Basting Your Quilt- Putting the Three Layers Together





Basting is all about putting the three layers of your Quilt together. The bottom layer is your Backing Fabric, the middle layer is the Batting (the fluffy stuff inbetween) and the top layer is your Quilt Top. 


Basting is done to hold the layers of the Quilt together while they are being machine-quilted or quilted by hand. Depending on the size of your Quilt and your dining room table, you can baste your Quilt on a table or put it together on your floor. A wooden floor works best, however if your knees and back are not great do it on a table. You will be able to baste half the Quilt and then move it across the table to baste the remaining half of the Quilt. Wherever you choose to baste your Quilt the method used is universally the same. 


If you do some reading into basting Quilts, you will find that people may approach it is different ways and use all sorts of 'cool' quilting gagets to assist the basting process. If you haven't worked it out so far, I am pretty practical with my approach to Quilting. So the basting method I am going to take you through is the method I use, is super simple and gives you a good outcome.




Basting Tools Required

Image 1

Image 2

Image 3

To baste a Quilt you will need Pins and lots of them. What type? This varies it is really up to you and what you find works best.


Image 1 Safety Pins. The srtaight Safety pins work well, you can also get special curved Safety Pins especially for Quilting. If you choose to use Safety Pins you can leave them in your Quilt and take them out as you Quilt or Quilt around them. I worry about leaving Safety Pins sitting in your Quilt especially if you have young children about so I don't use them. 


Image 2, Quilting Pins, work well as they are longer then normal pins and can be manipulated easily through the three layers of fabric.


Image 3, Glass Head Beads. I use these pins for everything. The 'glass head' means they will not melt when they come into close contact with the heat of an iron. Although an iron is not used in the basting process, for me it is just the Pins I have the most of so I use them for may basting too.


Other requirements for Basting include Masking Tape or Sticky Tape, Scissors, Sewing needle and Cotton Thread. Lastly you will need your Quilt Backing Fabric, the Quilt Top and your Batting.


The particular type of Batting you choose to use is really up to you.  

If you want to know more about Batting take a look at the section, 'Tools of the Trade-Basic Quilting Supplies'.


Lets begin basting your Quilt...

1. If you purchase 'Hobbs Poly-Down' Batting it will come packaged in a bag (see Image 1a). I suggest you take it out of the bag (Image 1b), flatten it out on a table and let it settle for 24 hours. You really need the batting to be as flat as possible before you use it for basting.



2. Lay your Backing Fabric on top of your Wadding and cut the Wadding to the same size as your backing Fabric.

3. Press your Backing Fabric really well with the iron. Place it on top of your table or floor. Using sticky tape or masking tape, tape the Backing Fabric down to the flat surface. Smooth out and pull the fabic tight as you tape all around the outside edge of the fabric. Do not over stretch the fabric. 




Image 3a, shows the Backing Fabric for the 'Sew's just Squares!' Cot Quilt. It fits nicely on this table top for basting.

Image 3b, shows the Backing Fabric for the 'Sew's just Squares!' Large Throw Quilt.


As you can see in the image it does not fit on the table, so I have chosen to prepare the top section of the fabric for basting the top section of the Quilt Top.


Once this section has been basted I will move the bottom section onto the table and baste the remaining Quilt Top.

Once you have your backing fabric taped down flat on a surface, pull off any bit of threads which should not be on the reverse side of the fabric.


4. Place the batting you measured and cut earlier on top of the reverse side of the backing a fabric. Make sure it is centred and covers the entire backing fabric. 


Smooth your hand over the batting to flatten it as much as possible.

5. Now it is time to press your Quilt Top with the iron really well. Start by pressing all the seams on the back of the Quilt Top. Then turn the Quilt Top over to its right-side and press again.


6a, 6b & 6c. Place the Quilt Top centred and directly on top of the batting. It is important to have the same amount of batting showing around the outside edge on all sides. Smooth out all the layers with your hands working from the centre out to each side, left to right and top to bottom.


Pin the three layers together. I like to start at the centre of the Quilt Top and pin working my way out to the sides of the Quilt. Place a pin in the three layers every 5 inches. pin around the outside edge of the Quilt Top too.





Tacking Stitch


Note: If you are working with a large Quilt Top on a table, like the Large Throw Rug in the 'Sew's just Squares!' Pattern, you will need to remove the tape and slide the Quilt Top along the table to the section which needs to be basted. Repeat the same steps as you did for the top of the Quilt Top, tape down the sides and bottom of the Backing Fabric, smooth out the Batting, smooth out the remaining Quilt Top, Pin and Tack stitches through the three layers. 

8. Carefully remove the tape from around the edges of your Quilt and you are ready to quilt your Quilt.

Once you have Basted your Quilt, please refer back to the Pattern or Tutorial you are following on this Website to be directed to your next step towards finishing the Quilt.

If you are following the 'I believe in Rainbows. Make a wish!' Quilt Tutorial click on the link below and it will take you back to the Tutorial.

7a. Thread your sewing needle and Tack large stitches (see in the diagram opposite) in and out of the three layers. Some quilters like to start at the centre of the Quilt and stitch straight across, to the outside edge of the Quilt Top. Or, start at the outside edge and Tack Stitches left to right (if your are right-handed) across the entire length of the Quilt. 


7b. Make sure the rows of stitching are roughly 5 inches apart. Stitch by hand top to bottom on the Quilt Top. Then stitch left to right on the Quilt Top. So that all the layers are held together. Don't forget to Tack around the outside edge of the Quilt Top too.




Sew Handmade

for the love of handmade