Friday, April 20, 2012

Basting a quilt

 I received my Quilters Dream 100% cotton Battings in the mail last week and set to basting my quilt top ready for hand quilting.
 The quilt backing fabric is placed  face down onto the trestle. One corner and the two adjacent edges of the backing fabric are lined up with one corner of the trestle. I allow an inch of fabric along the two lined up edges to fold over sides of the trestle. The fabric should be stretched out flat but with not too much pull, just enough to flatten out creases. Apply bulldog clips at regular intervals around the trestle, masking tape down the edge that is exposed on the table top.
Backing fabric taped down at top of the picture where the fabric isn't as wide as the trestle.
The same corner and edges are lined up when placing the batting down next. Smooth it out flat with your hands so there are no wrinkles. Again allow an inch of batting of the lined up edges to fold over the side of the trestle. Reapply the bulldog clips to include the batting.

Batting is now on- the bottom and right edges are the two that are lined up with only and inch over the trestle edges.
Lastly place the top, with the same corner and edge as the backing and batting lined up. This time line the top up with the edge of the table ie: no fabric folded over the sides. Stretch out flat and reapply the bulldog clips.
First half of the quilt can be basted- note where the edge of the top is on the bottom and right edges
Sorry the thread doesnt show up too well
 Using a long needle, (mine is about three inches long, thin and strong), sew long running stitches in both directions across the quilt, making sure you sew through the three layers. The lines I sew are about 4" apart. Where the quilt is longer than the trestle, leave thread long enough to pick up and finish when the second half of the top is stretched for basting. Backstitch at the end of rows twice instead of knotting.
When the first half is basted remove the bulldog clips and slide the whole quilt over the edge of the table until you reach the unbasted area. Line up the edge of the trestle with the quilt where the basting ends.  Bulldog clip this edge, then complete the stretching process again one layer at a time.
When the basting is complete I cut the excess batting and backing fabric about an inch away from the two overlapping edges. I am now ready to quilt.

 The basting process takes a while and can be taxing on your back so I take my time doing this. Walk away and have frequent breaks. It is a good time to contemplate where you will quilt the quilt while you are spending so much time looking at the top. When done I usually have my quilting designs all planned!


  1. this quilt is so gorgeous! it's a pattern thats been on my list for awhile now if i can just commit to it.:)

    1. Thanks Audrey, the pattern is called 'Reel Variation'

  2. Looking good Penny :-) You'll have this finished in no time at all! X

  3. So glad you are hand quilting this - it is already beautiful! I use Quilters Dream Cotton, too, though I used wool batt for my last couple hand quilting projects. Nice explanation of the basting process. I'm finding I have to baste closer than 5". I've been doing it on my dining room floor and using masking tape to hold down the back. Crawling on the floor is hard on my back AND knees. I think I should find a table! Are you doing this in a quilt shop?

    1. Maureen, I just went and measured the distance between my rows and it is 4", might change that! The bolts you can see in the background are some I have that I am putting online soon with an online shop.

  4. thanks for the tutorial! Definitely beats crawling around on the floor. Lovely to see "our" blocks too, Sharon x