Today I’m going to show you how to baste a quilt using the spray basting method. This beginner friendly tutorial has step-by-step instructions on how to baste a quilt on your bed with adhesive spray but any flat surface will work. Let me help you make a quilt sandwich so you can get to quilting it up on your home sewing machine. This post will cover how to do the following: spray baste, different options for work surfaces, cotton batting, materials needed, tips and tricks. Join me as I demonstrate spray basting a full size quilt on my bed with written and picture instructions so you can copy this at home for your quilt.
In this blog post, we will cover how to baste a quilt and ensure that the layers of your quilt stay together when machine quilting. Basting is a step in the quilting process, after the quilt top is completed and backing fabric is ready to be sewn together. Basting is when you layer the quilt top, quilt batting and quilt backing and adhere them together.
The quilt that I’m using is my new Log Cabin On-Point full size quilt with free pattern. For those of you following along, here’s the basting tutorial. I will be doing 2 more tutorials with this Log Cabin quilt: how to quilt on a sewing machine and how to bind on machine quilting and binding. Stay tuned!
The most common basting methods are the pin basting method using basting pins and spray basting method using spray adhesive. Today we will focus on how to baste a quilt using the spray basting method. I’ll break down the basting process into easy-to-follow steps, and cover all things quilt basting so you can get start quilting. For more info on basting, check out How to Sandwich a Quilt – Step by Step Tutorial.
I’m not going to lie, I have a love-hate relationship with basting large quilts due to my small house and sewing space. Not everyone has a beautiful sewing room with a large craft table that can fit a house on it. Some may not even have a kitchen table that will work. That leaves the floor or the bed as a work space. No problem, let me show you how to get it done on a bed. Mine is a king size bed.
My favorite method is spray basting using my bed, this is THE most common method for new quilters. Ditch the heavy curved pins, opt for adhesive spray instead. Make sure the spray is for fabrics.
There are lots of basting sprays on the market, I like 505 Basting Spray and it’s really good. You spray it in sections onto the batting and then press the fabric down to adhere to it. You spray the front and back of the quilt following the same process. Starting in the middle of the quilt top and working your way out to the side, then flipping to do the back of your quilt until you’ve done the whole quilt.
Let the spray basted quilt hang over an ironing board overnight to let the spray dry. When you go to quilt it the next day, the spray will be dry and won’t be sticky or leave as much residue on your sewing needle.
I’ll show you step by step how to spray baste down below. You can buy the adhesive spray recommended in this post on Amazon, click here.
Quilt basting needs room for you to spread out your quilt. If you have a small sewing space, you need to get creative when it comes time to baste your quilt. Finding a work surface that is flat and large enough to lay out your large quilt can be challenging. Look for a smooth surface around your house: big tables, kitchen table, dining room table, bed or floor are the best options.
I’ve even taken my own quilts (king size quilt) to my work office and basted it on a big hallway floor. I’ve even thought about finding a private room in a library to use for basting my quilt but didn’t find anything that would work. You could also contact your local quilt shop. Quilt shops typically have in-person sewing classes with large tables. Talk to someone about using their space to baste your quilt, they may charge you a small fee but it could be worth it. Get creative is you have small areas in your house and can’t find a space to baste queen size quilts or larger quilts.
LAYERS OF THE QUILT
1. Quilt top (baby quilts, small quilts, twin-sized quilt or larger quilts)
2. Quilt batting
3. Quilt backing
How to baste a quilt – INSTRUCTIONS
PREPARE BACKING FABRIC
You want to have your quilt top and your backing done before basting your quilt. The easiest backing for large quilts is 108″ wide backing. You can use wide backing to cover the entire quilt if it’s a twin, full, queen and most king size quilts.
If you are using 44 or 54″ wide fabrics, you will need to buy double the length of your quilt and sew the two pieces together, trim away the excess fabric and throw into your scrap fabric stash.
The backing should be wider than the quilt top. The reason for this is when you quilt on your machine, the stitches will pull the fabric and things can shift slightly. It’s also easier to baste your quilt when you have more backing fabric than your quilt top. Trying to sandwich those layers when they are the same size doesn’t work. You will have outside areas of your quilt that don’t have enough batting or backing. Always have 4″ of extra batting and backing to cover all four sides or your quilt project.
Want an interesting backing for your quilt, check out my post on simple pieced quilt backings here.
Give your quilt top and backing fabric a good press with a hot iron to get everything nice and flat. Press these really good before you lay these out to make your quilt sandwich.
GET WRINKLES OUT OF YOUR COTTON BATTING
Take your cotton batting out of the packaging and place in your dryer with a damp washcloth for 5 minutes on high to remove wrinkles in the batting. Cotton batting that comes in a wrapped plastic package gets stubborn wrinkles and those wrinkles will show up in your final quilt if you don’t treat them first. If you quilt top has a lot of white fabric, for best results use white batting. Most batting is beige but look for the white batting instead.
TRIM BACKING FABRIC
Take your quilt top and lay it over the bed right side down. Now take your backing fabric and lay it over the quilt top. Grab your scissors and trim the backing fabric while still laying over the quilt top and make sure you add your 4″ on all sides before you start cutting. You want your backing fabric to be larger than your quilt top. Use your trimmed excess fabric for a scrappy project.
TRIM COTTON BATTING
Take everything off the bed. Now lay the trimmed backing fabric right side down over the bed again. The wrong side of fabric should be facing up. Now lay the cotton batting over the backing fabric. Trim the cotton batting the same size as the backing fabric. Save the extra batting for another project.
