Sew and Tell Baby French Roses #5 – Basting

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. šŸ™‚

French Rose Buds Basted

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.

Bolt of Wool Batting

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.

Binder ClipsPearl Bracelets backing


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.

Quilt Sandwich

I love the soft look of the Kona pastels on the front of my Baby French Roses. So I chose a low-volume fabric to go on the back: Pearl Bracelets in Cotton Candy Pink.

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).Ā  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.

Safety Pin Basting

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:

  1. 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.
  2. Use a backing that will not show through (shadow) through to the front of your quilt.
  3. 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.
  4. 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!

French Roses kits are available in my store for a limited time. You can see my progress and read my previous post here.

8 thoughts on “Sew and Tell Baby French Roses #5 – Basting

    • Christa says:

      Yes it does, but it smells like wet sheep when it’s wet, LOL!! I love wool because it doesn’t shrink and it shows off the quilting really well.

  1. Vicki Lou says:

    Thanks Christa. It’s good to see the pictures and hear your thoughts about the basting process. I’ve never used spray starch before, but you are the second blogger to emphasize it recently and I am now convinced. I am finishing three HS graduation quilts and will be doing lots of basting before June 1.

    • Christa says:

      Yes and yes. I use the table top for ironing small projects with a small pressing pad. (I have a large big board on top of my ironing board for bigger projects.) The pins do dig into the table top which is why I chose utility tables rather than something expensive and pretty šŸ™‚

  2. Sue Moore says:

    I love your tips thanks so much! But I want your roll of batting & your table lol! Can’t wait to see the finished quilt . Sue

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