Saturday Series: Tutorial Roundup on Basting


Basting has always been a bit of a challenge for me.  I started out with thread basting my quilts as I was too cheap to buy enough safety pins to really secure a quilt sandwich together. Thread basting on the floor seemed excessively hard on my knees and back after a few quilts, so I sprung for the curved safety pins and a roll of masking tape. (Rita of Red Pepper Quilts explains it beautifully here...)

 From looking at the internet I also learned what this odd looking Kwik Klip tool was (Holly DeGroot of Bijou Lovely uses it in this post...). I had inherited a Kwik Klip from someone and always assumed some part of it was broken off.

Pin basting with safety pins was much faster but it still hurt my back and involved a great deal of crawling about on the floor. Plus, no matter how much I taped and pinned, I still got small puckers or had to redo whole sections.

At the first Minneapolis Modern Quilt Guild retreat, Colby showed me how to spray baste, using a temporary fabric adhesive. (Ashley of Film in the Fridge shows a similar method here...) I bought a can of Odif's 505 Spray & Fix and tried it out on two quilts. I was pretty impressed with how grippy it was, and how fast the quilts went together, but had some concerns about inhaling the fumes even though it is 'non-toxic'. Since I am pregnant I thought I'd better play it safe and check up. I looked at their MSDS sheet and tried twice to write and email the company asking if their products were safe to use when pregnant. Since I have gotten no responses I put the 505 on the shelf for later use.

At the same retreat Annik had mentioned a product called Pinmoors that were used for basting and seemed much easier than safety pins and much more environmentally friendly than a spray. Instead of safety pins you use straight pins or flower head pins and stick one of these plastic nubs on the pointy end. It is much faster than safety pins and a lot easier on the fingers and wrists. As I mentioned before I am too cheap to buy anything, so I actually cut up some sheet foam to make a temporary facsimile. (If I stick with this method I will eventually purchase the real deal as I think they would last longer...)

This week I set out to baste the quilt I am making for the baby and as I started clearing the floor in my sewing room, I realized I am a bit too pregnant to  do any kind of basting on the floor. A smidge of research on the web and I found this great tutorial by Blair of Wisecraft on table basting. A combination of clamps, clothespins, and tape along with my homemade pin buddies and I had a pretty well secured quilt ready to go to the machine, in less than an hour. Table basting seems like a good way to go for quilts 72" or less. I will definitely be doing this method again! 

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