Tuesday, January 10, 2012

My unconventional method of pin basting quilts, but it works.

I thought I'd show you how I pin baste my quilts. I've tried laying them on the floor but its hard on the knees and back plus tricky with little people around. I'm not a fan of basting spray. I don't like breathing in things like that or spraying foreign substances on my quilts. I've tried taping the layers down but don't like that either. Its easy to pull the quilt skew wiff doing it that way.

So this is how I do it on our kitchen table.
Its always easier with two people but I can do this quite successfully by myself.

Firstly measure or roughly lay your three layers on top of each other on a bed or floor to make sure the wadding and backing are larger than the front!!!! Mark the top of all the layers so you don't bast one sideways by accident. You will also need to find the centre of the backing.

I then iron/press the backing gently so its flat and seams are sitting nicely. I then lay it face down, centred on the table. Yes, there is lots of overhang as this is a big quilt but thats fine.

Next, take your wadding and fold to in half and half again so that you know where the centre is. Place the centre of the wadding on the centre of the backing as per photo below.

Unfold the wadding carefully so its covering half the quilt backing. Gently smooth it flat. Double check you don't have it on a wonky angle. Start again if you do.

Unfold the wadding completely, carefully so as not to scrunch up the quilt backing and get wrinkles. Smooth the wadding with your hands making sure you can't feel any wrinkles underneath.

Now press your quilt top, making sure its wrinkle free and your seams are facing the way you want and pressed flat. Fold in half and half again like you did with the wadding.

Place the centre of the quilt top on the quilt centre.

Unfold half the quilt as below. Smoothing as you go. Careful not to distort the layers to much, you don't need them stretch to billeo just flat and unwrinkled.

Unfold the complete quilt top, smoothing again. If you do find you have a fold or a wrinkle in one of the layers just gently put your hand between the layers and ease it out. Once the top is flat and smooth check all the way around the edges to make sure your backing and wadding are longer than the quilt top. If you have pre-measured and centred all the layers you should be right.

Now you can start pinning. Pin the top section the size of the table then gently slide the whole quilt to each side and pin further and further out. As you slide the quilt to the side, smooth and check for wrinkles each time then pin. Continue until you have the whole top pinned then you are ready for quilting.

I've never had fold or wrinkles or stretched layers using this method plus its a lot more friendlier on your back.

I finished quilting this quilt at midnight last night and I'm hand sewing the binding today so hopefully some finished photos later. So excited to have my biggest UFO nearly done.


  1. Very ingenious way to pin a quilt, and so much easier than crawling around on the floor! I did that one time and will never do it again! This quilt will be just lovely when it's finished!


  2. I do my basting the same way except I use the spray basting stuff.

  3. I do my pin basting In a similar fashion except my dining room table is octagonal and five feet diameter. I use bulldog clips to clamp the quilt to the table edges to ensure that all three layers are taut. Any method that saves crawling around on the floor has to be a plus.

  4. That looks like a nice method to try. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Pretty similar to how I do it and I use bulldog clips sometimes too, depends on the size. I love the Bliss fabric, just so bright and summery. I've just put my Bliss star quilt on the spare bed this week and I'm loving walking past the door and seeing it...

  6. I do mine similar but obviously not quite as well as I still end up with a few 'folds'. Looks like I will have to try folding it in quarters next time.

  7. You've explained all that very well. I do something similar, but will have to use your very logical and practical of putting the batting and quilt top in place. Why didn't I ever think of that, lol?

  8. That is a civilised way to baste a quilt.

  9. Julie this is such a good idea. I'm up to this stage on my quilt and was just going to baste it on the floor, but I might just try this method instead. Thanks. x

  10. Damn you're smart! An excellent how-to

  11. A very good idea!
    My back, as his grateful ...
    Pass on my next quilt

  12. I've been basting my quilts that since I started quilting (I didn't know any better)as I haven't got a large enough floor space, also my knees and back can't stand it. I use clothes pegs to hold the backing taut.

  13. I use bed risers under the table legs whenever I have to do something that requires me to bend over for any length of time. It works great, I have even taken them to events that I work at to raise the tables to serve coffee, pop, etc. Hope this is helpful to you. Cindy

  14. That is a great idea thank for showing how to do it. My small thing I tape down but I have not done a big quilt as my sister inlaw has a quilting frame and I just send them to her to quilt.

  15. Thanks for sharing this Julie. May I ask how you quilt so quickly? What exactly do you do and do you just use a normal machine? My curiosity is burning to know more...you can email me if you like.

  16. I've just found this via a google search, I have a 95" square quilt to baste and haven't got floor space big enough - I think this method is the answer, thanks so much for sharing.