How to Easily Baste Quilts

How to Easily Baste Your Quilt

Most of us have steps of the quilting project that we really don’t enjoy. Basting is that step for me. I love having it done so I can move on to quilting, but the thought of crawling around on the floor and trying to keep the quilt flat and wrinkle free is very daunting. Luckily, I don’t have to worry about that anymore! With the simple addition of 3 cheap pool noodles, I’m now able to baste our quilts quickly and easily on the dining room table, no knee or back pain required.

How to Baste a Quilt with Pool Noodles

To use this method, you will need 3 pool noodles. I highly recommend purchasing some specifically for quilting. You don’t want to risk dirt or chemicals from the pool transferring from the noodle to your quilt. When looking for noodles, get the longest ones you can find. The width isn’t nearly as important. If the noodle doesn’t quite match the width of your quilt, that’s okay, you can still use it perfectly fine.

Roll the Quilt Sections onto the Noodles

Now that you have your noodles, it’s time to roll up your quilt sections. We are going to roll each section individually.

  1. First, start with the top. Lay it out on your table or large surface right side up. Make sure that you have ironed it as needed and smooth out any wrinkles. I like to start rolling from the bottom but this isn’t completely necessary. Just make sure that all three pieces are rolled from the same side first.
  2. Lay your noodle along the edge of the quilt top and start rolling, smoothing out the top as you go to ensure there are no wrinkles or tucks. If available, use the block seams or sashing to make sure you are keeping everything lined up nicely.
  3. Continue until the entire top is rolled onto the noodle.
  4. Repeat with the batting, making sure it is right side up.
  5. Repeat one more time with the backing, but this time, put it right side down. We want the back of the fabric and seams to be inside the quilt sandwich.

Putting the Three Quilt Layers Together

After you have rolled up all three sections, we are ready to put them together.

  1. Start by laying the backing fabric down first, unroll just enough to cover your table. Make sure that it is nice and smooth.
  2. Add your batting, simply line up the start of the batting along the edge of your backing and unroll!
  3. Smooth everything out.
  4. If spray basting, lift up the batting and spray, then re-smooth the batting.
  5. Repeat, adding the top layer. Again, if spray basting, lift it up, spray, and smooth it back out.
  6. If you are pin basting, after you add the top layer, pin this first section before you go to the next one.
  7. Now, push all three noodles to the edge of the table, pushing the section you’ve basted off the side.
  8. Unroll the backing and make sure it’s all smooth. It should be really easy as the weight of the quilt will help everything to lay flat.
  9. If you are spray basting, spray now.
  10. Unroll the batting, smooth it out, spray.
  11. Unroll the top, smooth it out. If needed, pin this section.
  12. Continue until the entire quilt is done!

A couple notes: make sure your table is clean and the floor area around it as well. Your quilt will likely end up touching the floor, and we don’t want anything unexpected to transfer to the quilt top.

If you are using pins, they can scratch your table top. Make sure not to touch the table with the pin or stick your cutting mat underneath the section you are pinning to protect what is underneath.

If your quilt is bigger than your table, you can still do this. You can use this method on the floor, or put it on the table anyway and move it back and forth as needed to baste it.

If you are using spray baste, be mindful of overspray and keep in mind you will likely need to mop your floor again afterwards. It can get everywhere and be sticky.

And that’s it! Now that you have basted your quilt and don’t need a mental break and back massage, you can start quilting and quilting is the best part because it means you are almost done and can start snuggling under that beautiful quilt top!

Any questions, don’t hesitate to ask!

Happy Quilting

Kimie and Missy

8 Replies to “How to Easily Baste Quilts”

  1. Sharon Kaihoi says: Reply

    Thank you! This will be so helpful.

    1. You are very welcome!

  2. Thanks! Do You personally pin baste or spray baste and why please. This is the hard part to me.

    1. I personally spray. I like that it gets every part of the quilt stuck to the batting and backing and also avoids having to open and close a bunch of pins (and stop to take them out while quilting). A couple tips for spray basting, keep it light, you don’t need as much as you think, and give it a quick iron after you baste (with all the layers together). The heat seems to make it extra sticky and lasts longer. I’ve had quilts that took months to finish and the spray basting held together fantatically!

  3. Gayle Shumaker says: Reply

    Absolutely awesome way to baste a quilt! That is one of the things I dislike about quilting was trying to baste. Finding spray baste helped but with the pool noodles you’ve revolutionized the process. I will be snapping up pool noodles when they become available this spring. Thank you.

    1. We can’t take credit for inventing it but are very thankful for whoever did!

  4. This is very helpful. Will this system work with a large quilt? A quilt larger than the table top?

    1. It will, but you’ll have to finagle it a little more. Start in the middle, then move it side to side as needed to roll and then unroll and baste.

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