Monday, 25 July 2016

Cursing While Basting

My absolute most hated step of quilting is basting. I have refined my technique over the years so I'm pretty efficient but I still avoid doing it until I really need to.

I finally decided to baste the Flying Geese quilt I made for my husband's aunt. The quilt top, backing and batting have been hanging over my railing for a couple of weeks now. When one kid was at a movie and the other was napping I decide to bite the bullet and get it done.

It did not go well.

My technique is to tape the quilt back using wide painter's tape to my dining room floor. Then I layer on and smooth out the batting and attach it one half at a time with 505 spray. Then I add the quilt top and half at a time secure that with spray. Roll the whole thing up and you're good to go.

I couldn't do without my 505. A gazillion pins? No thank you.
The darn backing would NOT cooperate. It kept shifting around. The tape would not hold to the fabric no matter how much I used or how firmly I pressed it. This has never happened to me before! And it was a nightmare of shifting and swearing and smoothing and retaping and shifting again. I'm sure I redid it and resmoothed it about six times.

Now I've started quilting, starting in the middle and working out. I am about a foot from the edge and I can tell things are shifting again. Insert more swearing. I've hung it back up on my railing and I will tackle it when I have the patience to try to work through the backing issues. 

What gives? I've used Lizzy House Pearl Bracelets as backing multiple times without issues. Any insights into my basting woes?


  1. Sorry to hear about your troubles. Using advice from Jenn, here is how I baste. I switched from the bare floor to the carpet in the basement. Put down your batting and smooth the backing on top. Pull back half backing and spray and smooth and then the other side. Flip over so that the batting is on top. Put down the top and again pull back half, spray and smooth, and the other half. I have had more success doing it on the carpet. The batting sticks to the carpet and doesn't shift. Sometimes I'll flip again so the backing is on top and give a final smooth just to be sure.

  2. Are you using different tape to tape to floor? Like a new roll? Could have been not enough stick? Maybe your 505 is a dud and not sticking well? Is it only backing that's shifting? If so, does the fabric have a lot of sizing in it? Maybe that is preventing 505 from sticking?

  3. If you join one of the groups I am in called "Sit Down free Motion Quilter's" on Facebook and go to the files, our wonderful leader Jeanne Harrison has a tutorial for basting quilts using some simple parts you can buy at any hardware store (small diameter white pipe and pipe foam insulation). It cost me around 10 dollars for all the materials It has worked a treat for me and I no longer need spray (yucky stuff).

  4. Anja's already explained pretty much what I do when I'm basting! :) But I've also taken to using Linda @ Scrapmaster's technique of layering the quilt on my design wall whenever I can. I have also been known to sneak into the the art room at school and use the big tables there. So much easier to deal with basting foibles when you're not crunched over on your knees!