Tuesday, August 24, 2010

A Tutorial [Of Sorts] or, How I Baste Quilts

I basted my Sis Boom quilt today, and thought I would blog my process for it.  I have a sewing room that also functions as my computer room and bedroom.  Tight quarters, but no floor space anywhere else in the house, either.  I found this method back when I first found blogs, and I have no clue whose blog I saw it on, but I am eternally grateful.  This is how I do it.

I have three tables in my room.  One is for my sewing machine, this one is for ironing [notice the custom ironing pad - a vintage tablecloth usually covers it as it isn't the prettiest!]...

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and this one is for cutting.  My cutting mat fits it perfectly with a little leftover on the ends for tools.

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The table measures 26" x 48".  It's also my basting table.  Not very big, but it serves the purpose.  The risers make it the perfect height for cutting or basting.

First, I take my backing [a Laura Ashley 100% cotton sheet, queen size] and center it on the table.

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There's no need to tape anything - the weight of the fabrics will hold it nicely.  Then, I add my batting - in this case, a thrifted flannel sheet.  I fold it in half the long way, then in half again the short way, so I can find the center as I lay it out on the table.

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This is also where I apologize for the quality of the pics - sometimes I had the flash on and sometimes not.

After it's centered, I put the quilt top on, and smooth everything out.

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And I start pinning, from the center out.  I never, ever, ever close my pins until the entire quilt top is pinned.  If you close them as you go, you will get puckers - the closing of the pins will cause the layers to shift.

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After I pin the part on the table top, I move the quilt - just sliding it along carefully until I get a whole new part to pin.

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See how wrinkled it looks?  I just run my hands over the top and it smooths right out.  If I need to, I lift a layer or two for stubborn wrinkles, but usually the weight has kept the bottom two layers just fine.

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Now it's nice and smooth, so I continue pinning.  I keep going, moving the quilt as needed and being oh so careful not to impale my toes on any pins on the floor.

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Once all the pins are in, I'll go back and close them all.  I have a bad habit of running my hands over the closed pins - it's not a recommended method for finding any open ones you forgot.  Then, I get the scissors and cut off the excess fabric around the edges.

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Makes it easier to move through my machine.  This method of basting has saved my back, and I've never had even the tiniest pucker on my quilts.  I do this for every quilt - whether I'm going to hand or machine quilt it.  For smaller quilts, table-top size or smaller, I do use tape - there's not enough quilt weight to keep it straight.

Now.  Anybody have any suggestions on how to quilt this puppy?  I'm open to all reasonable ideas, lol.  I may hand-quilt it.  Also, I can't quite figure out what color to use - I hate invisible thread, so that's not an option.  All ideas welcome!

37 comments:

Melody said...

Thanks for the great tutorial. Your quilt is just gorgeous. I love it.

soggybottomflats said...

Wow, this is way cool! You did an awesome job with your tutorial Allie, I "got" it! I think I might be tempted to quilt circles, maybe concentric overlapping lines. If I were to hand quilt it, I think I would do it that way and use the big stitch with perle cotton. Just sayin, lol! Beautiful quilt, can't wait to see the finished result. Thanks for sharing, Elaine

theodora said...

OOOh!!! that is so sweet and your quilt is so pretty I love those fabrics , that method is great it beats getting down on the floor,thank you so much for sharing.

Jenny of Elefantz said...

No ideas on the quilting, but I love how you've shown us the *easy* way to baste! :-)
The finished quilt top is so pretty, Allie...it's going to be spectacular by the time its quilted!

Anne at Film and Thread said...

Several good ideas in this tutorial, eg not closing the pins until you've pinned the whole thing. I've never thought of that.

Can't wait to see your quilt all finished!

Terry said...

Thanks for the tip Allie! I use a table too but I never started from the middle. What a good idea! :0)

Fleurette said...

Wonderful tutorial Allie, thanks for the tip about the pins! can't wait to see your quilt finished, its going to look stunning!

Joanne Lendaro said...

Beautiful quilt! Great idea....

Michelle said...

Thanks for the tip!

Cyndi said...

Well, you know that I'm not a quilter, but I love reading how you amazing ladies do all of this stuff! That's so interesting and pretty darn fascinating to me! I just love those Sis Boom fabrics and can't wait to see the quilt after you've finished quilting it!

XOXO,

Cyndi

Jennifer said...

when this is all done may i have photos of this incredible quilt for my new site....let me know...

Mary-Kay said...

Basting is the part of quilting I don't like but you have to do it to finish. I would suggest Baptist Fans in white or off-white thread for your quilt pattern. It's quarter circles and I think it would look really cool on your quilt.

Shasta said...

