I'm excited to get back to the Machine Quilting 101 series. It's been a few weeks! If you missed the previous posts, you can find them here:
Today we will talk about everyone's favorite step in the quilt making process....basting! (Don't all groan at once!)
The purpose of basting is simple: to temporarily hold the layers of the quilt sandwich (backing, batting and top) together until you get them quilted. It's not a particularly fun process-in most cases it involves crawling around on the floor-but it has to be done. I tell myself that it's a good way to stay young. :)
These are the simple tools that I use:
A thread catcher, curved safety pins (and a lot of them!), thread snips, fabric scissors and duct tape.
I baste my quilts in my front entryway, so before I get started I remove all rugs and (kinda sorta) clean my floor.
I get asked all the time how I get the front and the backing to line up. It's actually quite easy! I just hope I can explain it in this tutorial. The photos should help!
If you look on the left side of the photo, notice the bright pink strip peeking out....that strip runs all the way across the width of the quilt back. That is my point of reference. I imagine those lines running across the top of the quilt (as shown by the lines in the photo). I aligned the quilt top so the pink backing strip was centered within that white horizontal row of sashing.
Once my quilt top is aligned properly, I smooth all the layers with my hands, working from the center out to each side and from the center to the top and bottom as well.
Remove the tape from the floor (I usually enlist my kids to do that) and carefully fold up the quilt until you are ready to actually quilt it.
So, that's how I baste a quilt. This is merely one way to do it, but it is my preferred method.
If you have any questions, I'll try to answer them in the comments!