Basting is one of the major steps of quilting. It is regarded as a challenge to most quilters as it can be the deciding factor between a professional-looking quilt and a quilt that is poorly made.
Who knew getting all quilt layers together can be such a heartache? I mean you just stitch them together and it’s done, right?
Unfortunately, there is a lot more to it than stitching the pieces together.
To quilt your fabric properly, you need to baste it first. There are many techniques that allow you to baste your quilt is the right way. It is a key step that gives your quilt a professional and wrinkle-free quilt finish.
In this article, we will learn how to baste a quilt using 4 easy techniques. Using these methods, you will be able to breeze past the basting process and quilt with confidence!
What Does It Mean To Baste A Quilt?
In simple terms, basting is a method of holding the different layers of the quilt temporarily in place. Only then you will be able to ‘quit’ it. Basting is one of the most important parts of the quilting procedure.
Although the process may seem a bit tedious, properly basting the quilt will give you a professional-looking finish.
Before basting, the pieces that make up the quilt has to be layered on top of each other. Those layers are the quilt backing, batting, and the top. These layers are ‘sandwiched’ and basted before the actual sewing is done.
Basting can be done in multiple ways, and different quilters have their way of doing it. The procedure ensures that the fabric layers in the quilt are smooth and wrinkle-free.
4 Different Ways To Baste A Quilt
#1. Pin Basting Quilt
Pin basting is one of the most commonly used techniques. It is simple and fairly easy to do. In this method, you have to place safety pins all over the quilt.
Although this method takes a bit of time compared to other techniques, it gets the job done. Also, pin basting works for both small and larger quilts.
Without any further ado, let’s jump into the steps needed for this method!
Step 1. Positioning The Quilt Layers
Before inserting the pins, you must make sure that the backing, padding, and the top layers are aligned perfectly. To do this, first, place the quilt backing on the platform and fold it in half.
This will allow you to find the center, which you can use as a reference point. Simply match this point to the center of the platform.
After that, you must meticulously smoothen out the fabric. By using clips, you can temporarily fix the sides of the backing and smooth the piece again. The backing should be free of any wrinkles or puckers.
Then lay down the batting and quilt top on top of each other, smoothing out each fabric in every step.
Step 2. Inserting The Pins
After you have laid all the fabric flat on the platform, it’s time to insert the safety pins. Now, these pins come in various shapes and sizes. Some pins have a curved shape that allows for easier removal.
You can use 3/2-inch safety or curved pins to hold all the layers together. Simply insert the pins on the center and edges of the quilt. Larger size quilt will require a considerable amount of pins so make sure that you have a sufficient amount.
#2. Spray Basting Quilt
A basting spray is designed to glue the different layers of a quilt together temporarily. After the layers are held firmly, you can sew them permanently with a quilting machine.
If you are someone who is not fond of poking pins in the fabric, then this method is a great alternative. Let’s explore the steps of basting your quilt with a spray.
Step 1. Placing The Fabric
Just like in the pin basting technique, you have to lay the fabric on a large horizontal surface. The first step is to place the backing right side down and smooth any wrinkles.
To hold the fabric in place you can use a couple of binder clips and place them on the edges of the table.
Place the batting on top of the backing fabric and center it. Then partially roll a section of the batting to expose the backing fabric.
Step 2. Spraying The Adhesive
Gently spray the adhesive on the exposed backing area. After that, you will need to fold the batting onto the sprayed backing fabric. It won’t take much time for both the pieces to fuse together.
Smooth any pleats or wrinkles by working the fabric from the center and all the way to the edge. As one of the sections is adhered to the backing, repeat the process for the other unsprayed sections.
Simply, fold the batting, spray the glue on the exposed backing area, and place the batting back on the sprayed surface. Repeat the process for the top quilt piece making sure you smooth any wrinkles when needed.
After the entire quilt has adhered together, cut off any excess fabric and it is ready to be quilted. You don’t have to worry about the glue as it simply washes off and doesn’t change the feel of the completed quilt.
#3. Basting Quilt With Boards
In this technique, the top and backing are wrapped tightly around two identical boards. The reason why this method has been gaining traction is that it makes the pieces easy to work with. This technique is great for large quilt projects, and the results are often consistent.
