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STITCH TO THE LEADERS Posted on 24 Aug 18:49 , 0 comments


A great tip and demonstration of the process of using the longarm to stitch the backing to the zippered leader-ed canvases was shared by Jan Sims at our Statler Stitcher Retreat 2010 in Sisters, Oregon this last July. Stitching the backing to the leaders when loading a quilt dramatically speeds the loading and unloading process.

Up until this time I had been stitching my backing to my leaders using my domestic sewing machine. I use zippered leaders and so it was very handy to have quilts all lined up in the que ready to go with the backings already loaded.

The only fly in the oinment was traveling between the set-up pinning to match centers to the sewing machine invariably I would get the backing or the zipper twisted and turned so the teeth of the zippers - the start and ends didn't match the zippers on the longarm machine. Frustration beyond your imagination the day I stitched the backing to the leaders 3 times!

Now that I stitch my backing to my leaders using the longarm machine in basting mode there is no more frustration from twisting and turning. Thanks Jan for such a great tip.

The words to tell us how to do it ...

  • Place pins at center of backing top and bottom
  • Match center points of backing bottom and belly bar leader and pin
  • Use the basting mode set at 4 SPI
  • Stitch from center to the right matching edges of leader to edges of backing
  • Stitch from center to the left matching edges of leader to edges of backing
  • Stitch just a little beyond edges of quilt sides to secure the basting stitches.
  • Follow the same procedure for attaching the backing top to the top leader matching backing edges to the canvas seam edge as a guide to keep the backing square and straight.
  • After you've finished quilting the quilt all you have to do is gently pull the leaders and the quilt backing apart to break the stitches or to pull on a thread tail to remove the stitching holding the leader/quilt backing together.


And then for the photos ... worth a thousand words ...


Match center points of backing bottom and belly bar leader and pin


Stitch from center to the right and then to the left matching edges of leader to edges of backing.


Stitch just a little beyond edges of quilt sides to secure the basting stitches.

Follow the same procedure for attaching the backing top to the top leader matching backing edges to the canvas seam edge as a guide to keep the backing square and straight.