Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Quilt Basics ++ Quilt Basting

Today, I would like to to show you how I baste quilts.  The step of basting is definitely not one of my favorite parts of quilt making, but it is a very important step to make sure you wind up with a nice finished quilt without any tucks or pleats in the quilt top or backing.  I came up with my way of basting over the last few years, reading about how other bloggers bast their quilts and by trial and error.

In developing a process that worked for me, my "musts" were:
  1. Uses basting spray instead of pins.  I prefer the speed of spray and it is easier on my hands.
  2. Sprays the basting spray outside, I do not want any fumes in my house or spray glue on my floors or furniture.
  3. Uses a wall to wall carpeted floor (because that is what my house has).
Tools / Notions
You can find these and many of the products I use in quilting making on my Amazon page (all Amazon links are affiliate).
  • Basting spray - I only use Odif Usa 505 Spray.  I find that this spray holds well and washes out (some other brands I have found not to wash off, leaving fabrics with sticky residue).
  • Basting pins - I use stainless steel T-pins to hold the quilt backing to the floor through the wall to wall carpeting.
  • Batting - My favorite batting is Warm & White by the Warm Company which is a cotton batting.  I have never used all polyester batting, but heard that it sometimes has more difficulty sticking with basting spray.


Here are my five simple steps to making basting as easy and pain free as possible.

1.  Spray the backing

I take my quilt backing outside (I usually lay the fabric on the grass away from the house) and spray the wrong side of the backing with the basting spray.  If the fabric is light colored, I first lay down an old sheet and then the backing fabric to make sure the backing does not get dirty.



2.  Pin the backing to the floor

I lay out the backing (spray basted, wrong side up) onto the wall to wall carpeted area.  Using T-pins, I pin the perimeter of the backing to the carpet every 3-5 inches.  I make the backing taunt, but try not to stretch it.



3.  Lay batting onto the backing

Next, I lay the batting over the backing and smooth it flat with my hands.  I usually start in the middle area of the quilt and spread towards the edges.


4.  Spray the quilt top

I take my quilt top outside and spray the wrong side with the basting spray.  Once again, if the fabric is light colored, I first lay down an old sheet and then the quilt top.


5.  Lay the quilt top onto the batting

I lay the quilt top onto the batting and using the same process as with the batting, I start in the middle area of the quilt top and smooth towards the edges.  If the quilt is very large (anything larger than a lap size) then I also add a few safety pins through the quilt sandwich to make sure there is no slipping.  I space the pins out about every foot or so.

After the three layers are all together, I actually walk all over the quilt, using the weight of my body to press the fabric, batting, and adhesive together (to make sure that the three layers are all adhered well together). I have tried ironing my quilt sandwich after it is basted and have not found it to make a difference in my quilts so I skip that step.

Baby version of Celestial from the Modern Plus Sigh Quilts book

Congrats!  Your quilt is basted and ready to quilt!  I have had quilts basted and ready to quilt for 5+ months and the basting spray still gives a great hold to the layers.  Come back Friday to see the reveal of the finished Celestial baby quilt.

Are you a spray baster or pin baster?  Do you have any tips that make basting quicker or easier?

I am excited for the upcoming Tips and Tutorials Festival (starting on June 11th) I am co-hosting with Yvonne from Quilting Jetgirl and will be linking up this tutorial :)






24 comments:

  1. Very useful and informative tutorial. 'Wish we had enough grass in our yard outdoors to do this.

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  2. I am a pin baster and I am lucky to have an 8' x 8' table that I can pin baste on. No crawling on the floor!

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  3. Thanks for sharing what works for you; I have never tried spray basting because Michael is so sensitive to smells, but I do wonder what is going to work for me when I have so much less space in the future. I am excited for the Tips and Tutorials Festival!!

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  4. I always spray baste my quilts, also. Thanks for the tip about walking on it. I will try that next time. After spray-basting, I do add a few pins, especially around the edges because rolling the quilt under my sewing machine seems to lift the edges.

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    1. I agree about the pins, I will add them around the edges especially when the quilt is large.

