Tuesday, September 11, 2007

one way to baste a quilt

I have been getting several e-mails with quilting questions, so I thought I would share how I baste a quilt.

This is a fairly new technique to me, and I have found that it has given me great results. It makes the quilting process less scary for me because I found the results to be predictable and consistent. I have considerably fewer puckers with this method than with the using just basting spray (my previous method of basting).

First, I tape the backing to the floor. I use Duct Tape or masking tape. The key is to get the backing fabric flat and taut, but not stretched. (Make sure you clean your floor before you do this.)


Then layer the batting on the top. My batting is extra large, so I line it up along 2 of the edges. This leaves me one big strip of batting leftover, and it is easier to see where to line up the quilt top.


Next, I lay the quilt top on the batting. Start at the center and smooth it flat working out to the edges.


Then, I used curved safety pins to hold all the layers together. Again, working from the center to the edges, smoothing any wrinkles as you work. You should pin every 4" or so.


After pinning is complete, remove the tape, (I also cut some of the excess batting off) and you are ready to quilt.


If you have any questions, please let me know.

If you have any other basting tips, or techniques that you use, I would love to hear them.

50 comments:

HobbyMommy said...

Perfect technique! I'm ashamed to say I don't always tape first... I get a little lazy. I've never used the basting spray. I was always afraid my needle would get sticky...

Anina said...

Great info. This is my method too, although I've never thought of taping the backing down. I'd have to actually wash my floors...
I hate basting spray. It makes everything sticky and I always feel like I should use it outside or my whole house will be covered in a layer of glue.

Chicago Sarah said...

That's great. Beats the heck out of my pinning it on my bed (and pinning the bedspread a lot) method! Thanks for sharing.

Mama Urchin said...

My method too, although I do it on our large coffee table since I'm too chicken to do a big quilt.

Alisa said...

Hmmm, very interesting. I used to use pins, in the very method you describe here. But I always seemed to get puckers when I quilted it. But now I tape the backing down and use the spray. I never get puckers. Very wierd.

monica said...

I used to tack it with needle and thread with huge stitches every 4 inches, in a grid. A huge task, and even more boring than sewing the binding.

I'm afraid I'm a spray girl now.

Brigitta said...

I have to admit, seeing this I'm starting to panick. I've never done any quilting yet and will be having my first classes in a fortnight. I'm really, really looking forward to it, but thinking about what you've just been talking about, is pretty scary!! ;-)

Linda said...

I have seen this method before, but I have had better luck with the basting spray, too. (Even though I hate cleaning up the overspray) Maybe I just didn't get the backing taut enough? My knees and back don't take to the floor well, either, so I get tired and start getting sloppy with my pinning. I also don't have a floor space big enough to do anything bigger than a lap size, maybe a twin. I wouldn't want to use my basement floor. I hate to admit it, but there is no cure for the dust in my basement, LOL. I had noticed that you had gone back to pinning and wondered if you had found a better method, or had decided not to use the basting spray after you got your new machine.

Linda said...

By the way, I just realized, that's the moda quilt you have been working on for so long, isn't it! It is looking great!

Amy Jo said...

Quilt looks great!

Nichole said...

Oh! Good idea with the tape. I usually just pin my quilt on the carpet and snag it in the threads all the time... I'll have to give this a try next time! :)

carolyn said...

i use the blue painters tape b/c it comes off easy w/o causing mucho raveling. :)

my mom thinks you wind up with puckers if you either a) use pins that are too large or b) pin too far apart. for those who are worried about puckers. i've never gotten very many of them.

Sarah and Jack said...

Oh man, I could have used this a month ago! Someone had suggested pinning my quilt to the carpet, but we don't have any carpet to pin it to!

I am wondering though if the pins do a good enough "basting" job. My current WIP has so much freaking puckering. Sigh.

lera said...

Very soon (I hope) I will be needing to do this ...

Thanks so much for sharing. I never would have thought about taping it to the floor! Great idea. (Now if I can just find a CLEAN spot LARGE enough -- that's another job in itself.)

erin said...

thanks for sharing that....it will definitely come in handy.

Pixie said...

