Are you prepared to baste your quilt? Here’s a step-by-step guide for you. Update 05/2022

What do you do now that you’ve finished sewing your quilt top together? You must baste your “quilt sandwich” before you can quilt your piece.

Basting is an important phase in the quilt-making process, and it must be done correctly and completely to produce the best quilting results.

But don’t be concerned! It shouldn’t be tough, and it shouldn’t take long. In less than two hours, I can baste a twin-sized quilt.

I’ll show you how to baste a quilt and share some tips and tactics I’ve picked up over the years in this tutorial.

Frequently Ask Questions about Quilt Basting

Basting quilts can be a pain, but I hope you’ll feel more confident taking on your next project after seeing this video.

Before we get started with the instruction, I’d want to clear up some misconceptions about quilt basting.

What does it mean to baste a quilt?

Basting a quilt simply entails joining the layers of your quilt (a quilt sandwich made up of a quilt top, batting, and backing fabric).

When you quilt your quilt sandwich while working your piece through your machine, this procedure ensures that none of the layers shift.

What is the best way to baste a quilt?

There are many various techniques to baste a quilt, and there is no universal “best approach.” You’ll figure out what suits you best.

Pin basting, glue basting, thread basting, and fusible batting (yep, that’s a thing) are the most prevalent methods.

I’ll utilize two of these approaches for hand-basting a quilt later in the course.

Can you baste a quilt with straight pins?

Straight pins may theoretically be used to sew quilt layers together, but I wouldn’t encourage it. You’ll be stabbing yourself all the time, and no one wants blood on their quilt top.

When it comes to pins, I usually recommend using safety pins (for safety) or genuine basting pins, which are similar to safety pins but have a more curved shape.

This will make working the pin through the three layers of your quilt sandwich a little easier.

What to do after basting a quilt?

You’re ready to quilt once you’ve basted your quilt. If you’re not sure what type of quilting you want to undertake, I recommend looking for ideas on Pinterest or Instagram.

Supplies Needed for Quilt Basting

  • Finished quilt top
  • Batting
  • Backing fabric
  • Safety pins or basting pins
  • Elmer’s glue
  • Iron and ironing board
  • A large table or ample space on your floor to baste your quilt

Basting a Quilt: A Simple Step-by-Step Guide

Step 1: Iron your quilt top and backing fabric.

Because you want the cloth to lay as flat as possible when you pin or glue it down, ironing is essential. Ironing isn’t the most enjoyable part of the process, but it’s important for the greatest results.

 

Step 2: Layout your batting.

Make sure your batting is flat and free of creases before using it. I normally put mine out an hour before I start basting my project.

If the creases don’t disappear on their own, I’ll iron them out without steam. Do not iron out creases if you’re using fusible batting. Your iron will become a sticky, disgusting mess.

I’m basting my quilt on my dining room table. Gravity assists me by “drawing” any tiny creases from my batting as the edges of the batting hang off all four sides of the table.

Step 3: Layout backing fabric.

Now we’ll place the backing fabric on top of the batting, right side up. Before gluing it down, I like to spread it out entirely to see that it is straight and that the backing and batting are (about) the same size.

 

Step 4: Glue the backing fabric to the batting.

Gluing is a quick technique to baste a quilt, and it’s my preferred method. I glue together my backing fabric and batting, which are both the same size, to make them “one-piece.”

I like to use Elmer’s glue to adhere the backing and batting together. I’ve tried a few other basting sprays, but they all smelled like a chemical plant, and I didn’t feel comfortable using them, especially because I make a lot of baby quilts.

Even after using the spray and having it sit for a number of hours, I’d have to quilt while smelling that chemically stench. This is not good for brain cells!

I’ve also experimented with mixing Elmer’s glue and water in a spray bottle. That really works, however the glue is quite weak. So I tried simply Elmer’s and it worked perfectly for me.

I also tried applying the glue with a paintbrush or sponge, but I discovered that using the glue’s original bottle worked best.

Another benefit of Elmer’s glue is that it is non-toxic and washes out completely in the washing machine.

You can experiment with it to see what you like most. I recommend sewing some practice small quilt sandwich blocks to determine what you want to utilize.

I prefer to roll the backing fabric back halfway to glue it down.

 

Next, using your glue bottle, slowly “drizzle” the glue across the batting, aiming for a thin application. You don’t want large globs of glue on your hands. I like to dab the adhesive on the batting in a circular motion.

 

Begin unrolling the backing fabric over the batting with caution. Start in the middle and work your way out to the edges, gently smoothing the cloth over the batting.

 

It’s fine if the glue shows through the fabric a little bit. It dries quickly, usually within 30 minutes. Continue to smooth your fabric over the adhesive and batting, then repeat on the other half.

Wait for the glue to dry. The beautiful thing about using Elmer’s glue is that you can easily pull up and correct any lumps or creases in your cloth.

Even if you detect it after it dries, all you have to do is moisten the glue with water and smooth the fabric out without difficulty.

You can continue on to the following step after the glue is dry.

Step 5: Pin the quilt top to the batting and backing fabric.

To expose the opposite side of the batting, flip your backing and batting over. Place your quilt top in the middle of your “sandwich,” centered and straight on the batting.

 

I normally spend about 10-15 minutes smoothing the quilt top over the batting with my hands, making sure all of my seams are flat and straight.

Start pinning in the center of the quilt with your safety (or basting) pins. My pins are normally spaced every 6-8 inches.

You’ll discover how much space you prefer between them. Some quilters pin every 2-3 inches, while others pin every 12 inches or more. It’s entirely up to you and your preferences.

You’ll need a lot of pins in your quilt to keep it from shifting while you’re stitching. When pinning the quilt sandwich, make sure the pin goes through all three layers.

I start in the center and pin a straight line out to the edges when I pin my quilts.

 

Then I concentrate on one half of the quilt at a time, smoothing down the quilt top after each row of pins to ensure that everything is perfectly flat.

You don’t want to pull too hard on the quilt top while pinning it down, since this could cause it to sag. Just remember to keep it flat.

Once I’ve pinned one half of the quilt, I repeat the process with the other side until the entire quilt sandwich is pinned and ready to quilt.

 

Ready to Start Basting Your Next Quilt?

That’s all there is to it! That wasn’t that difficult. Just remember to maintain smoothing the cloth while basting, and you may always start over if things go wrong.

There is no “correct” or “incorrect” method for basting a quilt. You’ll do a fantastic job if you figure out what approaches work best for you.

I hope you found this tutorial helpful, and that basting won’t feel like such a chore the next time you need to baste your quilty creations.

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