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Thread: Thread Basting My Quilt Sandwich for FMQ

  1. #1
    Super Member azwendyg's Avatar
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    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,
    AND
    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.
    Name:  Attachment-161371.jpe
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  2. #2
    Super Member sewwhat85's Avatar
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    beautiful quilt

  3. #3
    bj
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    Super Member bj's Avatar
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    Wow! Thanks for sharing. Your quilt is beautiful and your directions are so precise and easy to follow. :-D

  4. #4
    Super Member Iamquilter's Avatar
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    Your quilt is gorgeous. I put all my quilts on four boards and no need to pin, baste. I have a room in my basement that has nothing else in it except my boards and stands for quilting.

  5. #5
    Super Member azwendyg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Iamquilter
    Your quilt is gorgeous. I put all my quilts on four boards and no need to pin, baste. I have a room in my basement that has nothing else in it except my boards and stands for quilting.
    I assume you're hand-quilting with them on a "frame"? That's how my mom used to do it too. I'm totally in awe of those of you who are such talented hand quilters!!!

    I free-motion quilt mine on my domestic machine, so I have to baste first.

  6. #6
    Super Member Vanuatu Jill's Avatar
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    Since basting is my absolute LEAST favorite part of quilting (I go as far as to say I HATE HATE HATE it so much, sometimes I wonder why I even put myself thru it!), I would love to give it a try. I thread baste because I mostly hand-quilt, and just finished a queen size-shifting on a long table because I can't get on the floor any more - and have a few puckers-and it took me about 8 solid hours!! I gave up when I got to the 10" border and started pin basting-and have puckers in the border! I hope to adjust it after quilting all the center by the time I get to the borders.

  7. #7
    Super Member BizzieLizzie's Avatar
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    Thank you for your step by step guidance. The pictures help a lot. Love the idea. I usually end up basting my quilts on my hands and knees. I love your idea but I think that I don't have enough space to accommodate. Hope to try it out though. Thank you for taking the trouble to post the pictures and to explain the process.

    Love your quilt!

  8. #8
    Super Member azwendyg's Avatar
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    I don't have enough space to do this in my sewing room either. I've got two folding tables just for this purpose and I'm set up right in the middle of the living room... When I'm done basting I lower the tables to regular height and move them to my dining room to use around my sewing machine when I freemotion to support the quilt. :) Then when I'm done with that, I fold them up and put them back in the closet until I need them again.

  9. #9
    Junior Member Mary L Booth's Avatar
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    I use this method, except I use my pins.

  10. #10
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    Any particular reason that you use mdf boards rather than wood boards? Is each board 8 plus feet long? Thanks for the great pictures and instructions.

  11. #11
    Power Poster ckcowl's Avatar
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    great tute!
    i agree with thread basting- that is how i always do it too. i hate dealing with all those safety pins; it all just holds together better when thread basted. i 've never had luck with the sprays, wind up still thread basting so consider it a waste of time and money...but that's just me

  12. #12
    Super Member azwendyg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by auntlucy
    Any particular reason that you use mdf boards rather than wood boards? Is each board 8 plus feet long? Thanks for the great pictures and instructions.
    I bought the mdf boards because they were much less expensive and much straighter than solid wood that I could find, and won't warp over time. In order for me to keep everything straight when rolling the top and backing on the boards, I figured I'd need perfectly straight boards to start with. It seems like 4" - 6" strips of 5/8 or 3/4 plywood would also work well if you happen to have that on hand. The flannel covering is stapled on and works a lot like a design board in that the fabric kind of naturally adheres to it when you smooth it onto the flannel; no need for any pins to hold your quilt fabric on the boards.

    The boards I used here are 8 feet long, but I have a shorter, 5 foot, set that fits on my cutting table for smaller quilts. It works best to use boards that are just a little longer than your quilt is wide.

    Hope this answers your questions...

  13. #13
    Super Member quilt3311's Avatar
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    thanks for sharing

  14. #14
    Super Member quilter1's Avatar
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    I have used this method with great success. I have not put the flannel on the boards though- what a great idea. It will stop the quilt from sliding off the board. I watched the Sharon Schamber tute on UTube and now baste my quilts this way, for hand quilting or machine quilting. I got 2 sets of MDF in different lengths, at Home Depot and store them in a closet. I just use regular cotton thread for basting. This method is easy and saves crawling all over the floor.

  15. #15
    Super Member yetta's Avatar
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    thank you forthe instructions,your quilt is beautiful

  16. #16
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    Your quilt is beautiful, and thanks for the great instructions!

  17. #17
    Power Poster sandpat's Avatar
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    Great tute with so many helpful pics! thanks so much for sharing your way. I'll have to try it!

  18. #18
    Super Member anicra's Avatar
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    Beautiful quilt. Your tute is great. This is the only method I use since I saw the Sharon Schambers video on youtube.com about 2 years ago. I have severe knee problems and being able to sit at the table and baste is just wonderful.

    Basting my convergence quilt
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  19. #19
    Super Member duckydo's Avatar
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    I am brain dead this morning, what is MDF covered with flannel? Love the tute that is a great idea

  20. #20
    Super Member azwendyg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by duckydo
    I am brain dead this morning, what is MDF covered with flannel? Love the tute that is a great idea
    That is the kind of board I went to Home Depot to get, then wrapped with flannel and stapled it on to use to roll the quilt top and backing pieces on. (MDF is Medium Density Fiberboard)

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    I am not used to al th initials used by the quilters- what is mdf board? plus a few others I have seen. Maybe a lst of initials an d meaning would be helpful. I have basted on a table but it is time consuming. Nana-M

  22. #22
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    Great tute. Gorgeous quilt. Very easy to follow. Illsa

  23. #23
    Super Member SewExtremeSeams's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bj
    Wow! Thanks for sharing. Your quilt is beautiful and your directions are so precise and easy to follow. :-D
    I so agree with bj. Thank you. I have not sandwiched a large quilt yet.

    Sometime would you do a tutorial on FMQ with your home machine? Your directions for basting are so precise and helpful. :thumbup:

  24. #24

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    Thank you for the information, I am 70 years old and long past the time where I could kneel on the floor. Plus room area is a problem, but your pictures really show how a large quit could be done in a rather small space. I like the idea of thread basting you just have to cut and pull threads instead of unpining all those pins. Thank you againl

  25. #25
    Super Member BettyGee's Avatar
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    Not only is your quilt beautiful, but your method of basting is close to my heart. I'm slowly converting to spray basting, but can see your point on such a large project. Love your setup. Since I'm just up the "hill" from you (in Colorado) if you're in the neighborhood could you stop by and help me set up?

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