Frequently Asked Questions

Longarm Services

How much does edge-to-edge longarm quilting cost?


The cost of longarm quilting varies depending on the size of your quilt, the batting option that you choose, and whether you purchase your backing fabric from us or send your own. To get a free estimate for your quilt, visit our Design page and make your selections. You can see the complete price before placing your order.




Can I have a different thread color on the front and back of my quilt?


Yes! If you would like two different thread colors, please choose the thread color for the quilt top in the Thread Selection part of your Design form and then make a note of what color thread you would like for the quilt back in the notes on your Design form. If you would like us to match threads a particular way for the top and/or back, just let us know in the notes, send us an email, or give us a call when you have placed your order. Please note that it is difficult to ensure that the bobbin thread never shows through on the top of the quilt. Changes in direction on the pattern you choose, design elements in your quilt top, and a host of other factors can cause tension variations that can allow the bobbin thread to occasionally peek through on your quilt top or vice versa. If you always want your thread lines to appear as a single color on both the front and back of your quilt, choose the same color thread for the top and bobbin thread.




Can I choose a specific Glide thread color that's on the Aussie's shop?


Yes! If there is a specific shade of Glide thread that you would like us to use on your quilt, just choose the thread color family in the drop-down on the Design page, and then make a note of the exact shade you would like in the notes section of the form.




I have a block/border than I don't want quilted. Can you leave it unquilted?


Edge-to-edge quilting assumes that the entire quilt will be quilted. If you want part of the quilt to be left unquilted, you've entered semi-custom quilting territory. To see if semi-custom quilting is available for your quilt, please contact us.




Can I send in my own batting?


No. To ensure a high finished quality for your quilt, we provide and use only Quilters Dream batting, a wonderful batting that is made in the USA and delivers beautiful results every time. You can read about our available batting options.




I want to add prairie points to my quilt. Do I need to do that before it is quilted?


If prairie points are attached prior to quilting, they will be stitched down using our edge to edge quilting method. We are unable to quilt around them. This also applies to open or pocketed squares, flying geese, flanged borders, ricrac, or other embellishments that are not completely attached to the quilt top. If you plan to use these elements in your quilt, we recommend that you apply them after your edge-to-edge quilting is completed.




Can you bind my quilt? How much does binding cost?


At present, That Expat Aussie does not offer quilt binding services. In (rare) circumstances, we may be able to machine bind your quilt, depending on scheduling constraints. Please contact us if you'd like to talk about binding.




Are there restrictions on what kind of project can be sent in?


We can quilt most types of projects, including T-shirt quilts, quilts made from ties, or quilts made from non-cotton fabrics. Results may vary, depending on the fabrics involved.

We cannot quilt projects that have three-dimensional elements such as couching, zippers, or buttons, as there is not enough clearance to work around these items.




What should I put in the Notes on my Design form?


There is no such thing as too much information! Occasionally, we may need to contact you with questions about your project and it is usually quicker and easier to do that by phone, so if there is a good time to reach you, please put that in the notes. Also, please include anything you would like us to know about your quilt such as a deadline you are trying to meet or any important information that might help us provide you with the best experience possible. If your quilt is a gift, you can share information about your quilt recipient and their preferences. We cannot promise that all deadlines will be met, but we will do our very best. If your deadline requests cannot be accomplished, we will contact you.




Can you attach a label to my quilt?


We currently do not offer the service of attaching labels but are considering it for the future. We recommend that you attach the label before sending it to us (if you're ok with quilting over it) or attach it after we are done quilting it.




How much backing fabric do I need to send?


Your backing fabric should be bigger than your quilt by at least 4" on all sides so that it can be loaded onto the longarm machine. For example, if your quilt is 50" x 50", your backing fabric should be at least 58" x 58".




My quilt is bigger than my backing fabric. Can you sew my backing fabric pieces together?


We currently do not offer seaming services for quilt backs but are considering it for the future. Please seam your quilt back before sending it in, ensuring that the finished backing is at least 4" larger than your quilt on all sides.