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  5. I LOVE this method! Once I discovered spray basting, I never turned back! My only revision is that I hang my quilt on a wall outside!!! I tape the back to the wall and it’s weight helps to take the wrinkles out. ❤️

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    1. Interesting, I have never tried that but I can see the advantages.

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  6. I could never get basting on carpeting to work for me. And now, happily, we're in a house with tile and hardwood floors throughout. Anyway, I have big tables to baste on, and I wouldn't trade stand-up basting for floor-basting. It's always good to hear how quilters make basting work for them. Good on you!

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  7. I pin baste but really need to try spray baste sometime. Great tutorial!

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  8. I spray-basted a big quilt for the first time last week, and I'm really pleased with how smooth it looks. A friend helped me, and I sprayed the 505 onto the wadding each time, rather than the fabric. Now looking forward to quilting without having to stop to remove pins all the time - I quilted another big quilt recently and reckon I took ~8oz of pins out of it during the process! :o

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  9. I pin baste and don't hate it at all - I find the process relaxing, but it would probably be easier NOT to have to take them out when quilting. I'm a little intimidated by spray basting, but I should try your method with my next quilt. Thanks for the tips! Also, odd question: how often do you wash the sheet with the overspray on it? Between every quilt?

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    1. Hi Kelly - I find that there really isn't much over spray and I only use a sheet under the quilt if it is light colored (to protect from dirt) so I probably wash it maybe once every 3-4 quilts. Thanks!

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  10. See Christa Watson's tutorials for the original and added variations to spray basting.

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    1. Yes, Christa has some very valuable spray basting suggestions and tips.

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  11. Basting is always the beast that must be tamed. Definitely not my favorite part of quilting either. I can never decided it I like spray basting or pin basting the best so I switch back and forth. I tried laying it on the ground, but it's just to windy in my little valley. I ended up using tables and wood clamps to baste with.

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  12. I tend to use pins, mostly because that's how I learned and in the winter there is no way I would use the spray in the house ( midwives who quilt seem to really discourage using the spray. I did spray baste a bunch of samples I brought to a workshop on my back porch and I can still see the glue on it but I might try spray basting on the grass this summer as long as it isn't too windy. Pulling the pins out is a pain so I would like to spray baste more quilts.

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  13. I have spray basted and love it. It does a nice job and having your back taut is a good thing - carptets can be. your friend! I was used to using tables at the quilt store and now have reverted to this technique too.

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  14. I always spray baste. I prefer June Tailor to 505; it seems to stick better and also smells much better. On this last quilt--a queen size, the biggest I've ever done--I used Cindy Needham's method that she demonstrates in her Craftsy class. It involves using tablecloth clamps, and I had a hard time finding a table they would fit on, but it was a pretty good way to do such a large quilt.

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  15. I always pin baste with the quilt sandwich on a table secured with bulldog clips. I've found the Kwik Klip tool invaluable for saving my fingers from getting sore and my finger nails from breaking while closing all the pins.

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  16. My steps were similar to yours (before I got my long arm) but I taped my backing to our tile floor. I like the idea of using the carpet instead. The tape would always come up before I was done. Pinning to the carpet is genius!

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  17. Thanks for sharing. For some reason, the thought of you walking all your quilts is quite funny. LOL

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  18. I only ever spray basted a couple of my quilts - with our winters and very wet fall and spring, it was near impossible to spray outside. Plus I found the spray to be quite pricy. So I pin basted on my hands and knees which was a huge pain and made me procrastinate the basting stage, leaving me with a pile of quilt tops. When I discovered board basting (where the backing and top are rolled on a 8 foot wood board) and needle and thread instead of pins, I was sold!

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  19. I’m a spray baster! I use my front deck (when I have one. It’s in the process of being rebuilt right now.)

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  20. I have yet to try spray basting so this is helpful info for me. I had no idea it would last so long if you make the quilt sandwich and then don't get around to quilting it for a while. Very cool. How would you describe how "much" you spray each piece. Do you go in rows back and forth - spray a lot - spray lightly? Just curious.

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