Step 1. Wrapping The Fabric
Start off by placing the backing right side down on your table. Then using a 1-inch x 3-inch board, wrap the backing around it tightly. Make sure you straighten out any wrinkles as you go. Using another board, repeat the steps with your quilt top, this time positioning the piece right side up.
Step 2. Sandwich The Batting In Between The Pieces
After both the top piece and backing is wrapped around the boards, it’s time for the batting. Simply turn the board 180 degrees and unroll the backing. It is important to not unfold the fabric all the way through as you need to keep the two boards straight and aligned.
Place the batting on top of the backing piece and make sure that the two fabrics are perfectly aligned. After that, place the top piece on the batting and unroll it slowly.
When the two boards are even, baste the quilt pieces using safety pins. You can also use basting spray to hold the layers together.
#4. Thread Basting
If you are planning on hand quilting your quilt, then this technique is ideal for you. As the name suggests, this technique requires you to stitch the fabric together temporarily.
It is a simple method where all you need is a needle and thread. Unlike other basting methods, thread basting will keep quilt basted for years.
Step 1. Layering The Fabric
Using an iron, press the backing of the quilt to remove any creases or wrinkles. Lay the fabric on top of a large table. To keep the backing in place, you can tape the edges to the table. This will prevent it from slipping.
After that, lay down the batting on top of the backing. Make sure you center it as you put it. Remove any crease from the batting and place the top piece on it. The top piece needs to be placed on the right side up and needs to be smooth and wrinkle-free.
Step 2. Stitching The Layers
After the pieces are laid on top of each other, they need to be stitched. Using a needle, start stitching vertically from the center and stitch all the way outwards till you reach the edge.
Repeat the process, this time stitch the fabric horizontally. The stitches usually measure about 1 to 1 ½ – inch in length, which needs to be cut after the quilting is complete.
Make sure the edges are also stitched so that they remain stable during the quilting process.
What To Do After Basting A Quilt
After the basting phase is complete, the next step is to quilt the fabric and then binding it.
1. Quilting Fabrics
So far we have seen how basting holds the three layers temporarily. In the quilting phase, the top piece, batting and backing are permanently held together by ‘quilting’. The layers are all stitched using a sewing machine.
Now there are various techniques used for quilting. The most commonly used method is known as free-hand quilting where quilters use a threaded needle to create amazing designs.
In straight-line quilting, the pieces are sewn in a straight line. It is one of the easiest methods and interesting as well since you can make beautiful linear patterns.
The final step of quilt making is to bind the quilt. Binding is simply a strip of fabric that is used to cover the outer edges of the quilt. The purpose of binding is to keep the edge of the quilt intact. The fabric used in binding is usually the one that is already used in the quilt design.
Quilt Basting- Tips And Tricks
1. Don’t Stretch The Fabric
After laying the fabric on a flat surface, you will need to pull the fabric to make it free of any creases or wrinkles. Make sure that the fabric is taut and not stretched or else its shape will be distorted.
2. Keep All The Pins Open
If you are using safety pins to baste quilts, leave them all open. It may take a couple of tries to get the alignment of the fabric right. You don’t want to keep opening and closing your pins as you have to use many of them to hold the fabric in place. Doing so will be time-consuming.
3. Use The Floor Grids As A Guide
If you have a grid-style tile flooring, you can use the lines of the tiles to keep the fabrics straight and centered. You will also have a large area to work on which will help you baste bigger quilts.
4. Cover The Work Area
Baste spray is adhesive and can get messy if not handled properly. Cover the work area with a sheet before applying the spray. As you are most likely to get specks of the substance everywhere when sprayed, using a sheet to cover the work area means no clean up required.
5. Pressing Is Important
Always iron the fabrics before basting. Crease and wrinkles aren’t visually appealing and they are probably the last thing you want in your quilt. Pressing the fabric will keep the seams flat and get the wrinkles out.
Most quilters find basting a daunting process and it is easy to see why.
It can be hard to align the layers of the quilt perfectly as they constantly keep shifting. A difference of a few millimeters can make a huge difference in the overall appearance of the quilt especially if it has patterns.
There is not much room for errors when it comes to the basting process. However, now that you know how to baste a quilt, you will be able to achieve a consistent result every time.
We hope you will put the techniques we mentioned in practice. Now it’s time for you to make amazing quilts!