Trying Out Spray Basting

 

I’m on another quilty mission! This time I’m trying out spray basting as an alternative to my usual pin basting method. I’ve chosen to ‘mash up’ the spray basting techniques used by two successful quilt designer/tutors, Christa Watson of Christa Quilts and Emily Dennis of Quilty Love.

I own to having been reluctant to go down the spray basting route: 1. Using aerosols of any kind is becoming less acceptable as we try to do our individual bit to save the planet; 2. Spraying sticky, potentially toxic stuff in my home isn’t very appealing; 3. Spray baste is more expensive than pins and can’t be reused; 4 There could be issues such as the glue affecting stitch quality by gumming up needles; 5. The finished quilt will need to be washed to remove the glue.  BUT despite all these objections to spray basting and despite my best efforts to perfect the pin basting technique – I nearly always have some issues with fabric ‘bubbling’ and/or puckering – I find myself about to embark on a spray basting mission of discovery!

Here are links to the spray basting blog and video tutorials by both Christa Watson and Emily Dennis.

Christa Watson – Spray Basting Tutorial Using a Table – outdoors on blog.

Chrsita Watson – Spray Basting Video Tutorial Using a Design Wall – You Tube. Christa also talks through the table basting method in this video.

Emily Denis – go to her blog to read her ‘How to spray baste a quilt’ tutorial and to find the link to her video tutorial of the same.

Both Christa and Emily recommend using Odif 505 Temporary Adhesive for fabric. I’ve invested in the small, 250ml, can for this spray basting trial.

My Spray Basting Mash-Up:

Step 1: Cut backing and wadding 3″ larger all round than finished quilt top. Press quilt top and backing.

Step 2: Set up a table outdoors. Cover with an old sheet to protect the table and surrounding area from spray. There was a moderate breeze blowing on the day I spray basted, I used clothes pegs to keep the old sheet in place. As well as protecting the table from the sticky spray the secured sheet helped to keep the quilt top and backing in place despite the breeze.

Step 3: Spray baste the wrong side of the quilt backing. Emily’s post has photos giving a clear indication of how much spray to use.

Quilt backing right side down on the protective sheet.

Step 4: Take the quilt backing indoors and spread flat on a hard floor. Use masking tape to secure the backing to the floor.

Step 5: Fold the wadding in half width ways. Position the folded wadding across the centre of the backing, covering one half of the backing. Line up edges before carefully smoothing out wrinkles from the centre to the edges. Unfold the wadding to cover the other half of the backing. Continue smoothing the wadding from the centre outwards. I used my hands to do this but I’m sure Christa’s technique of using the edge of a ruler could be employed at this stage.

Step 6: Lay the quilt top face down on the outside table. Spray baste the back of the quilt top.

Step 7: Fold the quilt top in half width ways and use the same method as in Step 5 to adhere the quilt top to the wadding. I used quilting rulers to check the edges and corners stayed square and were not pushed out of shape.

Step 8: Take the basted quilt sandwich to your ironing board/pressing table. Use a hot, dry iron to press the backing – working from the centre to the outside edges of each section. Turn the sandwich over to press the quilt top using the same technique, pressing from the centre to the edges. Pressing did not leave my sandwich completely flat however it did gather small amounts of excess fabric that could be pushed by the iron to the edge of the fabric and flattened.

So that’s how I’ve basted my latest quilt sandwich. Now the proof is in the pudding (I suppose a sweet jam sandwich could be a sort of pudding?) – will the fabrics bubble and pucker when I quilt them together or will spray basting stop the layers shifting over each other more effectively than basting with pins? I will report back shortly in #2 of ‘Spray Basting: Will it work for me?’

In the meantime, if you have a preference for either pin basting or spray basting or have any quilt basting tips and techniques please do share in the comments box below. Thank you!