How do I prepare my quilt before sending it in for longarm services?


Great question! Click here to read about how to get your quilt ready.




What is the turnaround time for longarm quilting?


Do you think that waiting weeks or months for quilting is just. too. long? So do we! The Aussie knows that you're super excited to get your quilt finished once the piecing is complete, so we specialize in speedy turnaround--as little as 48 hours, depending on demand. If you have a deadline you are trying to meet or want to know the current turnaround time, just contact us. Keep in mind that quilts are completed on a first-come, first-served basis, so once you have submitted your design form and payment for your quilt, be sure to get it in the mail to us ASAP. Make sure you use a service with tracking, such as USPS Priority Mail, UPS, or FedEx. See our guidelines for preparing your quilt.




Do you offer invisible thread?


There is no such thing as truly invisible thread, but we do offer MonoPoly Clear and MonoPoly Smoke thread as options for your quilt. MonoPoly is a reduced-sheen monofilament that is 100% polyester. Nylon monofilament threads have very low heat resistance, turn yellow over time, and can become brittle, leading to more and more thread breaks. MonoPoly does not have these issues. MonoPoly is .004" (.1mm) in diameter, a very fine (90 denier) thread.





Order Processing and Shipping

I haven't received my order yet. What's happening with it?


You can always send us an email or give us a call if you are concerned about your order. If your order has already shipped, we have access to the same information that you do, but we're still happy to help you follow up. If your order hasn't shipped yet, we'll happily give you an update. Typically, all packages are shipped out within 48 hours of your order. Sometimes we experience a short delay if something was in the middle of stock replenishment when you placed your order, and we might hang onto your order for a day or two so that we can ship all of your items together. Remember that at peak times, all shipping services experience delays. We'll do our best to get your goodies to you as quickly as possible!




Something I ordered won't quite work for my project. Can I return it?


Cut fabric yardage cannot be returned for any reason. Please use care when placing your order. Any items that have been used or exposed to weather, odors, or other unpleasantries that prevent resale may not be returned. Packaged products such as thread, pre-cuts, or sewing notions, may be returned for a store credit, less 10% restocking fee, within 30 days of original purchase, provided they are unopened in their original packaging and in unused condition. Return shipping will be at the expense of the buyer. All returned items must include a copy of the receipt, your e-mail address, shipping address, and phone number. Send all returns to: That Expat Aussie Attn: Returns P.O. Box 223 Placentia, CA 92870




My order arrived damaged. What can I do?


Most of our products aren't really susceptible to damage in shipping, but if something does arrived damaged, we will replace it. Please contact us with images of the shipping container, label, and all contents. We will send out your new items immediately and handle the insurance claim so you don’t have to wait to work on your projects. An identical (when available) replacement item will be sent to you at no additional cost. Sometimes, especially with fabric, an item may no longer be available, in which case we will do our best to replace it with a similar item.




How does shipping work at That Expat Aussie?


The Aussie wants to get your goodies to you in the quickest, most reliable, and least expensive way she can. We use real-time USPS shipping calculations on our site for First Class Mail, Priority Mail, and Priority Mail Express. We don't charge any handling or additional fees, and United States orders over $125 always ship free.




Do you ship outside of the United States?


Yes! We ship to all kinds of wonderful places, and we're adding more wonderful places all the time! To see if we ship to your place, just select your country in the drop down list on the shopping cart. If we don't ship to you and you'd like us to, please contact us and we will see if we can work something out. Unfortunately, international shipping can be expensive. Please note that if you choose First Class Mail to save on shipping charges, we cannot track your package and cannot replace your items should they be lost in transit. Of course, we're really familiar with shipping to Australia (!), so we can tell you that the mail works great there. Please use your judgment and experience with shipping systems in your country to choose a delivery service type that will ensure the safe delivery of your items.





Technical Stuff

I found a problem with the website. Who can I tell?


