Checking Design Alignments

Computerized quilting allows for precise and exact stitches. In fact, if you have to stop and stitch over an area, of the needle will stitch in the exact same holes, thanks to precision. Making sure your quilting designs are aligned will only help make your project look exact.

Keep in mind also, if you have set up your design in a simulator or using all the digital design tools at your disposal, you may find that the piecing or construction of your project is a hair less accurate than the computer generated design. Adjust as needed to give the illusion of perfect alignment.


When placing and aligning blocks, most robotic quilting software has an actual “align” feature, where with multiple designs selected, you can align them to a top edge, middle, or lower edge.

To give the illusion of perfect, consider outlining the space in which the block is to be stitched. Now snap the block into that defined space. The block will skew slightly but look perfect as it relates to stitching. This is true for all types of blocks and quilting spaces, such as borders, corners, sashing, and blocks.

Folk Art Quilt | Quiltable

Edge to Edge

Edge to edge designs may appear to shift as you stitch down the length of the quilt. This happens when the quilt starts to draw up as a result of the quilting. As you advance the quilt rows, you may need to nudge or bump the design slightly in a direction to keep the digital position and the actual position consistent.


Tracing is the key to accuracy. There are a couple options here. You may opt to turn off the actual stitch mode of your longarm to see exactly where the machine will travel or you might simply move the machine head over areas where you know the design should exists. Both of these methods will give you an accurate idea of the design’s alignment.

Load the Top

Many free-motion quilters will often float their quilt tops, meaning the quilt top is tacked at the top of the project to the batting and backing, then the rest of the fabric hangs free over the front of the longarm frame. For a computerized system, though, it is highly recommended to load the quilt top on to the quilt-top-bar to keep the fabric from drifting as the machine head pushes it around while stitching. This will greatly improve accuracy and alignment.

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