What is longarm quilting?
You’ve finally pieced all of your quilt blocks together, and have a finished top. But now what? In order to quilt your project, you’ll need to pick a backing, purchase batting, and put it all together on your home sewing machine. While some sewists enjoy putting the finishing touches on their project, others find that they enjoy piecing quilts more than actually quilting them. Enter the Longarm Quilting Machine!
Where a traditional quilting moves fabric around under the sewing machine, Longarm quilting works by stretching the quilt along a large frame, and moving the sewing machine around the quilt. Using this specially created sewing machine, we’re able to sew much more detailed designs than most people can do on their home machines. And when the machine is equipped with robotics, the entire process can be done in a fraction of the time!
What we use
Here at Pink Castle Fabrics, we do all of our longarm quilting on a Janome Quilt Maker Pro 18. With 18 inches of throat space, this machine can easily sew quilt designs large enough to cover 12” blocks with plenty of room to spare. Also, our machine rests on a 12’ frame, meaning we can finish quilts that are California King-Sized or larger!
The Janome Quilt Maker Pro 18 comes with all of these great features that making finishing your quilt a breeze!
- Quilting Space: The machine quilting space is 9" high and 18" deep. The frame can handle quilt tops up to 11’ wide. Provides ample space, and very good visibility when quilting.
- High Speed Quilting: Speeds up to 2,200 stitches per minute. Precision stitching and regulation even at high speeds means you get more quilting done.
- Convenient Magnetic Strips: Front handlebars include convenient magnetic storage to keep pins and scissors in easy reach.
- Ultra Bright Lights: Ultrabright LED lights are located in a ring around the needle area and on the back of the magnetic bars on the front handles for superior lighting.
- Built-in Thread Stand: Built-in Thread Stand allows ample room for thread cones.
- Bobbin Winder: Never run out of full bobbins.
- Timers: Quilting alarm, timers, and stitch counter make it easy to keep track of time and stitches.
- Stitch Regulation Modes:
- Precision – stitches when you move the machine. You are in complete control of the speed from the handlebars. Great for ruler work.
- Cruise – this function works like a car idle; when you stop, the machine still has a little motion. Provides a smoother motion for quilters.
- Manual – No stitch regulation; the machine runs at the same speed all the time.
- Low Bobbin Alarm: The Low Bobbin Alarm allows you to set bobbin alarm for specific threads and capacities so that you never topstitch without thread in the bobbin.
This sounds great. How does it work?
Once your quilt top is finished, a few things need to happen.
- Measure your quilt top to get your finished dimensions. Based on the type of sewing you do, they may not match the sewing pattern you started with.
- Pick a backing fabric for your quilt. It can either be pieced together, or you can purchase 108” wide fabric. Either way, your backing should be 4” larger than the quilt top on all sides. For example, if your quilt measures 60” x 72”, your quilt backing should be 68” x 80” (4” + 60” + 4” = 68”, 4” + 72” + 4” = 80”)
- Select a type of batting to use in your quilt. You can either choose a type we stock and purchase it from us, or you can provide your own. Your quilt batting needs to be 4” larger than the quilt top on all sides, just like your quilt backing.
- Read our Longarm Agreement form for more information about our process
- Complete the Longarm Order Form
- Bring your completed form, quilt top, backing, and batting to our shop, and speak with a sales associate about getting your quilt completed!
If you have any questions about this process, don’t worry; we’re here to help! Simply call us or stop in our store and ask for information about longarming, and we can get you started!
Want to see the process for yourself?
Have you longarmed before, and are looking to purchase a machine for your home or small business? Are you interested in renting time on the machine, and finishing the quilt on your own? Or are you simply interested in a first-hand look at the process?
If you’d like to know more about purchasing or renting this machine, or even if you’d just like to see it in action, contact us and we can schedule a time for you to see the machine in action, and even schedule a class or consultation.