The Aussie is known for being a bit of a perfectionist, so she really wants to know if something's not working right or even if there's just a typo. Please let us know and accept our thanks in advance for helping to find something that needed to be fixed.




Why didn't my promo code work?


The Aussie loves a bargain and she knows you do too, so promo codes are one of her favorite things. If yours didn't work, please check to make sure that it wasn't a limited time promotion and that you've selected items that are valid for the promotion. If all that looks good and your code still isn't working, please drop us a note or give us a call and we'll get it sorted out.





Quilts and Quilting Products

My precuts are different sizes. What's up with that?


Precut fabrics can vary slightly in size between manufacturers. Typically, we see variance related to the pinked edges of jelly rolls, charm squares, and layer cakes. Some vendors measure using the "peak" of the pinked edge, while others measure using the "valley" of the pinked edge. Before you start sewing with precuts, measure them to make sure you know what you're dealing with. It usually doesn't matter terribly much if they're different than what you're used to, so long as you are consistent with how you sew them together. Using a 1/4" foot (or a 1/4" foot with a guide) can help keep those seams looking fabulous across the quilt. On rare occasions, a precut is miscut because something went wrong in an automated cutting environment. Don't worry! That Expat Aussie checks all of our precuts before we send them out, so you won't ever get miscuts from us.




Will polyester thread cut my quilt?


When polyester thread first appeared over two decades ago, quilters stayed away from it because of its potential to cut through quilting fabric. Back then, the thread did have microscopic sharp edges that could tear fabric after lots of wear. However, we’ve come a long way since then! Today’s polyester threads are nearly indistinguishable from cotton thread, and the polyester’s modern formulation has no sharp edges…only smooth fibers. You can use modern polyester thread without the fear that it will eventually cut your fabric. In fact, polyester is an excellent choice when the quilt you are working on will receive lots of washing or use. The polyester thread holds up much better than any cotton thread under these conditions, increasing the longevity of your quilt.




My quilt was folded in the cupboard and now I can't get the creases out. What can I do?


You will find that quilts with natural fiber batting tend to retain creases after being stored folded than quilts with synthetic fiber batting. If you're having trouble getting the creases out of a quilt, try washing it and drying it flat to relax the fibers and get everything to line up the way you want again. Once you've gotten your quilt back in shape, store it open on a spare bed or rolled up. See our guidelines for quilt care here.




When I'm shopping and see some fabric that I love, how much should I buy if I don't have a particular project in mind yet?


The Aussie understands your question better than she wishes she did! ;) Sometimes fabric is love at first sight. Fabric lines appear and disappear all the time. What if the one you loved wasn't available when you went back for it? Our general rule of thumb for fabric first dates is 3 yards. That's generally enough to use in blocks and still have some left over for borders. It's also useful to keep a "Someday List," for quilt patterns that you think you might like to make someday, with a simple list of yardage: 2 yards main color, 1 yard each for four alternate colors. The Aussie keeps her Someday List handy on her phone so that she's got a reference point for when love at first sight strikes.




What sewing machine do you use? What sewing machine do you recommend?


The Aussie uses a Brother Innovis NX-2000 (Laura Ashley Edition, ooh la la!) for her sit-down machine and an APQS "Millie" Millenium longarm machine (with a 14 ft. table and lots and lots of bells and whistles). The Aussie doesn't have a recommendation for you. As a quilter, you're unique. Finding the right sewing machine for you and your budget won't be the same as it was for The Aussie, and yes, it can be a bit daunting. There are so many makes and models, and if you're a newer quilter it's hard to know what you need or what you will like. Take your time and, as much as possible, do your shopping in-person by visiting local dealers. Tell the salesperson your budget up front, so that they can steer you to an appropriate model. Make sure you give any machines you're interested in a test drive that's more than a minute to two. Don't be self-conscious, even if you are a new quilter. Dig into what the machine can do. For example, the Brother Innovis has a zillion stitches and, yes, some of them get used. But what really makes The Aussie's heart sing about this machine? Auto backstitch and thread cutting. Oh, and the extended table. And the flawless bobbin winding ... but that was a happy discovery after the purchase was already made. See what we mean? You're not just buying a thing; you're making a new friend. Give that process the time it deserves!