Allison

My apologies for the lack of Saturday Quilting Bring & Share posts – normal service will be resumed this week. Two weeks ago we weighed up the risks and decided to go to a conference. Despite everyone testing negative for Covid before attending, the virus was present and we brought it home with us 🙄 Thankfully the vaccines have spared us any serious symptoms. Now we are recovering from the illness but choosing to follow the guidelines means we are stuck in our own socially distancing lockdown. Thank goodness for the arrival of unseasonal warm Spring sunshine to give us the bonus of being able to step outside whenever we want to.

 

Tutorial: Envelope Cushion Back with Buttons and Binding

I began following the English Country Garden QAL in February 2021. I did intend to make all nine blocks and create the quilt-as-you-go quilt top… But best intentions and all that…I’ve got to the back end of 2021 with just four of the blocks completed. I enjoyed learning more about EPP and applique by making the blocks and also enjoyed having a slow stitching project to turn to but now I’ve decided it’s time for me to draw my involvement in the QAL to close. I’ll be making use of the completed blocks rather than consigning the project to the UFO Cupboard of Shame!

I’ve trimmed the blocks to 18½” square to make four new cushion (pillow) covers to replace the rather worn patchwork covers we’ve been using in our living room for the past 10 years or more.

I hope sharing the process I’m using to make cushion covers from these quilted patchwork blocks will be a useful guide should you decide to do something similar 🙂

Materials

  • One 18½” quilted patchwork square*
  • Cushion Back Fabric: cut two 18½” x 15″ rectangles
  • Medium weight interfacing: cut two 17½” x 2-5/8″ rectangles
  • Two 1″ buttons
  • Double fold binding: cut two Width of Fabric 2¼” strips to make approximately 84″ of binding. Sew strips together and press in half lengthways
  • 18″ x 18″ pillow form.

*I like my cushions squishy. If you prefer a firmer, tighter fit then cut your square to 18″ and the Cushion Back Rectangles to 18″ x 15″.

Equipment

  • Sewing machine with facility to make button holes
  • Rotary cutting tools
  • Pins and/or binding clips

Step One: Preparing Buttonhole Plackets

  • Place a Cushion Back Rectangle wrong side up on an ironing surface. Press a crease 3″ down from a long edge of the rectangle. Open out the rectangle.
  • Position an interfacing rectangle along the crease – there will be approximately ½” fabric exposed at either end and approx. ¼” seam allowance along the top of the rectangle.

 

  • Adhere the interfacing in place as per manufacturers instructions.
  • Fold and press the seam allowance over the edge of the interfacing Diagram 1.
  • Fold the interfacing flap to the back of the rectangle and pin in place.
  • Top stitch 1/8″ along the top edge and 1/8″ inside the seam allowance to secure the placket Diagram 2. Now measures 18½” x 12″ (18″ x 12 if making the tighter fitting version).
View of wrong side of a Back Rectangle with top stitching completed.
  • Repeat to prepare the second Cushion Back Rectangle.

Step Two: Make Buttonholes and Attach Buttons

  • Fold a Cushion Back Rectangle in half on the placket edge and make a crease to mark the centre.
  • Lay the Cushion Back Rectangle face up on a flat surface.

  • Measure 2½” away from the centre crease and make an erasable mark starting ¾” above the top stitching that secures the placket seam.
  • Repeat to measure and mark a buttonhole 2½” away from the other side of the centre crease.
  • Make vertical button holes using the marks as guides.
  • Place the Button Hole Placket, face up, directly on top of the placket of the other Backing Fabric rectangle (also face up).
  • Make a mark through each buttonhole onto the placket below to position the buttons.
  • Attach buttons.

Step Three: Attach Cushion Back Rectangles and Binding to Cushion Front

  • Lay the Cushion Front right side down on a flat surface.
  • Button the two Backing Rectangles together and pin placket ends so plackets are lying directly on top of each other.
  • With Cushion Back face up, place one 18½” edge directly on top of a Cushion front edge. Pin in place.

  • Carefully smooth the Backing over the Front. Pin in place. There will be a strip of excess Backing fabric along one edge.

  • Flip the pinned pieces over so the the Cushion Front is uppermost. Use a rotary cutter to remove the excess Backing Fabric.