BASTING QUILT TOP TO COTTON BATTING
Take the quilt top and place wrong side onto the cotton batting to form a quilt sandwich. Make sure that your quilt top is covering the backing fabric, you should have 4″ of backing fabric and cotton batting that is not covered by the quilt top. Make adjustments to the quilt top placement as needed. This is your quilt sandwich. Now let’s baste the sandwich.
I’m using the spray basting method to baste the quilt. Go back to the bed with the quilt top laying wrong side down on cotton batting, laying on the wrong side of backing fabric. Work the basting with half of the quilt top at a time. We are going to spray the quilt top to the cotton batting first.
Standing on the side of the bed, roll the quilt top to the center of the bed. Spray in 3′ sections going from center of bed towards you. Spray, then roll out to the edge of the sprayed area and then press, then repeat until you are done with that side. Go to the other side of the bed and repeat the process.
BASTING BACKING FABRIC TO COTTON BATTING
Flip the quilt so quilt top is facing downwards and fabric backing is facing upwards.
Repeat the steps above until done.
That’s all there is to it. You’ve successfully basted your quilt, setting the stage of bringing your creation to life with beautiful quilting designs. My next posts will continue with this log cabin on point quilt and cover how to quilt it on a sewing machine, and finally a post on how to sew binding on a quilt. If you can’t wait that long, check out these posts to get that quilt finished. How to machine quilt with a walking foot for beginners, How to sew a quilt together – quilting for beginners, How wide to cut quilt binding and make easy strips, How to join quilt binding ends, beginner series, and How to bind a quilt – easy single fold binding.
How to Baste a Quilt – BEGINNER QUILTING SUPPLIES
Here are some quilting supplies that are great for quilters that I use and highly recommend. For more info, check out Quilting Supplies for Beginners (Best Tools To Start).
- Rotary Mat Cutting Mat (Self-Healing Mat)
- 28 mm Rotary Cutter
- 28 mm Rotary Cutter Replacement Blades
- 45 mm Rotary Cutter with Sharp Blade (start with this one)
- 45 mm Rotary Cutter Replacement Blades (start with this one)
- 60 mm Rotary Cutter
- 60 mm Rotary Cutter Replacement Blades
- 5″ x 20″ Quilting Straight Line Ruler
- 4.5″ Quilting Square Ruler for half square triangles
- 12.5″ Quilting Square Ruler for quilt blocks
- Cut Resistant Gloves
- Straight Pins
- Sewing Thread
- Universal Sewing Needles
- Cotton Batting
- Sewing Machine Beginner (see my about me page for more info on sewing machines for beginners to the one I use today)
This post contains affiliate links, which means I make a small commission at no extra cost to you. See my full disclosure here.
SEW NIKKI RESOURCES – HOW TO’S AND FREE PATTERNS
- Learn How To Quilt: Beginner Quilting Guide
- How to Make Pinwheel Quilt Block (Free Throw Quilt Pattern)
- Printable Pinwheel Quilt Pattern – Jolly Table Topper Tutorial
- Log Cabin Quilt Pattern – On Point Scrappy Blocks
- 5 Yard Quilt Pattern Free – Chevron Throw Quilt
- How to Make Half Square Triangles – Easy Formula Chart
- Best Fabric for Quilting: How to Shop Like a Pro!
- Pieced Quilt Backing Ideas – Super Simple Backs
- Quilt As You Go Patterns: Table Runner Free Pattern
- Charm Square On Point Quilt Pattern & Tutorial
- Log Cabin Table Runner (Free Pattern)
- Table Runner DIY – Simple Quilted Table Runner
- How to Make Heat Proof Recycled Denim Potholders
- Chevron Quilt Pattern – Make Easy Placemats Two Ways
- How to Bind a Quilt – Easy Single Fold Binding
- The ABC Baby Quilt Sewing Pattern (Free, Easy)
- How to Sandwich A Quilt Step-By-Step Tutorial
- How Wide To Cut Quilt Binding & Make Easy Strips
- Easy Quilt Patterns – How To Make Charm Square Quilt
- How to Machine Quilt With Walking Foot For Beginners
- How to Sew a Quilt Together – Quilting for Beginners
- Mini Quilt Patterns, TQC “July” Postcard Pattern Review
- Quilting Supplies for Beginners (Best Tools to Start)
- How To Cut Fabric For Quilting (Easy and Accurate)
- How to Make Stunningly Beautiful Log Cabin Quilt Block
- Quilting Tips For Beginners (10 Essential Tips)
- How To Make Quilt With Sashing and Cornerstones
- Quilt Blocks, The Nonsense Table Topper Review
- How To Be Successful and Spend Less – New Quilter Tips
- Quilt Patterns, “Positive Effect” Pattern Review
- How To Join Quilt Binding Ends, Beginner Series
ABOUT SEW NIKKI
If this is your first time stopping by, welcome! My name is Nikki. I’m a weekend quilter, have a super small sewing space and taught myself how to sew and quilt by watching YouTube videos! My blog has How-To’s, Free Patterns and Pattern Reviews. Read more about me here.
I hope all you new quilters found this tutorial helpful and gives you the confidence to baste your quilt using the resources available to you. I’ve made a lot of quilts and only use spray basting, it’s the fastest and doesn’t make the quilt top drag when you are machine quilting. Those curved safety pins get real heavy for large quilts and you can’t remove them until you have quilted your entire quilt one way over the entire length or width of your project. They get caught in the sewing plate, on your extension table and leave holes in your quilt. You also need to place them every 5″ apart and need to make sure you have enough pins for king size quilts, that’s a lot of pins.
Want to learn how to crochet? Then check out this post, How to Learn How to Crochet – Guide for Beginners.
Sew, quilt, crochet and repeat!