Shattered Star Quilt Along: Week 7 – How to baste your quilt
Can you believe it’s already Week 7 of the Shattered Star Quilt Along?!
Time flies when you’re having quilty fun!!
Plus, you’ve made amazing progress to date and, after this week, you’ll be in the quilty home stretch!
I hope you've spent some time stepping back and admiring your quilty work 😊 It's one of my fave things to do - just stand and stare at my quilt tops - ha! #quiltnerd
But THIS is the point in the journey that can be daunting.
And can cause many to stall in the quilt making. Just the thought of basting can be enough to make any quilter pack up and focus on starting a new quilt!
I want you to push through that temptation and just get 'er done. I promise, you'll feel so accomplished and HAPPY to have this step completed.
So, stick with me. I'm right here with you tackling my least favourite step in the journey.
Read on to find out how I went from total dread to “ok, I still really dislike this, but it’s not THAT bad”!
*This post contains affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, if you click through and make a purchase, I may receive a commission.
LESSONS LEARNED TO DATE
Before diving into a new quilting technique, it’s always fun to check in and remind yourself just how much knowledge you’ve added to your quilt skill set:
Your quilting skills are on fire! Let’s add some more to that list and let’s talk all things quilt basting!
WHAT IS BASTING AND WHY DO YOU NEED TO DO IT?
So, what exactly is basting a quilt? Thankfully, it has nothing to do with basting a turkey, but rather involves layering your quilt backing, batting and the quilt top to create a ‘quilt sandwich’ ready for quilting those 3 layers together.
WHAT TYPES OF BASTING ARE THERE?
Sounds easy enough, right? But how exactly do you go about securing those 3 quilt layers together so that things don’t shift on you while you’re quilting away?
Here are a few basting methods to consider.
This one sounds exactly as it’s described. You use long hand sewn basting stitches to hold your quilt sandwich together. I’ve only used this method once and found it super long and painful. But that could be because I was tackling my King size Dresden plate quilt, so it took me 3 days to get her fully basted. Not an experience I’m looking to repeat any time soon 😉
Spray basting your quilts involves picking up a *can of spray glue and, working in sections, you spray a nice thin even layer over your backing and then smooth your batting on top. You want to take your time with this step as you want to smooth out all wrinkles and air bubbles. Once you have two layers glued together, you repeat these steps with your quilt top. Once everything is nice and glued together, you need to *iron it to set the glue. This is hands down the quickest method, but I don’t love the idea of glue hanging in the air. I’ve also heard it said that the glue can fall in your sewing machine and gunk it up, which just freaked me out. Not to mention, you need a well-ventilated area, which I don’t have for about 6 months of the year since it’s so cold here in Montreal!
There are specialty *curved safety pins that are made just for your quilt basting needs! The design helps you lever the fabric and come back up to secure in the safety pin without having to put as much strain on your hands and fingers. I picked up my original set over 5 years ago and they’re still going strong. I’ve recently added my 3rd box solely because I have so many quilts already basted and waiting to be quilted up!
Board basting is a genius technique if you don’t want to be crawling around on the floor on your hands and knees. It involves rolling your quilt layers on boards and then unrolling them onto one another as you either thread baste or pin baste each section. My quilty friend Izzy swears by this technique. You can see a video of it here.
There are specialty *quilt basting guns that you can pick up at your local quilt shop that ‘tack’ down your 3 quilt layers with plastic tacks. It looks super cool, but I haven’t tried this one as I have Pips (my cat!) in the house, and he’d be allllll over wanting to chew those little plastic bits.
WHAT YOU’LL NEED TO PIN BASTE
For Week 7 of the Shattered Star Quilt Along you’ll need the following tools and notions to baste your Shattered Star quilt top:
HOW TO PIN BASTE YOUR QUILT
Ok, so now you know your different basting options, let’s dive into how you actually baste a quilt!
Give your backing fabric a good press. Refer to this post for good pressing habits!
Lay your quilt backing on the floor right side facing DOWN (i.e., wrong side facing up).
Smooth out all the wrinkles and air bubbles.
*Tape down the entire perimeter of your quilt backing with painter’s tape. You want the tape to have a good level of stickiness and you want it to be thick enough to catch your backing fabric and enough of the floor to make good solid contact. This is the foundation of your quilt sandwich and you don’t want her to budge. Over tape if in doubt 😉
Press your batting. Wait, whaaaa? Yup, you read that right! You want your batting to be wrinkle free to get the best quilt basting results. So, give it a good press.
Lay your quilt batting on top of your quilt backing.
Smooth out all wrinkles and air bubbles.
Give your quilt top a good press. See a theme here?! You want each of your layers to be a freshly pressed and wrinkle free as possible.
Lay your quilt top right side facing UP and smooth over your quilt batting, making sure that you have several inches of quilt backing and batting extending beyond the entire perimeter of your quilt top (this will ensure you still have full coverage should things shift a little during the quilting process).
Working from the center out, use your curved safety pins to pin the 3 layers of your quilt sandwich together.
A good rule of thumb is to leave about a fist’s width between each of your pins.
