The Free Motion Quilting Project: Quilting Basics 5: How to Baste Your Quilt

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Quilting Basics 5: How to Baste Your Quilt

How to baste a quilt block tutorialI know I'm posting a bit out of order this week because we've already learned how to free motion quilt our Blooming Nine Patch quilt block, but I still had a few tips to share about quilt basting so our Quilting Basics tutorial series will continue this week too!

With quilt basting, the most important thing is making sure the layers of the quilt are layered flat together without any extra fabric puddling up in the middle. The second challenge is securing the layers together temporarily so they don't shift as you machine quilt.

In this video I share my favorite method for basting a small quilt block. If you would like to learn how to baste a much larger quilt, the method is a bit different. You can learn my method for basting larger quilts in the workshop Quilting a King on Your Home Machine.

Now let's learn how to baste a flower quilt block together:

I only recently began machine basting my quilts and this is one of those things about quilting - it's okay to change. It's okay to adjust and adopt new methods when you find something that works better.

How to baste a quilt block tutorial
I found while working on several quilts for our new walking foot quilting book that pin basting alone just wasn't cutting it. It wasn't a huge problem, but I noticed small pleats on the back of my quilt and had some issues with shifting fabric on the front as well.

Then I began machine basting with water soluble thread and found this extra step 100% solved those issues. It also removed all the pins from the quilt so it felt easier and faster to machine quilt.

Is it absolutely necessary? Nope. I've basted quilts for years and not taken this extra step and they turned out just fine too. Yes, it's definitely a slower process with a walking foot, but these blocks are so small it really doesn't add tons of time to the project.

I have discovered a way to speed it up machine basting for bigger quilts. I've been spending time at a local quilt shop that rents time on a longarm quilting machine. I can rent a few hours on the longarm machine and baste several quilts at once. The rail system ensures the backing fabric is flat and straight and the layers of the quilt will be basted tight together.

This is faster because many longarm machines have a basting preset stitch which stitches automatically every 1/2 inch.

Ultimately machine basting is just like prewashing your fabric and pressing seams open. Give it a try and see if it works for you. Keep what works. Scrap what doesn't.

What do you think of this basting method? Have you ever worked with water soluble thread before? Share your experience in the comments below!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

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