I have been basting up a storm this week! I finished basting my Hugs ‘n Kisses Quilt Along as well as my French Rose Buds quilt. I am itching to start stitching both of them this weekend as soon as I get all of my other “quilty chores” done. 🙂
Basting as you know is probably one of the least fun tasks of making a quilt. But whenever it’s time to baste, I set aside a whole day, put on some relaxing music and try to keep my distractions to a minimum. No, it doesn’t take me a whole day to baste (usually just an hour or two), but it does take a while to get in the mood to baste.
I start off by pulling down my big ol’ bolt of batting and laying the quilt on top of it so I know how much batting to cut. I leave a couple extra inches on all four sides which I will trim down later. My favorite batting to use is wool because it shows off the quilting and helps my quilts to hang flat nice and flat.
I use a couple of long banquet tables and random binder clips to secure my quilt backing. If the quilt doesn’t stretch across the whole table, I secure the loose ends with painter’s tape. I also starch my backing first as well as my quilt top.
I’ve tried several different ways to baste such as thread basting (no thanks), spray basting (too hard to ventilate properly) and using all sorts of gizmos to help close the safety pins (too clumsy to figure out). I even used plastic pinmoors to cap off my straight pins and while they are terrific to take out, I’m not sure they hold as well as I’d like.
So I’m back to using plain jane regular old safety pins, and quite a lot of them! I do have the fancy schmancy quilter’s curved pins, but this week I was scrambling to find as many safety pins around the house as I could so I’d have enough to baste two quilts at the same time. I ended up using a variety of pins in my quilt and they all work just fine.
Here are a few tips I’ve learned from basting scores of quilt tops:
- When using a lot of white fabric on the front, use a clean white polyster or wool batting, or a bleached cotton batting or a blend. Regular cream cotton may have little flecks or seeds that will show through to the top of the quilt.
- Use a backing that will not show through (shadow) through to the front of your quilt.
- Take the time press both the quilt top and back of your quilt before basting – and don’t be afraid to use starch. The flatter your pieces, the easier it will be to baste and quilt.
- Use lots of pins! The more pins you have in your quilt, the less it will shift while quilting. Sad, but true. Ask me how I know!