Take your time and pin thoroughly.
WHY I PIN BASTE
I have a love-hate relationship with pin basting. It was hands down the one step in the quilting journey that I dreaded. But there are several reasons why I love to pin baste.
It’s sustainable. I don’t have to keep buying new safety pins. I mean, I will need to replace them as they get dull, but mine are still going strong even after 5+ years.
With practice, you get more efficient at pin basting.
VIDEO – SEE IT IN ACTION
Here's some visual information on the quilt basting process:
By following these steps, you’ve now set yourself up for a better quilting experience: one with less chances of, shifting, puckering and air bubbles.
As for quilting?
Well, I’ll be sharing some tips with you in our private Facebook group, but here’s what I can say:
- Make sure to consider your threads options. It’s not only a key component of keeping your quilt together, but it offers another opportunity to add detail to your quilt.
- My go-to for piecing and quilting is Aurifil Thread. I’ve been using them for years and love ‘em. So much so, I’ve been an Aurifil Artisan for 2019 and 2020. You can read more about why I love Aurifil here.
- Since I quilt all of my quilts on my Juki (and my Singer before that), I speak from experience when I say you can quilt your quilts at home. Here’s my Top 10 Tips for Machine Quilting on Your Domestic Machine.
I've used 40wt Aurifil Thread in a lovely pink shade for the organic wavy line quilting.
TOP TIPS FOR QUILT BASTING SUCCESS
Some top tips to keep in mind before you tackle your next quilt basting session:
- Be gentle! I seem to start a lot of my top quilting tips with “be gentle”, but it’s important to be gentle with it and not pull or tug on your fabric. This will help prevent stretching and your quilt blocks/ rows from getting distorted.
- You want all 3 layers of your quilt sandwich to be flat and smooth (without it being too taut).
- Remember to press each layer of the quilt sandwich (including your batting) – this goes a long way in helping things stay flat and smooth.
- Always start by tapping down the center of your quilt backing on all four sides before tapping down the sides and working your way out.
- Get a *Kwik Klip – it seriously makes the pin basting process way less painful and much more efficient.
- Wear comfy clothes!
- Pop on your favourite podcast, *Audible book, or record and settle in for some listening enjoyment!
Since this week’s quilty tasks are big I wanted the giveaway to be equally big to reward you for your accomplishment! So, I reached out to some of my favourite quilty partners: Aurifil Thread, Craft de Ville, Quilters Dream Batting and Wild Phil Quilting to be Week 7 sponsors.
I rave all the time about my love for Aurifil Thread which is why I couldn’t host a quilt along without including their awesomesauce thread as a prize. They’re not only giving you a cone of 50wt colour 2000 (my latest piecing fave), but they’re also throwing in a COLOR CARD! I can’t tell you how amazing having one of these on hand has been. Which leads me to Sponsor 2 – Craft de Ville.
I met Stacy when I joined the Montreal Modern Quilt Guild and discovered she also ran a craft shop – Craft de Ville. Before becoming an Aurifil Artisan, Stacy was my go-to source for Aurifil Thread. Not only can you order the exact colour you want, but you can get it in the exact thread weight you want. Brilliant! I have yet to see this offered anywhere else. She makes it EASY to order thread online (especially when you have a color card!). Stacy is also my go-to for sourcing Quilter’s Dream Batting. Oh, and did I mention her customer service is top notch? The fact that she’s local is just the cherry on top! Stacy’s not only offering you 10% off now through December 13, 2020 with code SHATTEREDSTARQAL, but she’s also throwing in a $25 CAD gift card for the winner.
If you’re on my newsletter than you know Quilters Dream Batting is my ride or die batting of choice! They’re generously offering 2 packages of their Natural Select Cotton in Twin size (my all time fave) so you can get to experience the quilty goodness they offer. I love it so much I buy it by the bolt.
Since quilting your own quilts can be daunting, I reached out to Mindy of Wild Phil Quilting who’s offering 20% discount on long arming service with code Shattered Star QAL. Take a holiday from quilting by sending it to Mindy to give your quilt the longarm royal treatment!
To enter the giveaway, you must:
- Be a Shattered Star QAL newsletter subscriber.
- Be following @aurifilthread , @craftdeville, @quiltersdream, @wildphilquilting and @shannonfraserdesigns on Instagram
- Post a photo on Instagram of your Shattered Star quilt top between November 23, 2020 and November 29, 2020 at 11:59 pm.
- Instagram account must be public.
- Tag @aurifilthread , @craftdeville, @quiltersdream, @wildphilquilting and @shannonfraserdesigns
- Include the hashtags #shatteredstarquilt #shatteredstarqal
Week 7 giveaway is open internationally (except the batting which is US only).
For more quilting tips, check out:
Quilt basting might not be the most exciting step in the quilt making journey, but it always feels amazing once it’s done! It also means setting up a good foundation to tackle your quilting. Less puckers, wrinkles and air bubbles, means less chance of your fabric puckering or pockets of air being created. Plus, it means you’re one step closer to getting to snuggle your quilty creation!
Happy basting 😊