One of the least favorite parts of machine quilting that many people groan over is basting the layers together in preparation for doing the actual quilting.

Yet it’s an integral step in the process and one that if not done correctly to prevent the fabric layers from shifting could actually ruin the quilt.

Accepting the fact that you just have to suck it up and baste that quilt sandwich before even thinking about stitching it with a machine like the Q'nique 19 Longarm, the next best option is to find a way to make basting easier.

Try these helpful hints to speed up that basting and get you off the floor and quilting fast!

Get Up Off The Floor

Working on your hands and knees on the floor is uncomfortable and one of the things that most people dislike about basting to prepare a project for the quilting machine.

If you can, get off the floor and onto an elevated surface, any surface that is high enough for comfort, although unfortunately not everyone is fortunate enough to have a large cutting table or even a dining table large enough.

Using the clamping or board basting method, center the quilt sandwich on even a smaller surface and baste it in sections, keeping the layers properly aligned while saving your back and knees.

Clamp That Sandwich

Lay out the quilt sandwich on any work surface even one that's not as large as the quilt and baste as you go with this method.

Start by folding the quilt back in half wrong side out and then in half again, positioning the center point of the quilt on the measured center of the table.

top quilt so everything is aligned to the center of the table and the excess hanging off the table looks correct.

hold the layers in place and then hand baste using either pins or needle and thread from the center out.

Pin Baste The Quilt

Whether doing it on the floor or a table, pin basting makes the process much easier.

Lay out and center the quilt sandwich properly so there’s enough excess of backing and basting, then flatten the layers and hold them down with weights.

Use large safety pins or quilting pins and place one pin every 4 inches at a minimum, starting from the center and working your way outward.

Speed up the process and get to your Q'nique quilting machine faster by opening all the pins before starting so all that's needed is to put them in and close them; make this process easier by leaving them open when removing them from the quilt.

Spray Baste The Quilt

Using the standard method for laying out and centering a quilt sandwich on the floor or another surface large enough for the entire quilt, roll or fold the layers up in order to start at the top and spray the backing with spray adhesive, then gradually roll the batting down onto it.

Smooth the batting and then do the same with the top quilt, keeping the rolls aligned so it all unrolls straight.

Board Baste The Quilt

Another useful technique for centering and unrolling the quilt sandwich for hand stitching, pinning, or spray basting is board basting that uses two 2” x 6” boards about two feet wider than the entire quilt to hold the layers so you can slowly roll them out and baste.

Position the quilt backing on a surface and center the top quilt on top of it then roll the top quilt up around one of the boards and repeat with the backing.

Turn the rolls around and start unrolling a few feet of the backing on your work surface, placing the batting over it.

Next position and unroll the top quilt over those few feet and baste.

When that part is done, unroll more of the backing, lay more of the batting, and follow with more of the top quilt, continuing until the whole thing is pinned.

Take the Agony Out of Basting!

The hardest part of basting a project for machine quilting is making sure everything lines up and then keeping it that way long enough to get the fabric sandwich to the quilting machine.

The ideas above should allow you to do that fairly easily and even without crouching on the floor.

Using a crafty technique that removes a lot of the frustration, you’ll never pout when it comes time to do the basting again!