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Thread: Basting Guns ... what do you think?

  1. #1
    Junior Member GiddyUpGo's Avatar
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    Basting Guns ... what do you think?

    After quilting my first quilt I had a lot of problems with tucks in the back, which I learned was due to me not taping down the backing when making the quilt sandwich. So this time I taped it down pretty tightly to my dining room table and basted it with safety pins, and I'm still getting tucks in the back. Dang.

    I think maybe I'm just not using enough safety pins, which is because I haaaate basting. So I thought maybe I'd look into basting guns but the one they have on JoAnn has really mixed reviews; most of the poor reviews have to do with its quality. At 50 bucks it's kind of a lot of money to spend on something that will break before the end of one quilt.

    So has anyone out there used a basting gun and had good results, and if so what brand do you use?

    OR maybe someone has a better idea ... I've never tried spray basting, maybe that would solve my problem? Do you need to combine spray basting with pinning?

    Thanks!!

  2. #2
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    I used to use a basting gun. There are different qualities. If you go this route, be sure to get one with a fine needle and small plastic thingies. I can check mine and post the brand if you need it (I think it's Avery fine needle).

    It is much easier to spray baste than to use a basting gun, though, plus I get better results with spray basting. I would encourage you to focus on spray basting. If you don't have access to a large table, it's pretty easy and inexpensive to purchase a couple of plastic sawhorses and a piece of plywood at a big box hardware store. This can be set up in the driveway and easily taken down and stored in a garage when not in use. I would also recommend buying 4 of the largest, best clamps at the hardware store (I paid about $5 each for 3-inch plastic clamps with an easy on-off trigger) to use with this setup. I also recommend paying a few bucks so you can use 505 instead of other brands of spray basters. 505 has never let me down. On a very large quilt I may place safety pins around the border to ensure the layers don't separate there; otherwise I don't bother.

    Another thing you can do to prevent tucks, no matter what basting method you use, is to heavily starch the backing fabric before layering. I use a 1:1 solution of Sta-Flo liquid laundry starch and water, "paint" this onto the yardage using a large wall painting brush until fabric is saturated, toss in dryer, then iron with steam. I also spray starch the top before layering. Starch stabilizes the fabrics so they are much less likely to stretch and distort while machine quilting.

  3. #3
    Power Poster Sadiemae's Avatar
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    My late DM had one and she threw it in the trash.
    Sadiemae

  4. #4
    Super Member quiltsRfun's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sadiemae View Post
    My late DM had one and she threw it in the trash.
    That's where mine ended up but because it fell apart. I found it difficult to use and didn't replace it. This was before I discovered spray basting. Boy has that simplified my life as far as quilting goes. Quicker and easier than safety pins and I don't get any tucks in the backing. Just finished quilting three tops and it went so smoothly with the spary basting. Nice and smooth, no tucks. Can't say that about the one that I used the basting gun.

  5. #5
    Super Member luvTooQuilt's Avatar
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    I have one.. I use it for taging garage sale price tags now..

  6. #6
    Junior Member GiddyUpGo's Avatar
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    OK I am officially unsold. I'm buying some 505 at the craft store tomorrow!

  7. #7
    Super Member Crqltr's Avatar
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    I had one...used it quite a bit for awhile. It jambed up all the time and left holes in the cotton. I just pin now...a lot of pins.

  8. #8
    Power Poster QuiltE's Avatar
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    I have one, but use it for other reasons, never quilting.

    Spray Basting is the way to go ... and remember, you'll still need to tape down that backing down!
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Sew many ideas ... just sew little time!!
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

  9. #9
    Super Member thepolyparrot's Avatar
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    The first one I bought fell apart. The second one, an Avery brand with a fine needle and tags is a GEM! I've used it for many quilts and haven't even had to change the needle yet.

    I don't punch straight down and fire, though. I go into the top at an almost-level oblique angle, pick up the backing fabric and come back up and then fire, so that both ends of the tag are on the top of the quilt. I use a Kwik Klip tool to brace the needle tip and push the fabric as far onto the needle as it will go.

