Monday, 2 June 2014

Basting - A tutorial

I was planning on writing this short tutorial on basting whilst enjoying a nice hot cup of tea, but I ran out of milk!
I made a tumbler quilt earlier this year for a little boy and whilst basting it decided to take some pictures to show you what I do.  It's the way I was shown so undoubtedly there are a few ways but this suits me. 
First of all after ironing my backing fabric I place it on a clean floor.  I take masking tape and tape it down on the wooden floor.  I take my time with this making sure that the backing fabric once taped to the floor is nice and flat and wrinkle free and "taut". 

I then take my wadding (I use cotton wadding) I lay it over the backing fabric and starting one end of the quilt to be I smooth out the wadding making sure it covers the backing fabric.
So again taking your time and knees and back allowing smooth the wadding over the backing fabric so that there are no wrinkles and it's lovely and flat.

Now take your quilt top and place it over the two layers that you have laid down already.  Again smooth it out with your hands so that it has no wrinkles and that it has wadding and backing fabric beneath it e.g don't go crooked (like I did this weekend but I just cut my binding slightly wider and no one is any the wiser). 
This is your quilt sandwich.  Starting at the top you have quilt top, wadding (polyester or cotton) and backing fabric.  Now you have to keep it from moving so I pin it using quilting safety pins, they have a tiny curve in them which allows you to get through the layers. 

I start in the middle of the quilt and start pinning.  I put a pin every 4-6 inches apart.  Whilst pinning I would keep smoothing out my quilt top.  I also pin right up to the edge of the quilt just to avoid it moving whilst quilting.   Ensure that you are in fact catching all three layers in the pin, nothing worse than picking it up off the floor when you are done to find that you only get through the top two layers.

When the pinning is complete if applicable I trim away excess but proper excess fabric around the edge, I would leave a generous 2" around the quilt top, but I don't want all the extra stuff getting in my way when I am on the machine.
Make sure to remove the masking tape if you don't trim, as you don't want to quilt the masking tape into your backing fabric, not the end of the world it pulls away easily.

I hope you find this helpful and email me if you have a question.  Now I need to gather my kids and pop out for some milk!  



  1. Fiona great tutorial, I basted a quilt today but I have to redo it... Didn't turn out as well as I wanted it. It's pieced on both the back and front so that may have been the issue.

  2. Really good tutorial ! Not my favourite job - hard on the knees!

  3. Really helpful.. I haven't been sewing long and last time used the masking tape and it made such a difference to keeping my backing still.


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