Today’s Topic: How to Baste a Quilt with Pins
Welcome to Week Eighteen of The Better Machine Quilt-a-long based on my book 25 Days to Better Machine Quilting.
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Good Morning, Quilters!
Before we get started, I want to share a really great Prime Day deal that I LOVE for quilting! I LOVE wearing AirPods-wireless headphones while I baste quilts and while I free motion quilt-they’ve been life changing! Because you are not tethered to your phone, you can walk around your sewing room (or clean the house, etc…) while listening to books, podcasts or music. I’ve never enjoyed listening while free motion quilting because it’s difficult to hear over the motor–but with ear phones–wireless earphones–I now enjoy free motion quilting while listening to books on tape! The AirPods I use are on sale today for a great price–so snap them up!
Back to our Regular Scheduled Programming LOL
There are several ways to baste a quilt. (Read: Four Ways to Baste a Quilt, Pros and Cons)
For small quilts, I prefer the quick Iron/Press Baste Method.
However, for quilts larger than a fat quarter, press basting is not enough to prevent the layers from shifting. It is better to spray or pin baste large quilts.
Spray Basting with Christa Watson
Spray basting is an excellent choice for machine quilting. This method is quick and no pins are required-which reduces the weight of the quilt, so I think it is worth trying. Christa Watson has several tutorials I recommend for spray basting.
And while you’re there, be sure to check out Christa’s amazing line of fabrics and patterns!
How to Baste a Quilt with Pins
I often use the safety pin basting method. In this method, each layer of the quilt is secured to the table with binder clamps separately: first the backing, then the batting and finally the quilt top. Once the layers are secured to the table, the pinning commences! Pin basting must be done in sections–dependent on the size of the table.
This is much easier and more fun when you have a friend to assist!!!
- Don’t be intimidated by the number of steps:
- Prepare the layers
- Gather supplies and set up the table
- Secure the layers separately
- Pin the layers,
- Shift as necessary
Step One-Prepare the layers
Batting: Begin by opening the batting package and unfolding it. Ideally, you should give the batting several hours to relax. Cut the batting 8-10 inches larger than the quilt top. Fold the batting into quarters by folding it in half lengthwise and then crosswise.
Backing: Press and starch the backing fabric. (Starching may help the quilt slide on the sewing surface as you FMQ.) Fold the backing in quarters, WRONG SIDES together.
Quilt Top: Press the quilt top. Fold the quilt top in quarters (fold in half lengthwise and then crosswise) with RIGHT SIDES together.
Now you have the three layers quartered. Backing–the right side is visible, Batting is quartered, Quilt top-wrong side is visible.
Set the layers aside.
STEP TWO-PREPARE THE TABLE/GATHER SUPPLIES
I often work on a banquet table or two banquet tables pushed together. (It is helpful to add risers to the table legs like these so you don’t have to bend over so far.)
Gather your supplies:
- Large Binder Clips,
- Size 2 safety pins, (Curved pins are nice, but not necessary)
- Masking or painter’s tape,
- Kwik-clip or a spoon
- Machine quilting gloves. (I wear a quilting glove on my right hand because it gets sore from pinning!)
Tape a coin in the center of the table. This allows you to feel where to position each of the layers.
Step Three-secure the Backing to the table
Place the folded corner of the backing on the coin and open up the backing on the table. Allow the backing to drape over the table as necessary.
Starting along one of the folded lines, use binder clips to secure the quilt to the table top.
Work from the center out to secure the backing. The fabric should be quite tight.
Double check that the WRONG SIDE of the backing is facing upward. (Don’t ask me…..)
Step Four-Position and Secure the Batting Layer
Place the folded corner of the batting on the coin. (You will feel it, though you can’t see it!)
Unfold the batting on top of the backing fabric.
Starting from the center of the table edge, reach under the batting to remove one clip at a time, and replacing it on top of both the batting and backing layers.
STEP FIVE-POSITION AND SECURE THE QUILT TOP
Next, place the folded corner of the quilt top on the coin. (Feel it through the two layers.) Unfold the quilt top on the batting layer.
Starting in the center of the table edge, remove one clip at a time, replacing the clip on all three layers.
Smooth the quilt top as you move toward the edges.
Step Six-Safety Pin the Layers
Pin the layers together using safety pins. The pins may be as far as five to six inches apart. Use the size of your open hand as a guide-the pins should be a hand’s width apart. (Too close and they are annoying while quilting–too far and the layers might shift.)
Use a Kwik-clip or the back of the spoon in your non-dominant hand to lift the point of the safety pin and push it into the clasp. I like to wear machine quilting gloves on my dominant hand as it gets roughed up a bit while pinning a large quilt.
STEP SEVEN-SHIFT THE QUILT
Once this area of the quilt is pinned, shift the quilt to complete the sections that are draped off the edges of the table.
Release all of the binder clips from the edges of the table.
Shift the quilt to the right or left.
Using binding clips, attach the side of the quilt that is pinned to the edge of the table.
Expose the quilt layers and secure the layers one by one to the table as described above.
Use safety pins to baste the layers.
step eight-continue shifting the quilt
Depending on the size of the quilt, you may have to shift the quilt several times to complete all the sections.
If the quilt is too small to Clamp
If your quilt is too small to use binder clips on the edge, tape the quilt to the table using masking tape.
Whenever possible, use the binder clips on two edges by placing the quilt in the corner of the table, and then use tape on the remaining edges. The binder clips are faster to use than tape.
Quilt Basting Essential Points
Press the backing and the quilt top to remove wrinkles and creases. You can’t “quilt-out” wrinkles!
Secure each layer of the quilt before adding the next layer. This ensures that all of the layers are smooth before the next layer is added.
Add extra pins along the edges of the quilt to prevent the backing from folding over on itself while quilting.
Quilt basting is easier with a friend, but it can be done alone-so don’t let that be an excuse for not basting.
The BEST Part of Quilt Basting….
Treat yourself to a pair of wireless AirPods while you pin and quilt. (I can’t say enough how much I love them for quilting and cleaning and walking–no cord to tether you to your phone!)
and keep reminding yourself that you will have a canvas ready for motifs!!!!
PS…All tutorials, images and information are the property of Lori Kennedy Quilts and are intended for personal use only. Feel free to re-blog, pin or share with attribution to LKQ. For all other purposes, please contact me at Lori@LoriKennedyQuilts.com. Thank you!
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