Once you have made a beautiful pieced quilt top, the next step is to get it ready for quilting. The quilting is the stitches that hold the top, the batting in the middle and the backing fabric together. The quilting stitches can be quite intricate and can be done by hand or with your sewing machine. So that the layers don’t shift around too much while you’re quilting, you “baste” the quilt together first.
When I first started quilting I learnt how to baste a quilt by laying out the layers and hand stitching it together with a long needle and huge stitches. Then I learned to pin the layers with big safety pins. Both of these methods work.
But these days I spray baste my quilts. It is more expensive to buy the tin of basting spray than to reuse the pins, but the time it saves me is enormous and I think my layers stay together better too.
If you have never tried it before, I would recommend starting with a smaller quilt. It is just that much easier to handle.
Cut your batting a little bigger than your quilt top. Then cut your backing fabric a little bigger than your batting. That way you can be sure that you will have all the layers covered.
I spray baste on the floor of our living room. You need a space big enough for your quilt to be flat and with good ventilation – the fumes are probably not that good for you. First I lay out a queen bed flat sheet so that I don’t have to clean spray from the floor. It needs to be as flat as you can get it. You could tape the edges with masking tape to stop them shifting if you like.
Then lay out the backing of your quilt with the right side down towards the sheet. It should be ironed first then smoothed as flat as you can.
Next lay your batting on top. Again smooth it out with your hands as much as you can.
Finally lay down the quilt top right side up. Now you know that you have all the layers in the right place.
Carefully fold back the top two layers half way and spray the backing layer. Wait a few minutes for the spray to become tacky then fold the batting back into place and smooth it with your hands, working from the middle to the edges.
Once you have that layer nice and smooth, spray the batting with a layer of glue. Again wait a few minutes for it to become tacky, then smooth the quilt top into place.
Now do the same thing with the other half of the quilt, spraying the backing layer then the batting layer and smoothly each layer carefully into place.
The spray takes a little while to dry completely so I have learnt from experience to leave the quilt there for a couple of hours if I can. You can move it sooner if you like, but try to be gentle and drape it over a chair or table rather than folding it up straight away if you can.
Now you are ready to quilt. I find the spray can leave a little bit if residue on the needle as I quilt, but not so much that it is a problem. I start with a new needle for each quilt then change it when I finish quilting. It would easily clean off when you finish too.
There are a number of different brands of basting spray on the market. I have used Birch and Craft Smart and they have been fine. Perhaps some of our readers can share in the comments which brands they have used and liked.
You can read a little more about this quilt top over at The Crafty Mummy.
How do you baste your quilts?