After posting about my favorite longarm tools last week, I received several questions about using a fine mist water bottle to remove wrinkles when loading the backing fabric. Today I loaded another quilt and took some pictures of the process. While it’s much easier to see the technique in a video, I hope these pictures are helpful in explaining what I do.

First, I attach the backing fabric to the front leader and drape it over the back, allowing it to hang below the table. I give the fabric a good spray of water – all over.

Backing Fabric Attached to Front

Backing fabric attached to front leader

Backing draped over table

Backing draped over table in back. See how wrinkled it is?

TIP: See that white strip of fabric along the bottom edge? The backing fabric wasn’t large enough to allow me to attach it to the leaders. So I sewed a 6″ strip of fabric along each end. This gives me enough fabric to attach to the leaders, front and back, and allows the entire piece of backing fabric to be used for the quilting. The white fabric will be cut off when I trim the quilt after quilting. This can also be done if extra fabric is needed to clamp the sides. I use fabric pieces I have saved from the backing fabric of other quilts I have quilted, so it is not an expense to me.

Also, you’ll notice the backing was pieced with a seam running down the middle. I am loading the quilt sideways so the seam will run parallel to the bars. This puts less stress on the seam, and makes it easier to keep the seam straight to the quilt top when quilting.

Okay, back to loading and misting the backing….

Removing wrinkles from backing fabricAfter spraying the backing, I start rolling it on the backing bar smoothing the fabric as I go. I usually advance the fabric 8 – 10 inches and then spray and smooth again. In the picture above I have just sprayed the fabric – you can see the wrinkles are starting to loosen.

In the picture below, the same wrinkles are almost gone:

Removing Wrinkles from Backing Fabric

Keep up the good work – spray, smooth, roll, smooth, spray, smooth, roll, smooth. (Repeat that a few times in your head, it will put you in a meditative state.)  🙂

When you get to the end of the backing, attach it to the leader on the take up bar. Tighten everything up, and voila! wrinkle free backing without an iron!

Backing Loaded

You can see some of the water on the backing here where I have smoothed the fabric. Don’t worry. It will dry in about 2.1 seconds. Or maybe 5.1. You get the idea.

One of my readers, Carole of From My Carolina Home, says she uses this method with one difference. She adds a bit of Best Press to the water in her water bottle. I haven’t tried that yet, but I think it’s a great idea.

I hope this helps answer any questions you had after last week’s post. I’d love to hear how you handle big backings – just leave a comment!

Have a great weekend,
Beth