  • Pin the binding raw edge to raw edge around the Cushion Front*. Start on an edge that does not have exposed Placket ends.
  • Stitch the binding in place using a ¼” seam in the usual way. Take care not to accidently flip the placket pieces as you stitch.
  • Hand stitch the binding to the back of the cushion cover.

*If you would rather machine stitch both edges of the binding then first stitch the binding raw edges to the Cushion Back before flipping the binding round and machine stitching it to the front of the cushion cover.

I hope this tutorial is useful. Any questions or suggestions do get in touch with me using the comments box at the bottom of this page. If you are interested in reading more of my tutorials you can find them by using the ‘Tutorials’ tab in the header 🙂 . I’ve also published several patterns including the I-Spy Shadow Quilt pattern, these can be bought as PDF downloads from my Etsy Shop.

Linking with Kelly for Needle & Thread Thursday. Kelly has been busy hanging lights outside her house in time for the Holiday Season but has had time to create a gallery of quilts from last weeks linkup.

Allison

Scrappy Scrap Basket tutorial for The Summer Scrap Elimination 2021

Scrappy Scrap Basket. The Why? I often use scraps of fabric as an on-going leader-ender project. I have a bin of scraps within easy reach of my sewing machine and select a couple of scraps to stitch together each time I start or finish chain piecing patchwork units. On the other side of my sewing machine I have a basket ready to receive the stitched leader-enders as I snip them off the strings of chain pieced units. When the basket is full to over-flowing I know it’s time to press the seams of the leader-enders before throwing them in the box ready to become bigger units in a scrappy patchwork quilt 🙂

I’ve made several of these baskets and love just how scrappy a Scrappy Scrap Basket can be! For this tutorial I made a basket not only from fabric scraps but also interfacing scraps and wadding scraps. Funny how I still have loads of scraps…

It’s  Week 4 of the Summer Scrap Elimination 2021 blog hop and I’m very happy to be sharing this Scrappy Scrap Basket tutorial as a contributor to Swan Amity Studio’s annual event.

Scrappy Scrap Basket. The How?

Materials to make a basket approx. :

  • Ten 2½” x 5″ rectangles of fabric (outer sides of basket)
  • Two 2½” x 10½” rectangles of fabric (outer base of basket)
  • Two 1¾” x 10½” rectangles of fabric (outer top of basket)
  • Two 4½” x 6½” rectangles of fabric (tab handles)
  • Two 10¼” x 8″ rectangles of fabric  (lining of basket)
  • Two 10″ x 7¾” rectangles of medium weight interfacing
  • One piece of wadding 11″ x 22″
  • Top stitching thread

Note: Use ¼” seam allowance unless directed otherwise; reinforce start and finishes of all seams with reverse stitching.

Step 1: Basket Outer

  • Stitch together the 2½” x 5″ rectangles along their long edges to make the basket back and front each measuring 5″ x 10½”. Press seams open or to the darker fabrics.

  • Stitch the 1¾” x 10½” rectangles to the upper edges of the basket back and front. Press seams open.

  • Stitch the 2½” x 10½” rectangles to the bottom edges of the basket back and front. Press seams open.
  • Apply iron-on interfacing to the reverse sides of the basket back and front pieces.

  • Lay the back and front pieces side by side on the strip of wadding. Baste using spray or pins.

  • Quilt both using a design of your choice (I used a walking foot to quilt a twisted ribbon design and echoed the seam between the vertical rectangles and the horizontal fabric at the top of the basket).
  • Trim away the excess wadding so the basket’s back and front each measure 8¼” high by 10½” wide.
  • Boxed Corners: Place the basket back and front right sides together. Mark a 2¼” square in the bottom corners.

  • Stitch the sides and bottom seams together – back stitch at the start and end of each seam and across the marked lines.

  • Cut away the bottom corners along the marked lines.

  • Pinch the two open edges of a cut corner together, aligning the bottom seam with the side seam.

