Quilting Basics: Pin Basting

For many new quilters, sewing blocks and joining them together to create a quilt top is the easy part. But, the thought of creating a “quilt sandwich” and working with three layers of fabric all at the same time? That next step has caused more than one quilting novice to permanently banish a perfectly good first quilt to the unfinished objects box.

If that sounds familiar, it’s definitely high time you were introduced to the joys of pin basting!

In case you’re not familiar with the technique, basting is a process of temporary joining pieces of fabric together—in this case, the layers of the quilt top, batting, and backing fabric—so they don’t move or shift while you’re sewing. (Often, basting is used when you’re sewing garments to keep the pieces aligned, and to prevent accidental fabric stretching. This is basically the same idea, just on a larger scale.) Usually, when stitchers think of basting, they picture a series of long stitches, either placed by hand with a needle and thread or sewn by machine. But, basting doesn’t always require thread. Starting with making a quilt sandwich, then ending with a perfectly basted quilt, this pin basting tutorial from The Purl Bee will walk you through the process of getting your finished quilt top ready for the actual quilting, and I think you’ll be surprised to find that it’s much easier than you’d think!

Pin basting is faster and less fussy than trying to sew basting stitches over an entire quilt by hand, and it’s definitely my go-to basting method for most quilts.

Basting Tip: As mentioned in the tutorial, curved safety pins should be used for pin basting a quilt. The curve in the arm of the pin prevents puckering and pulling, so you’ll definitely want to either invest in some, or grab a pair of pliers and make some of your own.