How much fabric do I need for a quilt?


The amount of fabric you will need will vary depending on what size your quilt will be and how intricate the piecing. It is best to use a pattern that tells you exactly how much of each fabric is required. As a very general guideline here is the approximate yardage needed for standard sized quilts:

  • A crib size 45" x 60" requires approximately 3 yds total for a pieced top, 1-1/2 yds for backing, and 1/2 yd for binding.
  • A twin size 72" x 90" requires approximately 9 yds total for a pieced top, 5-1/2 yds for backing, and 3/4 yds for binding.
  • A double size 81" x 96" requires approximately 10 yds total for a pieced top, 6 yds for backing, and 1 yd for binding
  • A queen size 90" x 108" requires approximately 12 yds total for a pieced top, 9 yds for backing, and 1 yd for binding.
  • A king size 120" x 120" requires approximately 15 yds total for a pieced top, 10 yds for backing, and 1-1/4 yds for binding.
However, we can't stress enough that these are only general guidelines for helping you determine fabric purchasing. There's no guarantee that these yardage amounts will be accurate for the quilt that you plan to make.




Is there really a difference between quilt shop fabric and chain store fabric?


We are often asked, “Is there really any difference between the printed cotton quilting fabric found in chain stores for $2.99 to $5.99 per yard and those found in quilt shops and the best mail order catalogs for $7.99 and up?” Short answer: Yes. Longer answer: Yes, there absolutely is a difference.

Premium quilting fabric brands start with high quality greige (gray) goods. Premium greige goods have a thread count of at least 60 by 60 threads, and most have thread counts higher than “60 square.” Higher thread counts produce a silkier hand, less bearding when quilted, longer fabric life and better printing definition.

Most chain store cotton prints are made from less expensive greige goods that have 60 square construction or less. In chain stores, 60 square construction is considered to be the benchmark of high quality.

In addition to thread count, fabric quality is also determined by the diameter of the yarns used, the size of the cotton filaments and the length of the cotton staple. Although premium raw materials are more expensive and add to the final price you pay, you get a far superior finished product.

Premium brands typically make use of a higher number of screens (the number of colors used in the print) and more complex and sophisticated engravings. High screen counts and complex engravings require using slower and more exacting flat bed presses than the high speed rotary presses used by domestic printers for most chain store fabrics.

Once the greige goods are printed, they have to be “finished.” The printed fabric is placed in a chemical bath that sets the dye into the cotton fibers. Unfinished or poorly-finished goods bleed badly and have a very coarse, “boardy” hand. Premium brands are finished using more time-consuming and expensive processes that create the silken hand of quilters’ grade fabric in addition to superior colorfastness.

It is, of course, an over-simplification to divide the cotton print industry into chain store brands and quilt shop/mail order catalog brands. Indeed, chain stores often carry a limited range of premium brands. But, generally speaking, chain store offerings are price driven. They cannot easily sell the higher priced fabrics to their clientele. As a result, chain stores tend to carry the lower priced (and therefore lower quality) cotton fabrics.

Consider also the element of design. Premier designers tend to design for premium fabric companies. The technical aspects of the use of premium greige goods, printing many screens with fine definition, creating a silken hand through more sophisticated finishing processes – all these elements enhance a designer’s efforts. World-class design brings a unique dimension to premium, quality fabric. It comes with a price, but it adds immeasurably to the special nature of quilters’ grade fabric.

In conclusion, there is most definitely a difference in fabrics. You get what you pay for. Premium brands offer a vast quality advantage over cheaper alternatives for just a modest increase in cost, especially when you consider the effort, skill, and love that will go into your use of the fabric.




How wide is the fabric you sell?


Unless stated otherwise in the product description, our fabrics are 44" wide.