Although basting a quilt is my least favorite “chore” of the whole quilting process, it’s a necessary step so I can get to my most favorite part which is the machine quilting. I always have better results if I take the time to properly mark and baste my quilt.
It took me a total of 2.5 hours to mark the top and prepare my quilt for machine quilting.
This doesn’t include the time it took to sew my quilt backing which took an additional 1.5 hours.
I wrote a separate pieced quilt backing tutorial where I could show off my “back art”.
Step 1 – Marking The Quilt Top (1 Hour, 15 Minutes)
If I know the design I’m going to quilt ahead of time, I will mark my lines before I baste, using a water-soluble blue marking pen. (Test ahead of time to be sure your marks will come out and that your fabrics are color-safe.)
For my Charming Chevrons, I chose to mark a set of grid lines following the outline of the chevrons. I used a June Tailor grid marker to speed up the process. I drew my lines so that they were about 1/2″ apart. I marked the top at my dining table while watching a movie with the family!
Step 1 – Preparing to Baste (30 Minutes)
Be sure your backing is at least 3″-4″ larger than your quilt top on all sides. (Professional long-armers need even more space than this but since I know you will all be quilting your own quilts, you can get away with less space if you are careful with your layout!)
Roll out your batting if cut from a roll, and cut it a couple of inches bigger than your quilt top. If you are using a packaged batting, be sure to unfold it and air it out a day or two before you begin to remove as many wrinkles as possible.
Be sure you have a nice big area for basting. You can use the floor, your kitchen table, a couple of utility tables, or even some tables thrown together at your local library or quilt shop.
Give your backing a final pressing before laying it out. Remove any excess threads and smooth it out a flat as you can onto your basting surface. Clamp or tape down all sides of your quilt backing. I use binder clips on two sides of the quilt where the backing meets the edge of the table. I tape down the other two sides.
Spread out your batting onto your quilt backing. Again, smooth it out so there are no wrinkles and puckers. You don’t need to clamp down the batting. For my quilt I am experimenting with a double batting. I laid down a layer of Warm-N-Natural Cotton, then a layer of Wool on top of that. I’ll let you know how I like it when it comes to quilting!
Finally, spread out your quilt top as smoothly as possible. Since I use two tables to baste, I use the center between the tables as my reference point for where the middle is. This helps me keep the quilt top straight.
Step 3 – Pin Basting (45 Minutes)
I mention this every time I get to this step of the quilting process, but I really love Pinmoors for basting!
They go into the batting quickly and come out super easy when machine quilting.
You get 50 per pack and it took just over 3 packs (168 to be exact) to baste my Chevrons quilt. I put one pin and Pinmoor anchor in each colored triangle and that was enough for this size quilt.
Because my batting was a little thicker, the longer flower pins worked great for getting through all the layers.
The last step before I begin quilting is to trim up the extra couple of inches around the quilt.
I don’t cut off all the excess, but I do trim it up pretty close so I have less bulk going under the arm of the machine.
I am super excited to quilt this puppy!
Be sure to email me pictures of your progress – it’s so fun to see all the variety!
Quilt Along Schedule (Links are active once each step has been completed.)
- Week 1 – Supply List and Introduction
- Week 2 – Marking and Sewing the Charms
- Week 3 – Cutting and Trimming the Triangle Squares
- Week 4 – Sewing the Chevron Blocks
- Week 5 – Assembling the Quilt Top
- Week 6 – Marking and Basting (today’s post above)
- Week 7 – Machine Quilting Straight Lines
- Week 8 – Free Motion Pebble Quilting
- Week 9 – Binding and Finishing Your Quilt