Is Your Backing Always Loose on One side and Tight on the Other?

Posted by on March 26, 2014

Is the backing really square? I personally do not cut my backings—I square them by tearing the fabric. I measure the backing making sure it is larger than the top. Then I cut a little clip mark about 1 inch into the fabric in the direction that I want it to rip. With a snap I rip the fabric quickly. Tearing slowly will cause more threads or strings. The rip line will follow right down the thread. This is what we call thread straight. Then we know that we have the same thread count down one side as down the other.

One of the most common things that can happen is the leader cloth or fabric aprons on the machine slip where they are attached to the poles. See in the picture and note how the Velcro attachment on this pole doesn’t go straight down the pole but has a twist to it. We would need to pull this off the pole and straighten it up. Some poles will except carpenters glue and that will reattach the Velcro. Some of the painted poles need a permanent bead glue to hold the fabric to the pole.  Both glue types will need to dry for 24 hours. I am sure there are other types of glue that will work.


Fabric has slipped


Even after you get the aprons on the poles straight you can have the fabric leader cloth be stretched out of shape a little. That could cause a pantograph style pattern to not line up with the patchwork and look like it is going uphill. So here is a quick tip for that.

Place your quilting machine at the center mark of your pinned on fabric. You are going to measure from the middle because the poles can have enough tension on them to bow a little and the measurement would be smaller in the middle than on the end. So it is best to measure from the middle.



On the computer touch screen, the ‘v’ will turn green when it is on.


If you have a computerized quilting system or a manual channel lock you can put the vertical channel lock on.

Sew a line of stitching across the quilt on top of the batting. It will secure the batting and give you a destination to lay the quilt top edge to. That line is straight with the tracks of the machine. That means that the computer will sew straight with that or if you are hand guiding a pantograph it will also be straight. You just have to make sure the patchwork lines up with the tracks.  Now your should get nice straight rows with your quilt.


Filed under: Blog,TinLizzie18 Quilting Tips

Leave a Comment


  1. Ellen says:

    My backing is ‘thread square’, my leaders are square. But my backing still seems to sag on one end. Are there any other things to check? I am doing a king-size quilt on 10 ‘ poles.

    • kelleyn says:

      Loose backing indicates that the backing isn’t square, the leaders have shifted and are no longer square with the frame or (and this is likely your problem since you indicate your backing is square) the leaders aren’t rolled up onto the rails evenly. This can happen easily. Sometimes, especially with a large quilt, we concentrate on the edges not telescoping as it rolls. This can cause us to not roll other parts of the quilt equally tight. The solution is this: Roll the quilt backing completely onto the front, lower rail with the take-up leader completely unrolled. Now, unlatch the lower rail, latch the take-up rail and roll the entire quilt back onto the take-up rail while keeping tension on the lower rail with your hand. Unlatch the take-up rail, latch the lower rail and roll the quilt completely onto it while keeping tension on the take-up rail with your hand. You may need to do this process two or three times until you get those leaders on the rails evenly tight. It is amazing how this evens out the leaders and resolves the drooping problems. Give us a call if you need a better explanation. Hope this helps.

  2. MERRY GREGG says:


  3. Nora Bordach says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you. Getting things straight is one of the most difficult things to do. Now I understand what the V button does. Keep this info coming, it really helps! Tomorrow I start a new quilt with this method and I know I will not have to fight the whole time to keep it straight on the poles. Yes!

  4. Pamela Schenck says:

    I really appreciate how TL is starting to put all these wonderful tips and tricks on their blog.

  5. Ellen says:

    Good advice. But what do we do if we don’t have a computerized system?

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

<< View all posts

© 2017 TinLizzie18. All Rights Reserved.   |   2263 West 7800 South   |   West Jordan, Utah 84088   |   888.784.5818   |   Site Map   |   Legal Disclaimer   |   Privacy Policy