Thread Basting My Quilt Sandwich for FMQ

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by , 03-29-2013 at 05:08 AM (855 Views)
Quote Originally Posted by azwendyg View Post
I just finished basting a quilt sandwich to get it ready for freemotion quilting on my domestic machine.

Althouth I often spray-baste on smaller quilts, when they are bigger and harder to handle, I prefer to thread-baste so everything stays in place better, and I don't have to worry about the glue coming loose and the sandwich shifting while I'm quilting.

There are a couple of key factors that I LOVE about this method of basting:

1. There is NO crawling around on the my knees involved,
2. The flannel covered boards used to roll the quilt top and back onto, make even a very large quilt quite managable without any help from anyone else. (This method of rolling onto the boards will work well for spray-basting also.)

I took a series of pictures to share with you this morning as I went through the basting process:

I have 2 - 24" x 48" adjustable height folding tables I got at Sams Club for laying out quilts for basting. The first step is to lay the backing fabric face-down on the table and then position the quilt top on it, face-up. I use a little masking tape to hold the backing in place while I get the quilt top positioned. In this picture I am lining up the center of the quilt top with the center seam of the quilt backing.
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This picture shows the top and the backing in place.
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I begin by centering the first board about 4" down from the top of the quilt, then I bring the quilt top over the top of the board and smooth it in place.
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I use the second board to roll the backing, following along down the length of the quilt as I go.
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I have 2 MDF boards I have covered with flannel that I use to roll the quilt top and backing onto. As you see here, I have slid the quilt top and backing, together as a unit, so that the edge of the quilt is now at the edge of the table.
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When I get to the edge of the table, I slide the quilt farther up onto the table and continue the rolling process.
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This picture shows the first sections of the quilt top and backing rolled onto the boards
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After the top and backing are rolled onto the boards, it's time to put the batting in between....This step is a little tricky. Since you don't want the position of the backing or top to shift, you have to kind of lay the batting on the backing and re-roll the top over it.
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Then smooth the batting and top over the backing.
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In this picture, you can see the roll of backing at the back of the table, the batting in between, and the quilt top is rolled on the board that the bulk of the batting is on top of at the moment.
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Here is the quilt sandwich ready to start basting. Both the boards with the quilt top and backing are at the back of my table, and the batting is sandwiched between and hanging loosely over the back of the table.
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After all that work, it's time to break for some coffee and a lime cheesecake bar!
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I use #12 pearl cotton and a heringbone stitch to baste. (Sharon Schamber has a video on youtube of exactly how to do this basting stitch; do a seach on "Sharon Schamber basting a quilt" to find it).
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Here is the first section of basting.
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When the first section is basted, slide the boards to the front edge of the table, allowing the basted part to hang over the front edge. Then unroll another section of backing, arrange the batting on top, then unroll the quilt top over it. Then baste that section.
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Continue unrolling and basting in sections until you reach the other edge of your quilt sandwich! This large sofa throw size quilt took me a couplte of hours while I was watching a movie early this morning.
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Here's a shot of the back of the quilt. I think you can see the basting stitches here.
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And here it is, ready to FMQ.
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  1. Pawiltfong's Avatar
    Thanks for the pics. I am in process of using this method for 2 quilts. Like covering the boards with flannel as I have not done that. Why the pearl cotton thread?
  2. cma's Avatar
    Very interesting method. Seems much easier than trying to do in sections! Might have to try this. Thanks for the tutorial.

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