That's a good idea - to wait until the end to close the safety pins. Scary, but I'll have to try it, because I agree it causes some of the stretching.

susan m hinckley said...

What a brilliant method. And in my new studio I have a counter-height table for the first time. The best! (Wish I'd thought of risers years ago, you smartie.)

That quilt will be absolutely wonderful no matter how you quilt it. Just fantastic, Allie!

Talin's Corner said...

I love the colors in the quilt, if it were my quilt, I would try to get a variegated pink and turquoise thread. And I am so glad you explained why you shouldn't close the pins. I kept getting puckers in the back and now I know why. Thanks.

soggibottom said...

That's a really happy bright colour Allie. I'm quite taken with the table footwear. I thougth it was only me that had odd feet :-) x x x
What ever thread you use, think it should shine :-)

Ivory Spring said...

What a great idea, Allie - you are amazing.

West Michigan Quilter said...

Great tutorial. Basting is not my favorite thing to do. You've made it easier. Thanks.

Mickie said...

Love your method! I'm strapped for space and think this is a great idea :D Thank ya!!!!!!!!!!!

Carrie P. said...

Great way to do a quilt.Thanks for the tip about pinning. I did not know that it would pucker if you closed them as you work along. I think I would quilt it in some pink thread. Not sure how to quilt it either. Maybe you could check out some of the old post on this blog to get some ideas.
http://freemotionquilting.blogspot.com/
thanks for stopping by my blog.

Dandelion Quilts said...

This is very similar to what I do! :)

Kelly@ Charming Chatter said...

What a great basting tutorial! And, that quilt is gorgeous - just gorgeos! I wish I had more quilting knowledge - but I'm still learning, too! Can't wait to see what you do with it - I know it will be gorgeous!

Sue said...

Love, love, love the quilt, Allie! It's gorgeous! Great tutorial, too. That's the way I basted quilted before my longarm. I love how you shown how one can manage in a small space, and it's practical. too! Quilting? Hmmmm. Lollipop swirls in the circles and meandering in the background?

Sue the typing impaired said...

The typos in my comment were a bonus gift, lol!

Valerie said...

You have so inspired me! Thanks for sharing this. Your way is a lot like Granny used to do except she did it on her bed and she only used 1 pin most of the time. Sometimes I have saw her use 3!!!! The truth. Remember?

Sew Useful Designs said...

Wow Allie, thanks so much for that fantastic tutorial! I wonder if an ironing board would be good for a smaller quilt - so that the weight of the overhanging fabric is sufficient... I might give that a try with my cot quilt! Your quilt is absolutely gorgeous, I love the turquoise blue... that may make a nice thread colour... or red perhaps. Stunning, Allie, it's going to be stunning!!! :-)
Hugs!!! Vikki xx

Mary said...

What a great idea, using the quilt's own weight to keep it pucker free. This is so much easier than taping the backing to the tile floor, trying to keep all the layers flat and together while crawling around on hands and knees trying to pin. Thanks for posting these tips :)

Kim D. said...

Great tutorial, I start from the middle also. Love those Jennifer Paganelli fabrics. I think quilting it in some kind of circles would be nice, but I'm sure whatever you decide will be gorgeous.

Mama Spark said...

Nice tutorial. I like how you don't need a gigantic space! I also love how this turned out!!

Liz said...

Love the table idea! I'm going to have to try it.

jan said...

I think one of the very first photos that I saw on your blog was a basted quilt and I remember thinking that it was very smooth and even! Now I see how you got it that way! I love the quilt and I really appreciate the 'how-to'!

Kim said...

awesome work spaces Allie!!!!

Pat said...

WOW....I'm passing this blog link along to a few others and might try it myself soon, too.

Sew Pretty Dresses said...

That's a lot like I baste too! I love your quilt! So so pretty! I would maybe work with the circles and quilt circles inside and outside your pieced circles. Does that even make sense? I have heard it called echo stitching.

Shelley said...

What great ideas you have!! I don't have much room to put my quilts together so, I am going to try this.

My grandma always used flannel sheets for batting and I use her quilts on my bed. Works great!!

Tammy said...

I too have begun to use this method of layering my quilts. It's much kinder on the back then bending over the floor, panicking if the cats think mommy made them a new bed, shock if one of the pups jumps the gate and a good xanax to get my heart rate down! Plus, I don't worry about walking away for a moment and coming back to it. Fabulous to share this.

your quilt is dynamic!!
Hugs
Tammy

Tonya said...

Number one--I didn't know pins puckered, I will never close another until the whole thing is done. Thinking back...I think they do pucker it. Just never thought not to close them. DUH!

Number two--I never thought I could baste without using tape. Of all the methods offered today I think this is the one to use!

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