Friday, March 12, 2010

how I sandwich & baste a quilt

I know a lot of people baste their quilts by taping them on the floor to get them flat using this method. I loved when I stumbled across that method. That is the way I have been basting my quilts until now.

It got tiring being on my knees and being on the floor and having to make sure my floor was clean and my back was not really liking it either.
I've had a couple quilt waiting to be laid out and basted but needed another way. So last weekend I made a trip to Lowes and got some long boards and clamps to make quilting frames. This was to tape up the quilt and bast it, then take it down and do the machine quilting and put the boards away.

basted quilt

I was just going to get some plain old brown 1" X 2" boards 6' long but my husband talked me into getting it in MDF instead. It was pre-primed white. I got 2 lengths of 6' and 2 lengths of 8' both 1" X 2". The primer would have left white on my quilt so I had to spray paint them with real paint first.

These are the C clamps I found in the tool section. Just what I remember my mom using when she would set up the old fashioned quilt frames. The clamps I got were smaller and were the perfect size for my smaller boards. Below is an image of them from the top and bottom after attaching the boards at the corner.

clamps for quilt frame

clamp top

clamp bottom

The corners rest on four chair backs. This is the mid process of taping so the quilt is not fully tight. the masking tape stuck perfectly to the MDF, just like the tile floor. It was also easy to peel off when finished.
quilt frames to baste a quilt

Still mid process, not tight yet.
basting a quilt

still not tight...
quilt frames to bast a quilt


  1. Great idea! I'm too heavy to be on the floor any more...both knees back and ungraceful getting ups :P
    I've been just winging it on the kitchen table and I haven't had puckering so far...but then again most of the profects were fairly small....Will keep this in mind thanks.

  2. This is the old way of basting and quilting. My Grandmothers and an old boyfriends Mother did it this way. Some of them had pulleys on the ceilings and they would tie ropes to the frame and pull it up to the ceiling at night so the room could be used for something else. They would attach fabric to the boards and use thumb tacks to hold the started fabric in place then baste the quilt to the starter fabric. As the quilt was quilted it was rolled onto one of the end pieces of the frame until it was completed. Chris

  3. Yep, thanks Sewing Junkie, That is why I said I remember my mom doing it this way (when I was young :) I didn't want to use tacks because they can rip fabric and leave big holes, I remember that happening too with my mom, Plus I love the easiness of tape.

  4. good idea. You have so many good ideas. Maybe one day I'll get a quilt ready for this step.

  5. WOW! So much work! But I bet it shows in the finished quilt :)

  6. thank you for sharing this!! OMG, I can't wait to try. I just posted it to my blog that I share with my friend who also quilts!