoice is paid. Upon receipt of payment, we will also email you a nice photo or two of your finished project.
If you are a shipping customer, we will notify you if the backing and/or batting return is going to change the costs of your return shipping before we send them and bill you. After trimming, your quilt will be folded neatly into a compostable poly-style bag and sealed. This sealed bag protects the quilt inside from any light, weather, or moisture. The bag is then packed inside a cardboard box for shipping. We try to improve our environmental practices when possible, so we might ship in a repurposed box. We use the USPS, and try to use the cheaper option between Flat Rate boxes or Priority Mail. If you prefer to upgrade the shipping to UPS or FedEx, please let us know in the Message section of the Booking form. We will ship out your package when the invoice is paid, and then email you a nice photo or two of your completed project.
If you post/share our pictures, please credit our quilting and photo work as Wander Stitch Company. Don’t forget to notify us if your projects are ever featured in print, online, used as a cover, or given awards of any kind! We LOVE to promote your work and our collaboration! Unless otherwise directed on the Booking Form, we can share our photos of your work (with credit, of course) on our website and social media accounts. We’re happy to delay posting if you are doing Secret Sewing, pattern testing, or other sensitive projects. Just let us know a “release date” so that we can commence with our internet sharing!
We are all making art together. On rare occasions, mistakes might be made. Quilts will always be delightfully imperfect objects. We are available to listen to your feedback, and discuss any concerns that arise. You are responsible for directing our attention to any questions or confusion that might come up along the way. We want to maintain a wide-open dialogue about these decisions/scenarios with our customers, and we like working as a creative team together with you! We will always treat you, your budget, and your work with respect!!! We want to be the first people you reach out to when you have a project in mind. We truly appreciate every customer, and every quilt! Let’s DO THIS!!!!
From here, click on the “Book A Quilt” button below or at the top of our home screen!