Monday, 17 August 2015

Basting a king sized quilt

I've lost count of the number of articles and blogs I've read and videos I've watched that try to teach you how to baste a quilt. And whilst they're all very helpful and informative, they tend to demonstrate on a baby quilt or table topper. Whilst I absolutely understand why they use a small project to demonstrate, when it comes to basting a bed quilt, there's a limit to how much you can transfer!

So, when preparing to baste Big Momma my king sized double pinwheel quilt, I thought it would be worthwhile taking some pics as we went. That way I could at least show you how I tackled it and any hints I've picked up along the way. After all, they don't get much bigger then Big Momma!

So, here goes.

1. Prepare. I was basting on the floor of my conservatory so my first job was to vacuum and then mop the floor clean. No dust bunnies on this backing please! Any hard floor surface will do but this was the biggest space we have.

Next was to prep me which meant getting changed into scruffy clothes, pinning my hair back and getting ready to sweat and swear!

2. Find a willing (or reluctant) helper. Experience has taught me that it's 2000% harder to baste a big quilt alone. Find a friend, have a basting party, bribe the husband with beer and soccer, whatever it takes!

3. Mark the middle of each side of the backing. Backing placement wasn't a huge issue for me as my material was in one piece with no seams or panel. However if you have something that needs to be aligned with the quilt top (for instance you have a panel of seam that needs to be centered) you'll want to have everything lined up. We mark the centre be folding the back in half and then putting a safety pin through the fold on each end. Open up the back, fold it the other way and repeat.

4. Lay the backing out and stick it down to your floor. The back wants to be pretty side down and smooth but not taut. If it's over taut it'll keep coming unstuck from the floor and then wrinkling. I use pretty iridescent peacock duck tape to stick my back down (mainly because it's pretty!) and we use lots of small pieces of tape rather than a few large pieces.

5. Lay your batting on top of the back. I smooth out big wrinkles but don't worry overly about the little ones. They'll quilt out.

6. Stick the batting to the back. I use 505 adhesive spray to baste but if you're pinning (you crazy fool!) then skip this step. I peel back half of the batting to reveal the backing and then spray the revealed half of the back (yes I spray the back as it absorbs less spray than the batting) with spray, using quick, short bursts of the spray. If you do long sprays then the nozzle gunks up. I then lay the batting back over the now sticky back and repeat on the other half of the quilt.

7. Mark the centre of the quilt top edges. As I did with the backing, I use safety pins to mark the centre points of each quilt top side.

8.  Lay the quilt top onto of the batting, pretty side up. Make sure that the safety pins on the edges of the top are in line with the safety pins on edges of the back. You might need to peek under the batting to find the pins in the back. The pins won't lay on top of each other exactly because your back should be bigger than your top but they should at least be in line. Tweak as necessary to make them line up and then smooth the top out.

9. Stick the top to the batting. Peel half the quilt top back and then spray the batting (yes the batting this time as you don't want to accidentally spray your pretty quilt top) with the spray in quick, short sprays. Lay the top back down and smooth out, checking the pins still line up. Repeat with the other half of the quilt. You've got some time to make adjustments if you need to before the spray sticks completely.

10. Leave for at least 20 mins. This gives the spray time to set and adhere. Move the quilt too early and you'll risk the layers separating due to the weight of the quilt. Some people flip the quilt and iron the back at this point to get all those little creases out but I'm too lazy for that! 

11. Remove tape from edges of quilt and quilt! 

I hope this helps anyone thinking about tackling a bed quilt.

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