Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Basting a quilt

I spent an hour or so yesterday evening basting my lap quilt that I am using in my beginners class in a couple of weeks.

People often have their preferred way to baste a quilt - and I thought that I might share how I do mine.


A quilt is made up of 3 layers : top + batting + backing

Quilt top

Prepare your quilt top by ensuring that all threads are trimmed and none are sticking through seams. check any thin seams as you don't want holes to appear when you are quilting. iron your top so the seams sit flat


make sure your batting is about 5cm bigger on all sides compared to your quilt top


make sure you backing fabric is about 5cm bigger on all sides compared to your quilt top. I find that I can be much more frugal with my backing and batting sizes when I quilt my own, having said that I don't excessively trim them prior to quilting


I use safety pins - they are curved on one side and this makes them easy to insert and remove. I have used basting spray - I have no easy space to do this at my current house- my floors are carpet and polished floor board. I've never been brave enough to put the spray near my lovely boards. If I had a big tiled area I'd happily spray baste.

I use a folding craft table which saves my back, and I don't mind getting marks in it's surface from the pins.

Good music/ your favourite TV show and a glass of wine helps the process along too.

Step one

Smooth your backing onto the table. Clip the top end to the table using large clips. Now move to the other end of the table and pull the fabric taught and clip this fabric to the table.

Repeat this process with the sides.

Go back and check for creases at the top and bottom, correct if necessary.

I use basic clips from office works

Step 2 

Smooth your wading on top and reposition your clips to clip both layers to the table. starting with top then bottom then to sides

Step 3 

Smooth your quilt top on top, again reposition all of your clips to clip all 3 layers to the table starting with top , then bottom and then to sides

Step 4 

Pin around the outside of your table- these should be close together

Using the little tool shown makes the process quicker and less painful (see end of post for a picture)

Step 5

Pin the rest of the top with pins hand width apart

Now your quilt has it's first section pinned

Step 6

Remove clips and reposition the quilt to allow pinning of another section of the quilt.
I secure the pinned edge to the table. Fold back my quilt layers and then follow steps 1-5 with my new section of quilt.

Congratulations- your top is now ready for quilting!

Useful tips


Open pins- there is a temptation (that I often sucumb to) of being tidy and closing your safety pins. whilst this prevents stabbing your fingers, I find it is much quicker to pin the next quilt if the the pins are already open.

Keep your pins in a sealed tub with a small silica sachet (from shoes/ handbag boxes) to stop them rusting

Basting tool

I use this lovely basting tool which allows me to close the pins without stabbing myself

Do you have any basting tips?

Please add a comment if you are able to share your experience

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