Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Basting 101

No, we are not talking turkey!
Why baste?
To keep the three layers (quilt top, batting, and backing) from shifting or wrinkling during the quilting process.

Let's look at all your basting options.

Option #1 Pin Basting

Pros: Relatively inexpensive. Pins are reusable so once you buy them, they will last a long time. Accurate; gives you a lot of control and you can baste densely or sparsely as needed.

Cons: More expensive if you spring for specialty curved basting pins. Time consuming. Awkward to pin the center of a large quilt. Difficult if you have any pain in your hands. You must stop machine quilting and remove pins as you work; you do not want to catch your hopping foot on a pin, or run your walking foot over a pin.

Option #2 Spray Basting

Pros: Fairly easy. Fast. No need to stop quilting to remove pins. 

Cons: Costly; a can of spray baste will run you $10 to $20 depending on the brand. Stinky. The sticky overspray gets all over everything. Some brands of spray baste work better than others. Sometimes you have to re-iron to re-activate the fusible, which sort of negates the whole time-saving idea.

Option #3 Thread Basting

Pros: Cheapest option. Uses only needle, thread, and scissors, all of which you probably have already. This method gives a lot of control. You feel the fabric and can ease wrinkles as you baste, and you can baste as densely as you choose. No need to stop quilting to remove pins.

Cons: Time consuming, can be labor intensive.

Option #4 Gun Basting

Pros: Quick. The basting gun can be used for other purposes, like upholstery and labeling your quilt (think price tags for a craft show).

Cons: Must buy special equipment. Gun runs about $14-40, a pack of plastic basting fasteners start at about $8. Repetitive motion injury risk from pressing the trigger over and over.

Option #5 Fusible Batting

Pros: Fairly easy, quick. Batting has heat-activated glue in its surface, so you layer your fabrics and iron to activate the glue. Especially good for small projects.

Cons: This process can get tricky with a large quilt. Sometimes you have to re-iron to re-activate the fusible, which sort of negates the whole time-saving idea.

Option #6 Long-Arm Basting

Pros: Quick, easy, especially if you already have a long-arm sewing machine. Smooth, even, sturdy.

Cons: More inconvenient if you have to deliver it to someone else and pay them to baste for you.

The bottom line of basting is CHOOSE WHAT WORKS FOR YOU! Try different methods if you are frustrated with what you are doing now.

Now, go learn something else at one of these great participating blogs!

The Back to School Blog hop kicks off on September 1 and runs through the entire month, and little of October too as there’s just so much great info to share! Hop along with some of our industry’s pros to get tips and tricks for your quilting and sewing studio.
 Sept 1: Peta Minerof-Bartos of PetaQuilts – So, Does that Diagonal Method for a Pieced Backing Really Work
Sept 2: Cheryl Sleboda of – The Quilter’s Knot
Sept 3: Teresa Coates of Crinkle Dreams – The Importance of Pressing
Sept 4: Cath Hall of Wombat Quilts – Color Coding for Paper-piecing
Sept 5: Sam Hunter of Hunter’s Design Studio – How to Calculate and Cut Bias Binding
Sept 6: Melanie McNeil of Catbird Quilt Studio – Credit where Credit is Due
Sept 7: Mandy Leins of Mandalei Quilts – How to Keep a Perfect 1/4” Seam Between Different Machines
Sept 8: Rose Hughes of Rose Hughes – Fast Pieced Applique
Sept 9: Megan Dougherty of The Bitchy Stitcher – The Care and Feeding of the Domestic Sewing Machine
Sept 10: Lynn Krawczyk of Smudged Design Studio – Make a Mobile Art Kit
Sept 11: Susan Beal of West Coast Crafty – Log Cabin 101
Sept 12: Sarah Lawson of Sew Sweetness – Zipper Tips
Sept 13: Jane Victoria of Jolly and Delilah – Matching Seams
Sept 14: Jemelia Hilfiger of JemJam – Garment Making Tips and Tricks
Sept 15: Ebony Love of LoveBug Studios – Curved Piecing Without Pins
Sept 16: Misty Cole of Daily Design Wall – Types of Basting
Sept 17: Kim Lapacek of Persimon Dreams – Setting your Seams
Sept 18: Christina Cameli of A Few Scraps – Joining Quilted Pieces by Machine
Sept 19: Bill Volckening of WonkyWorld – The Importance of Labels
Sept 20: Jessica Darling of Jessica Darling – How to Make a Quilt Back
Sept 21: Debbie Kleve Birkebile of Mountain Trail Quilt Treasures – Perfectly Sized No-Wave Quilt Borders
Sept 22: Heather Kinion of Heather K is a Quilter – Baby Quilts for Baby Steps
Sept 23: Michelle Freedman of Design Camp PDX – TNT: Thread, Needle, Tension
Sept 24: Kathy Mathews of Chicago Now Quilting Sewing Creation – Button Holes
Sept 25: Jane Shallala Davidson of Quilt Jane – Corner Triangle Methods
Sept 27: Cristy Fincher of Purple Daisies Quilting – The Power of Glue Basting
Sept 28: Catherine Redford of Catherine Redford – Change the Needle!
Sept 29: Amalia Teresa Parra Morusiewicz of Fun From A to Z – French Knots, – ooh la la!
Sept 30: Victoria Findlay Wolfe of Victoria Findlay Wolfe Quilts – How to Align Your Fabrics for Dog Ears
October 1: Tracy Mooney of 3LittleBrds – Teaching Kiddos to Sew on a Sewing Machine
October 2: Trish Frankland, guest posting on Persimon Dreams – The Straight Stitch Throat Plate
October 3: Flaun Cline of I Plead Quilty – Lining Strips Up


  1. Some of the fusible like Pellon need a damp cloth to work properly. You know the blue writing on one edge --- guess what it says!

  2. OMG, I love that you used the turkey photo. It used to be part of my spiel as a novice; I would say I thought basting was for turkeys. Who knew? Great information. I have only seen basting done one time in a tutorial by Sharon Schamber, who was using a tailoring herringbone baste. Very interesting stuff!

  3. I was so surprised when I saw that turkey and then I burst out laughing. Great job, fun stop on our blog hop.