Thread basting quilts is probably the most commonly used method for basting quilts.  The three layers of the quilt need to be secured together while you are quilting and thread basting does the job admirably.

Begin in the middle of the quilt and sew long running stitches (basting stitches) towards the edge of the quilt, smoothing as you go.

Thread baste small quilts in a star shape

Thread baste small quilts in a star shape


When thread basting a smallish quilt, begin in the middle and baste a straight line up and down the middle of the quilt and across the middle.  Then sew a line of basting stitches along each diagonal from the middle to the corner.  This will give you eight lines of stitching in a star design.



Thread baste larger quilts in a grid

Thread baste larger quilts in a grid

When thread basting larger quilts, there needs to be more basting than the star above, or the layers may move against each other.  In this case it is better to thread baste a grid of straight lines up and down and across the width of the quilt.  The lines need to be no more than about 4″ apart.

When you have finished thread basting your quilt and feel ready to begin quilting, do take one final look at the back of your quilt.  sometimes the backing fabric moves a little during the basting and may need straightening out.

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  1. I don’t really understand this ‘basting’ business – I’ve watched dvds and read books on quilting – but this subject is never covered! It seems everyone understands what it is and how to do it except me! Is this a process to attach the 3 layers of quilt? Can you advice me on the best procedure?

    • Hi Regan. I thought that this article did explain basting, so I’m sorry if it’s not clear. The three layers of the quilt need to be secured to each other so that they don’t rumple up against each other when you’re quilting. Basically basting is a temporary way of holding the layers together while the quilting is the permanent way of holding them together. The basting can be achieved by long running stitches, which can be unpicked afterwards, or by using quilting safety pins which are taken out as you quilt the project with permanent stitching, or the three layers can be held together with temporary adhesive spray. I personally use quilting safety pins, but each quilter has their own preferred method. I suggest that you try each of these methods on a small project and then you’ll be able to decide which basting method suits you best. Hope that helps. Rose

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