Spray Basting – Will it Work for Me? #2

Well? I’ve left hanging the ‘Spray Basting – Will it Work  for Me?’ question for several weeks. The spray basted quilt sandwich lay on the back of my sewing room sofabed for all that time. So, first off, I can confirm the spray baste was still holding the layers together and hadn’t made the sandwich stiff or affected the fabrics in any visible way (not part of my original investigation but you know how project schedules can drift 😁 ).

To quilt the spray basted sandwich I used my Pfaff sewing machine that has a built-in walking foot. I choose to quilt one of my favourite designs, a curved grid. I used a Hera marker to create the initial shallow curvy lines across the quilt in two directions. Then I set the quilt guide 2″ from the needle before echo stitching the curved lines.

The quilting went well. There were just a few occasions when I needed to work hard to prevent puckers forming where stitching lines crossed. As you can see the fabric still moved a bit and looks slightly puffed up in places but on the whole I’m pleased with the outcome.

What I learned about spray basting vs. pin basting:

  • Spray basting is quicker – no surprise there!
  • Spray basting is reliant on favourable weather conditions (it’s not always dry with a light breeze when a quilt needs basting!).
  • Quilting a spray basted quilt sandwich is easier than a pin basted one (none of that stopping to remove pins). I imagine this is even more of an advantage when free motion quilting.
  • My needle didn’t gum-up (I was using Odif 505 Temporary Adhesive Spray).
  • Spray basting worked great for a Beginner’s Course student whose arthritic fingers would have struggled to use safety pins.

My quilt needs to be bound and then it will have to be washed to remove the spray. I don’t usually wash quilts as soon as I finish them so that’s an added step to be considered in the spray basting vs. pin basting debate.

In answer to my basic question, “… 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 conclude spray basting is more effective at holding the three layers together. But fabric will still get pushed around by the pressure of the machine foot, the stitches drawing the fabrics together, and (however carefully done) the ‘smooshing’ of the quilt bulk through the throat space of a sewing machine.

I’m not completely converted from pins to spray. I still have qualms about using aerosols and the cost is a deterrent. However, I would choose to use spray baste for some projects: for speed (only if the weather’s favourable!); to make quilting easier (if I wanted to concentrate on getting in the flow with fmq and not be distracted by pins); for smaller ‘utility’ quilts that will be used and washed frequently.

Foot Note I did try modifying my pin basting technique after Laura sent a link to her post sharing her method. I used Laura’s method to baste the bright version of the Trip Around the Stars quilt. As usual I smoothed and clamped the backing face down to a table, then gently smoothed the wadding over but after centring the patchwork face up on top I followed Laura’s recommendation and didn’t clamp it to the table. Instead I started pinning from the centre and gently smoothed the patchwork out as I went, being careful not to stretch or pull it taut.

As you can see fabrics did shift a little during quilting. But as with the spray basted quilt I did manage to prevent puckers and pleats even where quilting lines crossed. I will be interested to see how this revised method of pin basting works on a larger quilt.

There we are, I haven’t discovered a conclusive victor in the spray basting vs pin basting debate. I am willing to continue tweaking both  methods in the hope of settling on a technique that at least causes less frustration even if it can not provide the perfect answer.

Thank you to those of you who left tips and techniques in the comments after my first Spray Basting post. If you have any tried and tested basting tips or techniques please do share in the comments box below. Thank you!

Linking with Kelly for Needle and Thread Thursday. Click over to see Kelly’s selection from last weeks linkup.

Allison