    It's my favorite method of basting. I will never use spray basting again. If there is any poly in your batting or fabric, the propellants can react with the poly and will remain sticky enough to gum up your needle. Gummed needles = skipped stitches. I had one vintage scrappy that I ended up throwing away because I could NOT stitch more than an inch before I needed to clean the needle. I have used 505, June Tailor, Sullivans and EmbTech sprays and since I didn't keep track of which ones have caused trouble, but ALL of them say not to use them on polyester, so they have probably all got the same problem. Lots of people use them and love them, but they've been frustrating enough for me that I'm willing to use ANY other method to baste than sprays.


    When I run low on the fine tags for the Avery gun, I will buy the MicroStitch brand - people who have tried both apparently find the MicroStitch even nicer to work with.

  10. #10
    Super Member QandE2010's Avatar
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    Yes, if you starch backing, iron wrinkles out, tape it down & LIGHTLY spray baste each layer with 505, and press each layer gently with your hands to be sure it lays flat, I think you'll be happy with the result. I too, have the gun & it makes holes in the fabric, so I don't use it for quilting. Good luck.
    Alma
    Nami to 6

  11. #11
    Super Member Candace's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Crqltr View Post
    I had one...used it quite a bit for awhile. It jambed up all the time and left holes in the cotton. I just pin now...a lot of pins.
    My experience exactly!

  12. #12
    Super Member AliKat's Avatar
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    I have the QuiltTak gun [ www.quiltak.com ] that I use to put my end of the quilt top on my HQ leader. I can get closer with the machine than with needles or with red snappers. [Definitely do NOT get the Dritz brand!]

    The QuiltTak doesn't leave a big hole and has different sizes of tacks available.

    I wouldn't use it for basting a quilt as there might be more give than I want.

    For smaller project I either machine baste ... or if they are really small hand baste my projects. I have used spray basting but with the HQ don't use it anymore.

    ali
    Have fun quilting! If it isn't fun, you will miss a lot.
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  13. #13
    Super Member thepolyparrot's Avatar
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    The first one I bought fell apart. The second one, an Avery brand with a fine needle and tags is a GEM! I've used it for many quilts and haven't even had to change the needle yet.

    I don't punch straight down and fire, though. I go into the top at an almost-level oblique angle, pick up the backing fabric and come back up and then fire, so that both ends of the tag are on the top of the quilt. I use a Kwik Klip tool to brace the needle tip and push the fabric as far onto the needle as it will go.

    It's my favorite method of basting. I will never use spray basting again. If there is any poly in your batting or fabric, the propellants can react with the poly and will remain sticky enough to gum up your needle. Gummed needles = skipped stitches. I had one vintage scrappy that I ended up throwing away because I could NOT stitch more than an inch before I needed to clean the needle. I have used 505, June Tailor, Sullivans and EmbTech sprays and since I didn't keep track of which ones have caused trouble, but ALL of them say not to use them on polyester, so they have probably all got the same problem. Lots of people use them and love them, but they've been frustrating enough for me that I'm willing to use ANY other method to baste than sprays.


    When I run low on the fine tags for the Avery gun, I will buy the MicroStitch brand - people who have tried both apparently find the MicroStitch even nicer to work with.

  14. #14
    Super Member thepolyparrot's Avatar
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    I found the Micro-Stitch, replacement needle and packages of black and white tags at Overstock.com:
    http://www.overstock.com/search?keyw...rchType=Header I went ahead and ordered them to try on my next quilt.

    But, really, the Avery with fine needle works very well and you would be happy with it - just be sure to use to use the Kwik Klip or a similar tool to help you load the needle.

    Saves your fingers and it goes unbelievably fast!

