Sunday, January 30, 2011

Pin Baste a Quilt Tutorial

If you need to know
 how to baste a quilt for machine quilting,
 this post is for you.
Follow these simple steps and save
your aching back and knees.

First, fold your backing, batting, and quilt top.
At the fold of each layer place a pin.

Drape the backing over a table, placing the pin at the
center of the table. Center the fabric over the table.
On the sides, make sure fabric is an even
distance from the floor.

Clamp the fabric tight at each corner of the table,
being careful to smooth out all wrinkles.

Because of the width of my table, I used a set of clamps
from my husband's workshop. These work great for
any width table and are easily adjustable by squeezing
the handle and sliding it along the metal tracking bar.

Carefully drape the batting over the table and
smooth all wrinkles. Reposition the clamps on
top of the batting being careful to keep both layers tight.
 (In the photo, one corner has the clamp
repositioned and the other corner does not.)

Check to make sure the pins are lined up on all sides.
 Depending on the length of your project and table,
 the fabric may puddle onto the floor. 

Drape the quilt top over the table, and follow the
same procedure described above.

Begin the pinning process being sure that all layers are
tightly secured by the clamps.

This is a good time to trim all stray threads.
 It will end up
saving you time as you machine quilt.

Place pins on the entire surface area of the table.
If you are new to quilting, a good rule of thumb is to
place pins about a hands width apart.

Depending on the size of your quilt, you may need to
reposition the entire project. Once all the fabric on the
table top  has been pinned, simply readjust the quilt on
 the table top and reposition clamps making sure
all layers are tightly held.
 Repeat until entire quilt is basted with pins.

Here is the final product. All layers appear to be fairly even
except for the batting that is overhanging on the right side.
Apparently the photographer was paying too much attention
to taking photos, which affected quality control.
If you try this method to baste your
 next quilting project,
I'd love to hear from you!

Please note that due to an increasing amount of spam, comments have been disallowed on this post. Thanks for all your kind comments.

May you always Sew in Peace!


  1. What a great idea to place pins in the folds of the quilt top and backing to help line them up... I had such a problem with positioning the fabrics and you may be sure I'll be using your method from now on! Thanks!

  2. Great tutorial. Thanks for sharing. Very pretty quilts - too!

  3. Thanks for your clamps! I use book binder clamps, but these look like they work very well! Beautiful quilts!

  4. Marking the folds with pins is so simple and smart! Great tip! Basting is my least favourite part of quilting.

  5. Thanks for stopping by my blog and leaving me a comment! :) Your quilts are beautiful. I am trying to make my first quilt at the moment and it seems to be taking me forever. I am your newest follower!

  6. I love this tip to put pins in the centers. I hope I remember to do this next time I layer a quilt!

  7. Thanks! I will defiantly try this the next time I quilt!

  8. I have never quilted before, but I want to try. I was wondering, is there any reason you shouldn't do the pinning with the whole project spread out on a hard floor? I don't have a big table, and I don't have room in my house for one even if I did. Are there disadvantages to pinning on the floor?

    1. There are many different ways to baste a quilt. The basting tutorial outlined in this post is simply one of them. I like to pin my quilts on tables because it is easier on my knees and back. If you have a hard floor available, you may want to try that method first and see if it works for you.