Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Basting the Quilt - Introduction

Once the quilt top is complete, you need to temporarily hold the quilt top, batting and back together while quilting. There are three main methods of basting the quilt:
  • use a spray adhesive such as 505 Spray and Fix 
  • use safety pins
  • use thread to baste by hand or machine
Here I’ve outlined the advantages and any disadvantages of each method:

Spray Basting
  • The temporary adhesive holds the layers together more securely because the adhesive is sprayed across the entire surface
  •  You don’t have to stop to remove pins when quilting!
  • It’s fast!
  • 505 is odorless, acid free, adheres at least 5 years (ask me how I know this) and, when the quilt is washed, the adhesive releases
  • 505 does not place any drag on your needles, nor does it gum up needles or scissors
  • Even though 505 is non-toxic, spray in an area with good ventilation
Pin Basting
  • Pin baste if you object to using a spray or prefer not to expose your quilt to the spray adhesive
  • Interrupting sewing to remove pins also disrupts the learning process for developing smooth free motion stitching
  • Quilt layers are held together only where there are pins so it is easier to get pleats on the back
  • Pin basting is slower, harder on your hands and, if you pin baste on the floor, is a killer for your knees and back
Baste by hand or machine
  • If stitches are not too far apart nor too long, holds layers together better than pin basting
  • Relatively slow, especially if basting by hand
  • Must remove basting stitches unless you use water soluble thread

NOTE:  the quilt back and batting should be approximately 3” larger than the quilt top on all sides.

I personally will never pin baste again and can recommend the 505 spray. I have basted many quilts, ranging from small wall hangings to a queen-size, with success. The only shifting between layers I have experienced was with a lap-sized flannel quilt with wool batting. Because both the fabric and batting were fluffy, the layers were shifting slightly so I machine basted with water soluble thread in the top and bobbin - problem solved!

Ideally, your work surface is in a room other than the one in which you have your sewing machine.  To avoid getting any of the spray adhesive in or around my sewing machine, I baste my quilts on folding tables in my garage and open the garage door for good ventilation.

Next: layering for spray or pin basting.

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