Patchwork and quilting

Tips for Basting a Quilt before Hand Quilting


Here are my tips for how to baste a quilt before hand quilting.

Choose a thin batting, I prefer cotton. Choose a thin good quality cotton backing fabric, the thinner the backing fabric the easier it will be to hand quilt.

Iron your backing fabric, if you joined pieces to fit, press the seams open

Tape backing fabric to the floor (use masking tape), right side facing down and smooth out so there are no folds. Do not make the mistake of stretching your backing too tight. This will cause the fabric to contract when you release the tape and give a poor result.
Make sure your backing fabric and batting are approximately 8″ (20cm) larger than your quilt top. This will enable you to place the outer borders in a hoop.

Iron your batting if it has fold lines.

Place the batting over the backing fabric, then place your quilt top right side
facing up over the batting.

I pin all layers together using flower pins (they are bigger and longer than normal pins).


Pinning then basting your quilt


Baste all layers together starting from the centre and working out.
I use a contrasting thread colour to the quilt so that I can easily see the basting stitches.This makes it easier to remove later.
Thread the end of the spool and start to tack. Don’t be tempted to make your stitches too big. 1-1 1/2″ is a good length. Use a long needle for this, not too thick.
Always secure the tacking thread into the outer batting not the quilt top.


Return to the centre and cut the thread needed for the other side.
Thread and continue to baste or tack in the opposite direction.
Repeat this process working in a grid formation.
Your rows should be approximately 4″-6″ apart.

I use an old teaspoon to help pick up the needle when tacking, this stops my fingers from getting sore. Don’t use a teaspoon form your best cutlery set because it will probably end up with lots of small scratches on it from the needle.

If you are finding the process hard on your back, it is fine to lift up the quilt
once you have some base rows. You can then continue on a table. Once again don’t baste your quilt on your best dining room table or you may not be impressed when you discover scratch marks!

Make sure you sew a basting row close to the outer edges, this will help when attaching the binding at a later stage.

Taking the time to prepare your quilt for hand quilting is time well spent.
Don’t rush this preparation, you may be sorry later on!
Once you have finished this stage you are now ready to begin hand quilting.

Hope you have found these tips for basting a quilt before hand quilting helpful.



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