The answer to this often asked question is “YES”. I would not ask for it if it was not needed. When backing fabric is loaded on a long arm quilting machine it needs to be clamped on both sides. The clamps vary in size but even the smallest works best with 4″ excess to attach to. When I do not have this amount of excess fabric my machine head & needle plate area hits the clamps & causes havoc. It can cause wobbly stitches, stop the machine from working & is annoying as heck for your quilter. I want those things out of my way when I’m working.
I worked on a quilt today that I received that had only 1 1/2 to 2″ of backing fabric for me to clamp to. I have stitched into my nice featherweight plastic clamps twice today!! I actually sewed them to the backing fabric because they were too close to the quilt top & covered by the batting.
I’m showing a photo so its easier to see why the 4″ is necessary. I know its annoying to have a quilt top that is 39″ wide and how it would seem easier to just use a 42″ wide fabric for your backing. Don’t do it!
Please think of your quilter & your quilt & give the asked for amount of backing. A happy quilter makes a pretty quilt! Just add 10″ to the length & width of your quilt top & its easy math.