How to Pin Zippers to Your Backing

First, you need to be sure your backing is squared and determine how the quilt will be loaded onto the machine. Stay tuned for instructions on how to treat a directional top, backing or pattern. Typically, we pin the zippers on the long edge to avoid rolling more than necessary.

For the sake of this tutorial, none are directional. Find the center of the edges you will pin to and mark with a pin.

Place your backing wrong side up on your table, with the edges to pin to on the top and bottom. Fold the top and bottom over so you can see the right side of the fabric.


Match the center of your backing to the center of your zippers, keeping your X’s that are on your zippers on the same side. Pin the center.


Pin your zippers. Don’t forget to remove your center pin. See photo for recommended bite and spacing.

Like this fabric? Get it in our store while you can!



Adding to Your Backing for a Longarm Quilter

So, you have your quilt top done and you’ve cut your backing to the same size of your quilt top. Now, you’re ready to bring it to your longarm professional and they ask you to add more fabric to your backing.

Why is this? Here at Heartbeat Quilting, we request that your backing (and batting) be at least 8 inches longer and 8 inches wider than your quilt top. For example, if your quilt top is 90 x 90, we ask that your backing be 98 x 98. This is needed for pinning the backing to the rollers and for clamping the sides. These two steps help so we don’t get tucks in the backing.  This also helps account for the movement and/or shrinkage that occurs during the quilting process.

What do you do when you don’t have extra fabric for your backing? How can you add more fabric to your backing without compromising the quilting quality or the edge of your quilt top? If you’ve already cut or pieced your backing to match the dimensions of your quilt top, never fear! See below for some great ideas for adding not only fabric to your backing, but a little fun, too!

Why are none of these samples centered? Stay tuned for details on why we recommend against trying to center your backing or making double-sided quilts in an upcoming post! In the meantime, know that purposefully offset pieces will be less noticeable in a finished quilt than a failed attempt at centering and the quilt itself will be stronger, as well.

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Expanded quilt border, Nikki Sue

Dana F.

Wanda, I want to thank and commend Nikki Sue for the custom quilting she did on a very unusual project ~ a previously quilted but unbound quilt which I’d added additional 4-inch borders all around (12-inch on the backside to allow excess for loading onto the machine), with batting hand-spliced in. Nikki selected the perfect coral-pink thread for quilting this red-violet border. I never would’ve thought of that color combination myself. And Nikki was inspired by the many floral quilt fabrics to create a winding border of various stylized flowers and fanciful leaves. I’m thankful Nikki was willing to take on this odd job, and had the expertise to achieve the stunning result.

Expanded quilt, borders by Nikki Sue

Daisy Chain quilted with Statler Rapunzel

Dana F.

Hello, Heartbeatniks!

I am delighted with the Statler “Rapunzel” edge-to-edge quilting on my “Daisy Chain” quilt. When I dropped my quilt off at your shop, it was all squares and right angles. Now, the graceful swirls and circles of the stitching have added a rich layer of softness and liveliness! I especially like the way the stitching pops up on the light solid colored fabrics. Thank you very much.