  • Stitch the open edges of the boxed corner together making sure to back stitch at the start and finish of the seam.

  • Repeat with the opposite corner.

Step 2: Tab Handles

  • Fold a 4½” x 6½” rectangle in half – short edge to short edge – to find the centre and press along the fold. Open out the rectangle and fold both short edges to the centre crease. Press and then fold edges together along the centre crease to create a 1″ x 6½” tab.

  • Top stitch 1/8th inch in from the edges along both sides of the tab.
  • Fold the tab in half. Centre the open edges against the top of a side seam of the outer basket – right sides together. Using an 1/8th inch seam allowance baste in place.

  • Repeat to make the second tab handle.

Step 3: Basket Lining

  • Lay the two lining rectangles right sides together and mark 2¼” squares in the bottom corners ready to make boxed corners.
  • Stitch the side seams starting with a ¼” allowance at the top edge gradually moving to ½” allowance at the marked line. Reverse stitch at the start and beginning of each seam.

  • Stitch a ¼” seam along the bottom edge leaving a 3″ opening to turn the basket right sides out. Reverse stitch at the start and finish of each seam.
  • Cut away the marked corner squares.
  • Make boxed corners in the same way as those made for the outer basket.
  • Press open the side and bottom seams.

Step 4: Create the Basket

  • Place the outer basket inside the lining, right sides together.
  • Align the side seams and pin or clip together the top edges of the basket outer and lining.

  • Stitch together using a ¼” seam all around the top edges of the outer basket and lining.
  • Turn the basket right sides out through the opening in the lining.
  • Carefully roll and finger press around the top edge of the basket.

  • Top stitch ¼” around the top edge of the basket.
  • Machine or hand stitch closed the opening in the lining.

Congratulations! Your Scrappy Basket is finished and ready to receive it’s fill of scraps!

Of course, this basket pattern can be adapted in many ways depending on the shape and size of the scraps you use. It would be possible to use a stitch & flip method to attach strips of fabric to the wadding or to make the basket sides using a Crazy Patchwork technique. If you choose to make a larger basket I’d recommend using two layers of wadding or a foam interlining to make sure the sides are rigid enough to stay upright.

If you have any queries about this Scrappy Scrap Basket tutorial please do get in touch 🙂 Don’t forget to follow the link to the home of the Summer Scrap Elimination 2021 project at Swan Amity Studios where you’ll find Swan’s scrap elimination tutorials and links to other contributors of this years blog hop.

Allison

 

 

Pin Basting Methods

The three layers of a quilt sandwich are temporarily held together, basted, to keep them in place during the process of quilting. I think it’s safe to say most quilters find basting a tedious necessity.

I choose to pin baste, with varying degrees of success, and have tried several different ways of smoothing and fastening the layers. Earlier this week I discovered my latest session of pin basting had been spectacularly unsuccessful. I’d used a walking foot to quilt three wavy lines of stitches down the length of a quilt sandwich. The quilt top was definitely rippling as I stitched but I tried to quieten the alarm bells ringing in my head with the thought that if I continued quilting lines in the same direction the layers would ‘settle’ and all would be well. What?!? I finally checked the back of the quilt sandwich and the chill grip of reality closed around me…. I would have to unpick 180 inches of stitching, about 2,500 stitches, remove the basting pins and start again…

Unpicking is a slow process allowing plenty of time for thinking. I thought of the quote often attributed to Albert Einstein:

Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.

I resolved to do a bit of research into pin basting methods before re-basting my quilt sandwich, intending to apply what I’d learn and do things differently so as not to be proved insane.

Here is a summary of my research into pin basting. I read many more blog tutorials and watched, in part at least, many more YouTube videos than there are links listed below but I hope those selected will provide you with a good lead into solving the mystery of successful pin basting  🙂

I’ve divided my pin basting research results into three categories: on the floor; on a table; and board basting..

