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Basting A Quilt

Posted by Quilting Bee on

Although basting is the least favorite task of many quilters, it is an important part in the entire quilting process. It keeps the quilt sandwich—top, batting, and backing layers—together, making sure they are properly aligned and do not slip apart during the actual quilting process. This in turn prevents puckered and sloppy quilts. When basting, the three layers are placed flat on top of each other—with the backing laid beneath, the batting in the middle, and the top over the batting—and are joined through different methods. There are four methods of basting a quilt. Quilters choose which to execute depending on the quilt size and, mostly, personal preference.

Hand Baste
The most traditional basting approach, hand baste involves hand-sewing. Hand basting is done at the center toward the outer sides using horizontal and vertical stitches across the quilt, leaving a grid-like stitch pattern. Stitches should be around three to four inches apart. A thin needle is recommended so as not to create big and visible holes in the quilt.

Machine Baste
Machine basting is faster to do than hand basting, but it adapts the same stitching pattern. Stitches should be made at the center and progress outward and should come in a grid pattern.

Pin Baste
This requires a huge amount of pins. A small project may need around 75 pins, while a big one may require, at the very least, 400 pins. Like the previous methods, pin basting should be started at the center, with each pin placed 4 to 6 inches apart from each other. The last rows of the pins must not touch the edges of the quilt and so must at least be an inch away. Pins should also be in a horizontal and diagonal pattern to keep the layers securely joined. While pinning, it is best to smooth out wrinkles and press the layers flat. Although fine pins work well in pin basting, safety pins are more often recommended.

Spray Baste
When hand, machine, and pin basting all seem to be quite a task, spray basting comes as a good alternative. It is a sticky adhesive formulation sprayed over the sandwich layers. To use this, the batting must first be layered flat over the backing. Its top half must then be folded toward the backing edge and sprayed. When put back, the batting must be smoothed out to remove any wrinkle. The same procedure is done to the other half. Next, the top is placed over the batting. The top half should then be folded and sprayed. After which, the top is put back over the batting and pressed flat. The same applies to the bottom half.

When basting a quilt, it is important to have a spacious working area. Others lay their quilt on the floor, on a table, or on a similar flat and large working space. Whichever method to use and wherever basting is done, the goal remains the same; that is, to properly put the layers together without creating crumples and puckers in the quilt. With that goal kept in mind, basting is not anymore a dragging task.

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