Q&A with Oda May: Basting

 {fabric in background is from Scrumptious by Bonnie and Camille}

Love to piece and quilt but hate to baste? You're not alone. Join Oda May today as she answers a reader question about basting in small spaces.

Dear Oda May,

Greetings from Spain! I started quilting about four years ago and am still a bit green. Is there an easy way to put together all three layers - and get them all wrinkle free - before I start my hand quilting? I don't have much space and usually put the layers together on the floor on my living room, which is a real pain in more ways than one.

Crawling on Pins and Needles,
Consuelo 
 
Dear Consuelo!

I feel your pain (literally). Basting is my least favorite part of the process so I have some tips for you to make it less painful.

Clamps. Instead of suffering on your hands and knees on the floor, why not baste your quilt in small sections on a table top or counter? You can use strong clamps (found in any hardware store) to hold the three layers nice and tight. Use basting pins or a needle and thread with this method.

Fusible Batting. This may not be an option for hand-quilted projects but fusible batting also allows you to baste in small sections. All you need is space to iron.

Long-arm Basting. Most long-arm quilters offer basting services for both hand quilters and those who like to do their own quilting at home. Check with some long-arm quilters in your area for pricing and availability.

Baste in Peace,



11 comments:

Lisa McQ said...

I use a ping pong table for smaller sized quilts. Works like a charm!

GiGi3 said...

After knee surgery I couldn't get down on the floor to baste large quilts.......
I put my king size bed on risers & it's perfect for pin basting large quilts........Aileen

Carolqa said...

I use a wall and a little step stool. First pin (push pins) the quilt top facing toward the wall. I smooth it out with my hands. I do the same with the batting and then the backing, making sure it's smooth and overlapping the quilt top on all sides. I find it easy to mark the center point on all sides and line up the batting and backing. Sure I have some pin holes in my wall but it sure is a lot easier than wrestling with it on a floor or table.

erowen said...

I don't baste at all. I iron and then use painter's tape to tape down the backing on my floor. I use 505 temporary spray then put the batting down. Then 505 spray again on top of the batting. Press the top down. It doesn't move and allows you to sew easily. This is how I was taught by a professional quilter.

Annie Rose Quilts said...

I love 505 - especially suitable for free motion quilting - no risk of the machine foot getting hung up on the basting stitches or having to stop mid-flow to remove pins!

CruiseFan said...

Really BIG quilts I have professionally quilted (and of course basted) by a longarm quilter.
It is not easy to find somebody doing this in Europe at an adequate price - but I managed somehow!
Small things I usually use iron-on-batting, it is a bit on the thin side (okay for small wallhangings), but it still looks nice and since I do not like handquilting that much it helps me getting away with it....
The idea with the ping pong table is great - if you happen to have one and happen to have the room! ;-)

teachpany said...

See if your local church or community center will let you move some tables together to baste quilts. Use packing tape or masking tape to tape your backing flat, then smooth the batting and top, so you can pin. My friends just retired and I lost my big cutting height table when they closed the store. I need to find a new place with a good table, too. There's also a way to use wood slats, like 1 by 6 boards. You roll the quilt pieces on the boards, then unroll and pin. Google it. I can't remember the blogger who does it like that.

Helen said...

Check with your local quilt shops to see if you can use the tables in their classroom when there isn't a class. Many quilt shops in my area will let you use the empty classrooms for free. Bring your binder clips to clamp your quilt to the table.

Cloudy Stitches said...

i have just learned that Masking Tape works well you begin with your backing and work through the layers and i used a table then basted it was the most easy job ever.
Thankyou Amanda

Shannon Mower said...

I like to use starch on the backing. I've found it keeps the wrinkles away.

ladybug_dawna said...

I've only been at this since Janruary. I had a work accident and have permanent brain damage, so I can not be trusted with most basing methods. I have taught myself how to quilt and found that using basting spray works perfectly for me. My husband actually does all the work making the sandwich. my quilts stay perfectly together