After you have completed your quilt top there are still three rather large tasks to complete before you have a quilt that’s ready for snuggling:
This series covers each of these topics using the exact methods I use for my own quilts.
I’ve been wanting to get this series up here all year long. Finally, I’m tackling it. I do have every one of these tutorials in this series on here from years ago, but now they are updated. Fingers crossed they turn out better than the old. I’m a quilt maker, so not the best at video making. I do try though. 🙂
Basting a quilt is the process of getting all three layers together using a temporary method. Your quilt needs to be basted in order to be able to quilt over it.
So anyway, we are tackling my basting method today. I wall baste. I have for years. I think I might have pin basted two quilts in my past and once I swapped to wall basting, I was done with pins for good.
A few thoughts right upfront
- Many quilters will say negative things about methods they dislike. I don’t like to do this. You may find a method of getting a job done that totally works for you and that you love and somebody else absolutely hates. You can’t possibly know whether you like something or not unless YOU give it a try. If you’ve heard negative comments about spray basting, put them out of your head at least once and give it a try. I can’t imagine crawling around and pin basting a quilt, but MORE quilters use that method than any other. So I won’t say anything negative about it. It obviously works for probably the majority of quilters. I can’t argue with that.
- Is there a smell? I’ve heard some complaints about this. I don’t have a sensitive nose, but if there’s a smell it’s never bothered me at all.
- The spray could get everywhere. I talk about this in my video, so I won’t go into it much here. It’s not a problem for me and I consider myself a bit anal about cleanliness.
- The spray is expensive. That isn’t untrue. It does add cost to the quilt, definitely. I can get about three quilts out of the large can of 505.
- There’s so much to do upfront. Yes, there is, but once it’s done you never have to do it again. Ask me how quick I can baste a large quilt. You’d be so surprised. I am lightning. 🙂
- How big do I cut backing and batting? I always cut my backing and batting 6″ bigger than my quilt top. This gives me room to spare when basting.
Let me list the Pros now
- My knees are spared. Majorly spared. I’m not crawling around everywhere. I’m not bent over anything. Most of the time I’m on my feet until I get to the bottom of my quilt.
- I don’t need a giant spot on the floor. I don’t have to move furniture, I don’t have to clean my floor before I baste my quilt.
- Major timesaver. Not only am I faster with spray than I am with pins, I don’t have to take the pins out of the quilt while I’m quilting or after.
- Easier to get it right. I only pin basted two or three times in my life, but those two or three times I had lumps in my quilts. I never gave myself time to get good at pin basting, this is true. Once I swapped to spray basting I just never looked back.
Please note that I don’t want to talk you into anything. Do things your way or a way that works best for you. I hope the things I listed above can help you better make decisions about your own methods. Sometimes we see someone doing something and we are blown away. Like that time Kathy showed me that I didn’t have to draw lines on my squares for HSTs. That was a total game changer for me. Other times, I see a method and I’m like, I’ll just stick with my own method, thanks!
So there is some things that you only need once to set up a place to wall baste. After that you won’t need to buy them again.
Upfront Supplies for Setup
Supplies for Actual Basting
- Basting Spray – I like 505 Adhesive Spray the best and I also like Thermoweb Spray in Bond Quilt Basting Adhesive Spray. If you want to give spray basting a go, try one of these sprays first. I’m afraid the other will turn you off so badly you won’t give spray basting a chance (that’s how bad the other sprays were for me).
- Batting – I’m only adding batting in here because some battings lend themselves better for wall basting. Warm and Natural is my batting of choice. It’s so flat and hangs so straight. There’s a lot of other battings that I love, but this one is my go-to because of my method of basting. It’s also a really lovely batting. Some battings will have those pockets or wells in them. They make basting very difficult. With that said, I’ve used many brands of batting when I wall baste and managed to make all of them work.
Step 1 – Hammer in nails along the top part of your wall (once you do this once, you never have to do it again). The more nails you use, the more variety of quilt tops you can baste here. I have about 12-15 nails and have them spaced about every 5″. It’s important to keep the nails spaced the same distance apart, so that you don’t have to rearrange the safety pins when you flip your sandwich to baste the quilt top.
Step 2 – Hang your batting using safety pins. Loop the safety pin onto the top left hand corner of your batting and close it. Hang that safety pin from one of your nails. Do the same thing all the way down the width of your batting.
Step 3 – Smooth batting out until it lies flat against your wall. It’s important not to have any slack in your batting. Sometimes you will find some slack towards the bottom of your quilt. Adjust the safety pins in the corners of your batting in a different place (higher or lower) until your batting is smooth, hangs flat and has no slack.
Step 4 – Spray the left corner of your BATTING and smooth your quilt backing to it. Remember that your quilt backing and batting are the same size, so should fit well on to your batting. Continue spraying across the width of your batting and pressing quilt backing to the batting. Do this in sections. Spray, then press, move to the right, then spray and press. Repeat this until you have sprayed all the way to the right corner.
Step 5 – At this point your quilt backing is attached to the batting only at the very top. Lift quilt backing up in the middle, spray BATTING, then press quilt backing on it. Smooth from the middle to both sides of your quilt backing. Do this in sections as well. Your sections are (in order): middle, middle right side, middle left side, bottom middle, bottom right side, and bottom left side. Spray and then smooth each section one at a time. You should always smooth from middle to the sides. If you find you have lumps, peel quilt backing off of batting where your lump is and smooth out.
Step 6 – Remove your batting/backing from wall. Do not take out safety pins. Flip over so that your batting is showing once more and re-hang on nails. Repeat steps 4 & 5 with your quilt top. Your quilt top should be approx. 3″ shorter per side, so I usually try to center my quilt top onto the batting/backing. This doesn’t have to be exact.
Step 7 – Remove your quilt sandwich from the nails and remove safety pins. You’re all basted and ready to quilt.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this video tutorial. I’ll be continuing the “Finishing Your Quilt” series in three parts, one each Friday until completed. Up next: free motion quilting. If you have questions or comments please add them below.