Yep, I reckon that's the best method. Come visit me to see the spoon thing. You know about the spoon thing to close the safety pins right? (The post is in August I think).

Hip Mama Crafts said...

:) It's great that your little place has a good spot for that!

Sugarmama said...

Did you know there's also this cool little tool that's basically a wooden handle with short, grooved metal rod attached with which you can quickly fasten and unfasten the safety pins? It sounds like a total sewing dork tool, but it's fabulous if your fingers get sore from all that pinning. And also, I always store my pins open to save time, if you don't already do that.

Jessica said...

Love it! I've used the basting spray and it SO did not work for me... for little projects yes, but my bigger quilts- No way! What a disaster! My favorite is using those little guns with the plastic thingies (if that makes any sence) I don't know what they're called, but it SO works better than the adhesive spray!!

Clair said...

It is a good way to baste. My blue and yellow quilt has fewer puckers, and smaller ones than previous times.

Clair said...

It is a good way to baste. My blue and yellow quilt has fewer puckers, and smaller ones than previous times.

Anonymous said...

This is one of my basting-methods too! But I use much more of the safety-pins and I prefer the straight ones, because they're much cheaper. After having pierced the whole quilt I use a teaspoon to close all pins.
After learning this method in a workshop I basted a huge quilt like this and the result was great!

For smaller quilts I use basting spray, but hang the quilt on a wall. Basting with spray is much easier on a hanging quilt, especially if you suffer from aching knees. I don't spray the whole quilt at once, but section by section from top to bottom. Easy!!

Anonymous said...

Hi, I just saw your blog for the first time today. I very much enjoyed looking at your great quilts and quilting.

I baste much the same way. I do have one comment in case anyone does get puckers in the back. Spray Starch the backing fabric. If the fabric is a little stiff, it will be more difficult to get a pucker in it.

Lori

sherry said...

This is my method too. I've never used the basting spray.

Dorothee said...

Aha, that seems like a very smart way to do things. I must try that with my Friendly Dragon Quilt! I'm just afraid for my knees ...

jlquilts said...

Stop basting! Precious time is wasted...they spray works great..no overspray unless you go to the edge, don't do that! No sticky, anywhere, needle, floors, hands, etc...also, no PUCKERS...I have made hundreds of quilts and won hundreds of ribbons..Don't tell anyone you sprayed and they won't know...they will think you spent a lot of time!

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for this tutorial! I have just finisheda quilt top following your "Future's So Bright" quilt. It is a baby size quilt and I am going to actually
machine quilt for the first time. I did it once before just doing some straight lines and the puckering really discouraged me from trying again. I taped the quilt as you suggested, and I did use the basting spray because the lady at my fabric store (my dealer, if you will)strongly recommended it. I have also pinned it. My goal is to be finished with the quilting by the end of this week. Thanks again!
Lisa

Jess said...

I have just discovered you blog. Fantastico! I have about 5 quilts in various states of finished-ness. you are very inspiring, myabe this year I'll get one or two of them finished.

I got this method from a knitting student-I use giant clamps that I got from the hardware store and clamp the quilt sandwich to a table. I pin what is on the table and then I unclamp and move across the quilt. This method is good if you don't have very much floor space, or don't feel like mopping up the cereal.
I am adding a link to my blog and will visit often!

Anonymous said...

Hellooo!! I guess nobody out there read my comment about basting a quilt...after hundreds of quilts, I am still using the spray baste! Never fail, no work, no puckers...keep doing all the work you do...I use spray baste and everyone feels so sorry for me because they think I do what YOU do!

Gene Black said...

I have read elsewhere - not a chance to try it yet...but soon....

Use AquaNet hairspray as basting spray.
Also use a small metal crochet hook to open and close the safety pins. (instead of buying an extra tool) --but the spoon method is new to me also. I will try it.

Jodyrose said...

