Basting Your Quilt Top

Lets say you have decided to hand quilt your quilt top. You have a couple of options for basting the layers together. The quickest is to take the backing, batt and quilt top to a machine quilter. The machine quilter will baste the three layers together for you so that you can start your handwork. You could hand baste your own quilt but be aware that this is a tedious process. Using safety pins to pin baste is also an option.

If you choose to hand baste or safety pin baste you will need to create proper tension on the three layers. To do this I lay my backing wrong side up on a clean hard surface. I use my hardwood floor. Using masking tape I tape first one side down to the floor, then the opposite side then the other two sides. The goal is not to stretch the fabric but just to make sure it is taut on the floor as it is taped. There should be no wrinkles in the fabric. Next smooth your batting on top. If you have purchased a batt in a bag and it is not laying flat pop it into your dryer for a few minutes with a damp washcloth to flatten it out. Then smooth the top right side up on the batt. If you are pinning with safety pins you will need to pin every 4”. Pin along the two centre lines first in a cross formation. Start in the centre and work your way to the edges. Then fill in the empty quarters of the quilt starting in the middle and working your way out to the edges. The very edge of the quilt will require a safety pin every 2”. If you have decided to hand baste follow the same directions but use large stitches instead of pins.

After this is process is complete untape the quilt and proceed with your hand quilting.

A Note About Safety Pins: Buy the best quality safety pins. Your quilt will be a long time in the making and you don’t want to have rust marks appear under poor quality pins. Cheaper pins often have very poor points and can be very frustrating to use. I buy my safety pins at the local dry cleaners. They sell them in huge boxes. They are cheaper to buy like this and the nickel-plating on them will not rust.