On Ringo Lake – Time to Baste!

February 01, 2018

On Ringo Lake – Time to Baste!

According to my On Ringo Lake agenda, it is time to baste the quilt.  There are so many different methods to baste, I suggest researching a trying several before you settle upon the way that works best for you.  When I began quilting, I bought HUGE safety pins to baste my quilts because that’s what I had seen someone use at a nursing home I was working in.  Maybe those big pins work for the tied quilts the residents were making, but they were not best for machine quilting.  Hand quilters will thread baste their quilts which is another method that does not work well for machine quilting.  For several years, I used 1” safety pins which was a serviceable method for me if I could use table space at church to lay my quilts out.  Then I discovered spray basting!

I love Sulky 505 basting spray!  I can quickly get the basting done and over with and move onto the fun of quilting.  It is easy to use and there is no odor to this product.  I also find that I can control the application to limit the amount of overspray that occurs.


Before basting the quilt, the batting and backing need to be prepared.  I lay my quilt out on my backing and trim the batting leaving about 4” extra per side. You can do this by measuring it all out, but I find it faster to just lay it on the floor and trim with a scissors since this does not need to be a precise measurement. I know this looks like more like 8 inches but I usually line one side up more evenly with the top and trim within 8” on the the other side.  It’s a bit more efficient!

If the batting is wrinkled from being folded, it’s a good idea to press it before you baste.  I buy batting by the roll so there is only one fold line.  I can also cut exactly what I need from the roll.  I love the wrinkled look that a quilt gets after it is washed and I  use 100% cotton batting to help enhance that look but I have seen some beautiful quilts with wool batting as well.  We also have a great cotton/poly blend available at the shop.  Again, try them all and decide what is right for you.  You will also want to press your backing.  If you seam the backing, make sure you press the seam open to avoid adding extra bulk.

The next step is to find a space in your house where you will be able to lay the whole quilt out for basting.  I have some space in our finished basement where I usually will do this but for larger quilts, I will move all of the furniture out of the living room.  Thank goodness for furniture sliders.  I have some old sheets that I lay down to protect the carpet from over spray. 

The batting gets laid on top of the sheets and I do my best to lay it as flat as possible.  Then I spray it.  I spray a quarter of the quilt at a time with a gentle sweeping motion.  After I get the whole quilt done, I then spray all around the perimeter of the quilt as a last step.

I usually enlist the help of my husband or son when it is time to lay the quilt on the batting.  It’s good to know people with long arms.  For a smaller quilt, you can lay it directly on the batting.  Large quilts like this one work better if you work on one half at a time.  We try our best to center it, but it’s not the end of the world if you lay it down and have to reposition it.  After getting it where you want it, gently pat the quilt onto the batting to get it to adhere.  Pick up a corner to smooth out wrinkles if you need to but avoid sweeping your hand across the whole quilt.  Sweeping usually causes stretching.

After the top is basted, flip the quilt over and repeat the process to apply the back.  You’ll notice that I didn’t trim my setting triangles yet.  I am going to wait until the quilting is done so I don’t have to trim twice!  I try to be as efficient as possible.


Confession time-I made a mistake when I bought my backing fabric.  I knew that our fabulous extra wide Shannon Cuddle fabric would work for my backing, so I picked some up before work last week.  When we went to lay it on top of the sprayed batting, I discovered that when I did the math for cutting the 90 wide fabric, I used the width measurement, not the length so it was not going to be big enough.  I looked in my stash and found a bolt of fabric that I bought at one of our sales thinking that it would work for backing.  It was EXACTLY enough fabric to work for the back!  I put my husband in charge of keeping the dogs off the quilt (he failed-I found a football in the middle when I returned), seamed and pressed the new back in record time.  Now I have a great piece of 90 wide Cuddle fabric for another project.  Attitude is everything!  Stay positive and happy sewing my friends!


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