How To Make Leaders For Longarm Quilting Machine

Wanna know how? Read the article till the end. Quilting is the art of joining many fabric layers together. You can usually do it by stitching by hand or using mechanical tools. Quilters prefer longarm sewing machines as they save time and are user-friendly. 

But there are various issues that quilters face while Quilting. Some are wastage of thread, needle unthreading, and many more. But here, one thing comes as a saviour, i.e., a leader. 

What is a Leader?

There is a fabric; it can be non-stretchy or a bit stretchy, you add before sewing the seams. This fabric is known as a leader. Leader helps you to attach your quilt to the rollers.

Why must you use a Leader?

You must use leaders while Quilting because of the following reasons:

  • It saves thread over time.
  • Leaders prevent thread nesting.
  • It prevents needle unthreading.
  • It keeps the needle from pushing the fabric into the throat plate.

You have come across many things about leaders and their advantages. But do you know how to make these leaders? These are effortless to make. 

Let’s find out how

List of Things you Need to Buy Longarm Quilting Machine

i. Heavy Pillow Ticking

Get 7 yards of 3ft wide cloth. A pillow ticking is nothing but linen or cotton fabric.

ii. Sew on a Loop Tape

This tape is an excellent tool for quilters. It doesn’t fray, knot, or tangle and comes in various widths and lengths. The tape is available in different colours as well. It is also very durable.

You have to cut the desired length from the roll. Insert it on a presser foot and sew on your project without any issue. Buy 11 yards of these hook tapes.

iii. Stick on Hook Tape

Eleven yards of stick-on hook tape is essential while making leaders.

Step on How To Make Leaders For Longarm Quilting Machine

i. Cut the fabric according to your quilting machine’s rollers.

  • Cut the fabric according to your quilting machine’s rollers.
  • Allow the fabric to be doubled over so that it is not too tight for the presser foot.
  • Stitch by hand, as usual, making sure to backstitch at the start and end.

ii. Place an Old Leader on your Fabric to cut the new one Correctly

Placing an old leader on your fabric will help you run the scissors correctly. The senior leader will help you to determine the right line.

iii. Perform Sewing to Sew the Edges

There are many sewing techniques that you can use to sew the edges of the cloth.

The one technique that is more common among quilters is to perform a seam around all four edges of each piece of fabric that will be sewn together.

iv. Find the center of both the pieces

  • Insert a thread into your needle. Then pull it through the eye of one of the threads on the frame. Leave about 2 inches to be used at the end.
  • Tie a knot in that thread and then bring it back through the eye of one of the threads on the frame. Leave about 2-3 inches to use on the other side.
  • Start sewing using this thread. Go over and under both sets of threads to make sure that you tie into each correctly and are not left with loose ends in your hand. Make sure that you don’t create any knots by letting your needle go up just before you complete your last stitch or by having it too close to your first stitch. It will create a loop. You can use a needle holder if you need to keep your hands free from knots.

v. Cut equal Sections of the Loop and Hook Tape

  • Cut equal sections of loop tape into 3 cm long pieces.
  • Fold each section in half and then take the right side and place it across the wrong side of the fabric.
  • Sew the two loops together by sewing a stitch through both layers (the wrong side of the fabric and the loop tape).
  • Take one piece from step 3 and fold it in half, taking care to match up where you sewed.
  • Place this piece on top of the other and sew through both layers again (wrong side of fabric and loop tape). Repeat this process until all sides are done.

vi. Clear the dirt from the Roller

  • Clean all the dirt on the roller to get a neat fabric.

vii. Separate Backer from the Hook Tape

If you’ve ever set out to make a quilt, you know that it’s easy to get out of hand. You may have been up all night stitching and suddenly realized that you’ve run out of thread. Instead of coming up with a new design or scrapping the idea altogether, you can choose to make your leader.

The first step is to attach the hook tape to the backer and not the other way around. It ensures that the hook tape will stay in place when you stick your fabric.

Next, separate the backer from the hook tape so that each piece has its own space to be stitched on. Make a note of where one piece ends and another begins on each side of the leader. For example, if your leader has five pieces on one side and six on another, every fifth stitch will go from one component to another. Instead, from one side to the other. Finally, cut off any excess length at this point.

The last step is attaching your new leader to your machine’s needle plate by either tying it around or clipping it in place.


Since you have some till this part of the article, that means you have understood how leaders play an essential role in your quilting process.

At this point, you will agree that how Quilting is not just the art of sewing fabrics together. Several factors come along. A leader is not just a piece of cloth, but they play a significant role in the quilting process. Since you have learned how to make a leader, buckle up and start working.

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