Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Basting my Quilt

If you follow my Facebook page, you may have seen my post about marking my latest finished quilt top for hand quilting. A question was asked on Facebook about the stencil I used, so I will answer it here as well -- the stencil I'm using is from The Stencil Company, and it's a stencil for the Baptist Fan pattern. one of my favorite all over quilting patterns for pieced quilts.

So now my quilt is fully marked, and I thought I would share how I baste my quilts. The way I baste my quilts has gone through a few changes over the years. When I first began making quilts, I basted all of my quilts on the floor (luckily that was a younger me). But after I bought and read Harriet Hargrave's Heirloom Machine Quilting, I used the method she illustrates in the book on how to baste on a table using large binder clips. The table she recommended was one of those long catering type tables, roughly 24" x 8 ft., which I immediately went out and bought. I basted on that table for quite a few years, until I purchased a fold-able cutting table, and came up with another idea:

I bought another identical table, and created a wonderful basting surface, and sometime-design surface by putting the two tables together, and clipping them together where they meet with one large binder clip on each side. The binder clips hold the two tables together very securely, and the two tables together create a 59 1/4" x 71 1/2" surface. The height is just right, and I can lean across and just reach the middle when I'm basting (a taller person would have an easier reach). One of the advantages of using these tables, in general, is that when the fold up, they take very little space, and they are on casters, so they are easy to move around.

I lay the backing right side down, centering the backing on the table. Then I use the large binder clips to clip the sides, stretching the backing as I go. I start in the middle of each side, and then work my way out from the middle of each side until I reach each of the corners.

The backing is stretched and clipped to the table on all sides with large binder clips

If my quilt is shorter than the table edges (smaller wall quilts), I use extra wide masking tape to tape the backing to the table.

After the backing is stretched and clipped, I lay the batting over the backing and gently smooth it flat. I'm using The Warm Company Warm Bond 80/20 bonded quilt batting that I won last summer from the Primitive and Folk Art Exhibit. I LOVE this batting! It has the thin loft that I like for my quilts, and it's soft and glue-free.

Last, comes the quilt top. I use my rulers to make sure every block is square and every border is straight. For hand quilting, I thread baste, and for machine quilting, I pin baste.

This was a fun quilt to make, and I enjoyed using prints from my first fabric line with Studio e Fabrics, Elementary, and mixing them in with a variety of prints from my stash. And I'm looking forward to spending more time with it as I hand quilt it. Time to start threading needles and get this quilt basted! 

Until next time,



  1. Your quilt is absolutely stunning, Martha! You are so gifted when it comes to color combinations. Pink and brown is one of my favorites! Thanks so much for posting the basting how-to! I'm filing it away for future reference.

    1. Thank you, Kimber! It was a fun quilt to piece! I always like piecing small scrappy pieces together.

  2. Gorgeous quilt! I love the scrappy background, and those wheels: wow!! Have you finished it? I'd love to see it with the quilting. :-) Hugs, H in Healdsburg

  3. Thank you! No, I haven't finished it yet.... I've had to do a bit of traveling this summer, but once I'm home, I plan to pick it up again!