Pin Basting On the Floor:

How to Pin Baste a Quilt by We All Sew – carpet or hard surface. This method involves initially pinning the outside edges of a quilt backing to a carpet or taping it to a hard floor. Then smoothing on the batting before smoothing the quilt top down onto the batting and pinning the edges to to the carpet. Once the edges of the layers are secured pin basting begins.

  • Handy tip: Use the long edge of a quilting ruler to sweep across the quilt top in all directions to smooth out wrinkles before pinning it.

Successfully layering and basting a quilt by Generations Quilt Patterns. This method details taping backing to a hard floor before smoothing on batting and then smoothing and taping the quilt top.

  • Handy tip: After taping down test there is no excess fabric in the backing by running a hand over it. If the fabric bubbles or wrinkles re-tape the backing being careful to stretch out the fabric without pulling so hard it becomes distorted.

How to Pin Baste a Quilt by Tangible Culture. In this method masking tape is used to first tape the backing to a hard surface; then the wadding is taped to the backing; finally the quilt top is taped to the wadding.

Pin Basting On a Table:

Using Straight Silk Pins by National Quilters Circle. In this short video tutorial long, thin pins are used to baste a small quilt sandwich. The demonstrator says the the method can be used successfully for quilts up to throw size.

Quilting for Beginners: How to Baste Quilt Layers Together by Wisecrafthandmade. This table top method uses clamps to secure the layers to a table. Flowerhead pins, with homemade ‘Pinmoors’ made of craft foam, secure the layers. The tutorial explains how to baste a quilt larger than the the table surface.

Pin Basting Combined with Board Basting:

‘Board Basting’ is a technique for table top basting developed by Sharon Schamber. There are several videos of her demonstrating the method, unfortunately they are not great quality. On the Right Sides Together site there is an explanation of Board Basting that does include an in-focus video of Sharon demonstrating the board basting method. Although Sharon favours hand thread basting others have successfully used pin or spray basting when using the Board Basting technique.

The technique has been further developed to utilise swim noodles. Here’s a video of the swim noodle, pin baste technique. This is slightly different from the original Sharon S method as the wadding is also rolled.

* * * * *

So there you have it, a brief trip through a variety of pin basting processes. The variation in techniques explained in these tutorials is a good indication that there is no one way of creating a perfect pin basted quilt sandwich. But, we would hope, applying at least some of the tips and advice should lead to the process having a satisfactory outcome far more often than not.

What am I taking away from all this? I think first I made some basic errors in the basting of the quilt sandwich that sparked this blog post. I need to be more careful when I’m securing the backing – making sure it really is taut. I didn’t make allowances for one of the backing fabrics being quite a silky cotton, combining that with polyester wadding was more likely to lead to the sandwich layers shifting so I should have pinned more densely than I did…

So I am going to do things differently. I’ve cleared a space on my sewing room floor ready to pin baste the quilt sandwich.

It’s a l-o-n-g time since I basted on the floor and this is quite a confined space. My 58 year old knees and rather too large backside may well work against me ever doing this again but I’m interested to see if, for this quilt at least, pinning to the carpet will produce a successful quilt sandwich. I will let you know the result in my Saturday Quilting Bring & Share blog post or you may just hear my howls of despair or shouts of joy echoing around the World 😀

Incidentally I was taught how to ‘board baste’ when I first learned to patchwork quilt (thank you Flip!) and have kept the long boards tucked behind the spare bed but haven’t used the method for a long time. Having done this research I’m fascinated by the lack of stretching applied to the layers as they are unrolled from the boards or swim noodles. Maybe I’ll get those boards out from behind the bed and have a go at board basting my next quilt sandwich just to see if they do the job well enough on their own without the need to clamp or tape the layers to the table?

Please do add your experiences of pin basting and any tips you’d recommend to the comments box below. Thank you!

Linking with Kelly for Needle and Thread Thursday. Kelly is bravely finding the silver linings in having a broken ankle!

Allison

PS. For an up-to-date and comprehensive guide to pin basting and other methods of securing a quilt sandwich take a scroll through this article, ‘Quilt basting tutorial – learn different ways to baste a quilt‘.