Hi Amandajean,

LOVE your blog, you are VERY talented!!! I have been quilting over 30 yrs and I have tried all methods of basting, clamping, taping pins, tacks, you name it and BY FAR the easiest and best way to baste a quilt is using Sharon Schambers method of 2 boards on a table top while you are sitting comfortably down. You can easily do a queen or king size top in about an hour or so. Her video is FREE, so go take a look and give it a try. (no affliation to her or her site, but LOVE this method best) The url to it is listed here: http://sharonschambernetwork.com/free_area/videos/pinless_bast/index.html

Jean said...

I'm new to your blog too. It's wonderful! Thank-you for posting all the lovely pics of your projects.

I baste my quilts with spray basting, but haven't been totally happy. I also have tried thread basting...with better success.

My problem is getting up and down off the floor. With arthritis in knees and back this is a real problem.

Instead a friend suggested I clamp a big seamstress cutting board to one edge of my smallish table, and lay the quilt layers on that, basting as far as I can and then moving the entire thing to sandwich and baste the rest of it. Not sure how this would work. But I plan to try it on my next quilt.

edward and lilly said...

This is a great tutorial, thank you, I'm working on my first quilt at the moment and I'll definitely be using this basting method.

Kritta22 said...

Coming over from Erin O's site. Thanks for sharing. I have used this method before and love it. I have great memories of laying down one of mom's quilts and pinning with her.

What do you suggest for the space between your quilting on a lap quilt? Large quilt? and wall hanging?

amandajean said...

kritta22,

the space between quilting depends on 1.your batting....it should come with recommended directions....and 2. your personal preference. for me, I don't like to have more than 4" unquilted. or 2" is optimal (if I am doing a grid pattern). otherwise with stippling it's much less than that.
I hope that helps!

aj

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Cristin said...

I've actually never used the spray adhesive.... I've based my three quilts just this way! Taping it to the kitchen floor is great! I also bought a great little tool which helps to close the pins without hurting your fingers... got it at Jo-Anns... and I love it!

Great tutorial, though!

Karen said...

just found your blog and have so enjoyed reading through as much as I could, just to tell you that I lay my backing on my dining room table,centering it in the middle, held in place down widths and lengths with bulldog clips, add my batting, moving the bulldog clips to hold that and lastly the quilt, have just done a double bed size one, takes a bit of time, but I smooth as I pin and so far have had a wrinkle free quilt to sew. Going to keep reading your blog, kind regards, Karen, South Africa

Lynn said...

Thanks for the basting tutorial. Is there a reason you use duct tape over other kinds of tape. And do you use spray baste ever?

Esteemarlu said...

I have always used this method but I go one step farther with basting thread every 7 inches and I have never gotten a pucker in my quilts. I would like to try the basting spray but am afraid it would ruin my wood floors.

That Leini Girl said...

Thanks SO much for this tutorial!!

I am consistently getting puckers, but that is also probably cause I forget that I'm supposed to quilt before binding...

Anonymous said...

How do you pin on your kitchen floor without sticking the floor and leaving scratches?

Kpet said...

I have done this and prefer this method -- one tip is I use blue painters tape to tape and a tile floor works best. It really makes the quilt lay flat!

Catholic Bibliophagist said...

I use the method taught by Harriet Hargrave in her book, Heirloom Machine Quilting. She layers the backing, batting, and top on a large table with bulldog clips and uses safety pins to baste the quilt. Then she undoes the clips and moves the quilt sandwich and reclips. Then more safety pin basting. It's explained in more detail in her book. And it's a lot easier on your back and knees than trying to work on the floor.

The Twisted Sister said...

What kind of batting do you use and recommend? I tried warm and natural but I thought my wuilt was too flat... I wanted it to be more "fluffy". Any suggestions? Thanks!

moodymolly said...

I just found this and since I want to start making lap quilts from used clothing scraps this is ideal for me. Main problem will be I have trouble kneeling so I may have to do some pinning, rest a little then do more pinning until I'm finished.

Anonymous said...

I'm new at the quilting thing and basting scares me to death! But this looks pretty easy. Do you have to have a sewing machine, ive been sewing by hand and boy does it take forever! Can anyone help?

...I am Nora..... said...

Never basted or quilted before....found you through squaresandtriangles.com. Will be using this method when I finally take the plunge (wish I hope will be very soon!)

Will be following you from now on!

Thanks
Nora xx