Basting for Machine Quilting

Now that we have chosen our batting and backing fabric, we are ready to baste them together with the quilt top. There are a variety of methods to choose from, including thread basting, pin basting, and spray basting. When it comes to machine quilting, my preference is pin basting.

Lay the backing fabric right side down and secure all the edges with masking tape. Place the first piece of tape along the middle of one edge, then gently stretch the fabric and tape the opposite edge. Repeat for the other sides.

Continue taping, working out from the centers and carefully stretching the fabric as you go.

Layer the batting over the backing fabric and gently pat and smooth it into place.

Center the quilt top over the backing and batting.

Now the layers are ready for basting. For machine quilting, I baste with safety pins.  There are pins specifically designed for this task, with a bend to help go through all the layers, but I like to use these small brass pins.

Starting in the center of the quilt, insert a pin through all three layers. Working out from the middle and smoothing the quilt top as you go, continue adding pins along the vertical and horizontal axes.

Continue pinning the three layers together until the entire quilt is secured. One rule of thumb is that you should not be able to place your fist on the quilt without touching a pin. My advice is this: don’t scrimp on the basting. Secure basting is essential for achieving good machine quilting.

Large quilts can be basted in sections. Find out more here.

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