  15. #15
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    my mom bought me one ages ago for a gift. I tried it and really wanted to like it. But, I didn't. In fact, I hated it. You can't easily pull them out so if you don't plan perfectly where you will quilt, you have to stop, cut, and resume. Yuck, at least IMHO

  16. #16
    Super Member thepolyparrot's Avatar
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    I found the tag cutter that makes removing the tacks instant - the ONLY place I could find them was on eBay, though. Good seller, so I didn't mind at all: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Collins-Tack...-/310303294318

    It looks like she has an online store, now: http://www.shorelinehandwerks.com/se...-B-Gone/Detail

  17. #17
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    I got mine about 15 years ago and it was junk. Put holes in the fabric too. They may be better now.
    I don't want to brag but I can still fit into the earrings I wore in high school.

  18. #18
    Super Member Buckeye Rose's Avatar
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    its basting spray for me....no tucks ever

  19. #19
    Junior Member SewSydney's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thepolyparrot View Post
    I found the tag cutter that makes removing the tacks instant - the ONLY place I could find them was on eBay, though. Good seller, so I didn't mind at all: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Collins-Tack...-/310303294318

    It looks like she has an online store, now: http://www.shorelinehandwerks.com/se...-B-Gone/Detail
    Do you remove the tags as you quilt? I like the method but ended up with tags all through my machine when I last used the gun. I like the look of that little tag remover too, not sure if I can get it here in Australia but will look for it at the Sydney Craft Fair on Thursday. Thank you for the link and hints on how you get the best results.

  20. #20
    Super Member deedum's Avatar
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    I have one, sometimes I use one and pin some too. I don't like the mess of basting. I would prefer to pin.

  21. #21
    Super Member auntpiggylpn's Avatar
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    I don't have a basting gun due to the bad reviews here on the QB. One suggestion I can make to you is that even though you hate pinning, it really is essential in keeping your backing wrinkle free. (along with the taping). The best advice I ever got about pin basting was to place a pin one hand width apart. This has kept me wrinkle free (and happy!) especially because I don't tape my backing down.
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  22. #22
    Senior Member vickimc's Avatar
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    Are you basting close enought together. each pin or basting gun tap should be 3 to 4 inches apart. good luck I did the basting gun thing ones. got blisters on my thumb from pulling the trigger. then when taking out the little tabs, kept finding them in the capret for years..... But what ever works best for you. good luck
    Vicki Mc in SC
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  23. #23
    Super Member thepolyparrot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SewSydney View Post
    Do you remove the tags as you quilt? I like the method but ended up with tags all through my machine when I last used the gun. I like the look of that little tag remover too, not sure if I can get it here in Australia but will look for it at the Sydney Craft Fair on Thursday. Thank you for the link and hints on how you get the best results.
    Yes, I do remove the tags from about a square foot at a time. The tack remover makes it easy - one half stays in the remover tool and the other half, you pick up with the tool and drop it into your thread bag.

    Glad the hints were helpful. I think the key is in using the tacks as "stitches," with both ends being on the top side. The way it was initially used, punching straight down and firing, lets the fabric "play" too much on the tack and I think it can enlarge the holes. With the "stitch" method and very short tacks, the layers are held firmly together.

  24. #24
    Senior Member QuiltingCrazie's Avatar
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    To avoid tucks here's how I was taught and I've never had a problem with tucks. Don't know if the same apply with spray basting.
    Lay your back on the table get it smoothed out and tape it down then your batting smooth it out. This is the part that is different but I swear it works lay your quilt top on top now leave it for 5 mins, let the quilt top rest and settle down on top of the batting. Now smooth it out. This is also different then how others do it, I always make sure I have one other person around when I'm sandwiching, my kids have become pros. You stand on one end and someone on the other pull the tape up from the table but not off the quilt back and turn the whole sandwich over and smooth out. Turn it back reattach tape to the table, smooth and baste with pins or thread.
    I do not love to sandwich but I do this every time and all my backs are tuck and pucker free. I also make sure my backing and batting are 3-4inchs extra all around. It's alot and I'll be doing it this week but it gets it done. Hope that helps have fun!!
    *Rachel*

  25. #25
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    Me too!!! Threw the gun away, left holes in my tops.
    Quote Originally Posted by Crqltr View Post
    I had one...used it quite a bit for awhile. It jambed up all the time and left holes in the cotton. I just pin now...a lot of pins.

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