Well, I just can’t offer any more praise than that for this method of basting! I have been using this for months, after reading about it over at quiltingboard.com. You MUST try this on your next project, it will save time, energy, backaches, and money. Especially if you use “official” basting sprays. I will note this though: Make sure you use washable school glue, I use Elmer’s when I can find it on sale but have had just as much luck using the generic/store brands and these I can usually find 2 for $1. You can do this method using your dining room table, the concept is the same, just do smaller sections and let dry for a while longer before moving on to the next section. I have a dedicated design wall in my studio so that is what I will be showing you how to do. It doesn’t matter if you start with the front or the back, you do them the same way so, grab your batting and let’s get started shall we?
First, I hang my batting(already cut to size) on the design wall then pin along the top edge, oh I’d say 3-5 pins, just to secure it since I will be shifting the rest of it quite a bit. Then I lay the quilt top or the backing, whichever one I grab first, over it. If it’s the top, I leave a few to several inches of the batting extending all around the edges of the top. If it’s the backing, I try to line the edges up as close as possible. Once these layers are smooth and centered, I put big pins in a line across the middle, 5 of them. Like so:
Next, I lift up the bottom of the top/backing and pull it up to the pins, folding and pinning this part higher then the middle so I can start the grid of glue underneath it. Even though I had done the top before deciding to do a quick tute, this pic shows what I am talking about well enough:
Once you have a unglued part of batting exposed, start making your grid of glue. I have done many different “designs” with the glue as it does get a bit monotonous drawing out straight lines so, have fun and make it however you wanna!
The glue is a bit hard to see here but believe me, it’s there. Make sure you get as close to the edges of the backing/quilt top as you can so as to avoid problems with those areas once quilting has begun!!
Don’t ask me, just trust me.
Once the grid is made, let out the pins used to hold up that portion of the backing/top used earlier. This can be a bit tricky to bring it down without getting glue on the front side so if you need to, grab an extra set of hands to help you!! Now that it’s unpinned and hanging loose, smooth, smooth, smooth it over the grid you made. Keep the middle pinned while you do this, you can take those out later. I let my newly glued section sit for 20-30 minutes while I take a quick break, longer if it’s not 100% cotton fabric being glued. Sometimes the blends will take longer to adhere to the glue, a lot of people go over this section with a warm, dry iron to help speed the process. Do it however you want to make it easier on yourself. Here lately, I have been letting that section sit while I do a section on the top. It seems to go faster alternating the bottom and top sections, maybe because I am always doing something? LoL!
When doing the top part, this is where those center pins come in handy, I pull the top of the backing/quilt top down to those center pins and just let it hang there while I make a grid above them on the batting. Remember, make your grid the entire width of the quilt sandwich, or length if you are doing it sideways. I forgot to mention that before, sorry. I “part” my sandwich out in 4 sections or rows, if you will. I do bottom, top, bottom, top.
Now that your top grid is on there, and starting in the center, reach under the loose section that is hanging and smooth it up over the glue. Grab a pin from the center and use it to pin this section just above the glue grid. You don’t want to put your pins in the glue, again, don’t ask me just trust me! Then I continue smoothing the backing/top up and over that grid, using the center pins to pin the newly glued section in place.
Maybe that pic helps it make sense..? See the loose section hanging, and the glue grid above it on the batting? Reach under that loose flap there and smooth it up over the glue. Just watch out for the pins under that flap when smoothing it up! As always, if you need an extra pair of hands or are like me(short) and need a step ladder, get it now!! I am only 5’2″ and my design wall goes up all 8′ to the ceiling so I keep a step ladder right next to my sewing table.
Like I said, now I alternate between basting a section of the bottom, then a section of the top, back to the bottom and finish with the top. Once that last section is basted, there should only be pins along the top edge of this part sandwich. I let this whole thing dry for an hour, maybe more if I get side-tracked by something. You know, “Oooooh, shiny!”, lol. You want it to dry a good while since you will be handling it a lot to flip around to do the other side. I, myself, am a Taurus and never, ever do anything the most efficient way so when I do flip it to the other side I also turn it upside down. What was the bottom is now the top. For some Taurus reason, as my hubby says, this makes sense to me and I’ll tell you why.
If you quilt a quilt using straight lines that all go in one direction, your quilt will become skewed in that direction. ie, you start stitching all lines at the top and go to the bottom. What happens? Everything shifts in that direction and your bottom is now skewed. So, in my thinking, if you baste all in the same direction your basting skews the layers towards that direction. Clear as mud, eh? This is why I turn it when basting the other side. So far, it works and the quilt doesn’t skew out of shape.
Now that I have exposed myself and my “thinking”, let’s move on to the other side.
Okay, the sandwich is now flipped and turned. This is what you will see. It is most helpful to start your basting with the quilt top first as this allows you to see where your backing needs to be to cover the top. Especially if you are using a directional backing. I have found with this method that stripes and directional backings are now usable, since you can line them up perfectly and the glue holds so well that it won’t shift out of place and become tilted, crooked, or even wonky. Hoorah!! Use up those previously unusable backings, folks.
Now that you have the basics, I hope I have explained them well enough, from doing the first side, you can apply them to this side and have a basted quilt ready to go whenever you are. Glue holds for quite a while so there’s really no rush to get it quilted. I do let the sandwich hang overnight to ensure the glue has dried completely before quilting it. There will be hard spots form the glue but I have had no problems going through these with any of my machines or needles. Your stitches in these spots may look crooked or off but relax, once it’s washed you will never know. The best part is, once the quilt is quilted and bound I just pop it in the wash and the glue washes right out! Wish I could say the same for some of my marking tools. Although, you may have to wash it twice if the glue went on a bit thick but there are work-a-rounds for this too. You could wash on warm water, that seems to help, or if that is not an option, try thinning the glue with some water. Not only will it still hold being thinned out, you can then double your glue supply.
I hope this post helps you out, and is understandable enough to be of some use to you. Once you get the hang of it the first time, it really does get quicker and easier. My first glue basted quilt was a generous twin and it took 4 hours. Now I can baste a king in 3 hours, which is a lot less than any other method I have tried. Believe me, I have tried them all!
Good luck to ya, and happy quilting!