The Great Jelly Roll Bash is on September 21st – Join me!

How to Set Up a Quilt on a Longarm

It’s noon and a hungry quilter has decided not to eat lunch until her quilt is set up on a longarm machine and the first pass of her tractor quilt has been quilted. She starts the setup: pin, roll, (that was wrong) unpin, unroll, repin, reroll. She gets the back on the machine and is ready to quilt when she realizes the setup on the back is wrong; she retracts and repeats her previous steps: unpin, unroll, unpin, re-pin, roll, re-pin. But this is when her plan starts to unravel. With the backside of the quilt once again placed on the machine, she notices that she has totally missed one bar.

It all became too clear: never quilt on an empty stomach.

I didn’t have lunch that day until 4 p.m. which is around the time the idea for this post was born. Please, my fellow quilters, eat before you quilt on your longarm! To ensure that I don’t experience another four hour quilt setup again, I decided to catalog this longarm tutorial. Hopefully it will help you out as well. Also, I want to give a huge thanks to my big sis from Big Mama Quilts for letting me use her longarm whenever. She spoils me rotten!

Longarm view from above

Attaching The Quilt Top

The first step in setting up your quilt on a longarm is adding your quilt top. you see the seams on top

  • Find the center of the quilt top and mark it.
  • Pin the quilt top to the center of the measured cloth on Bar A.
  • Seams will be facing you. Roll up the quilt top.
  • You will be able to see the bottom edge of the quilt top and Bar B.
Roll the quilt to up

Attaching The Quilt Bottom

Then add the quilt bottom to the longarm
  • Find the center of the quilt bottom and mark it.
  • Pin the quilt bottom to the center of the measured cloth on Bar B.
  • (You will not be able to see the seams when attached to Bar B.)
  • When you pin the other back side of the quilt to Bar C, you will be able to see the seams.
  • Make sure that the quilt bottom is behind Bar D. Roll up the quilt back attached to Bar B until tight.

Unroll the quilt top just enough to meet the quilt back that is attached to Bar C.
Add the batting between the quilt top and quilt bottom. Then using a basting stitch, sew a straight line on the edge of the quilt top that will attach the quilt top with the batting to the quilt bottom.

Leave a Comment

The Comments

  • Michelle
    March 15, 2015

    I don’t know how many times I have to fix my setup!!! Awesome post!!!