Basting Review Part 1: Curved Safety Pins


Photo Mar 28

I’m pretty sure that no one really loves basting their quilts.  Part of what makes a long arm machine so appealing is that that step is completely eradicated.  But since I have no room in my crowded nest for a long arm frame, I am on a mission to find the best way to baste my quilts.  I have several tops that are ready to be quilted, so I will be trying out all of the methods I can think of and filling you guys in on the results.  Sound good?  I hope you’ll come back and join me on this adventure in basting.  If you have a favorite way of basting, I would love to hear about it! Or if there is something you’ve seen that you’re curious about, let me know and I will give it a try.

The first method I wanted to do was pin basting with curved safety pins.  This seems to be the most common way to baste.  I have done this in the past, but I tried it again so that I could time myself and be more thoughtful about the process for this review.

The Method

The first step is to sweep away all of the Goldfish and crushed Cheerios from my kitchen floor and give it a quick mop.  Then I tape the quilt back to the floor, right side down, making sure it is nice and flat, but not pulled tight.  I use several pieces of masking or painters tape, about 6″ in length, placing them about a foot apart.  Then I layer the batting on top of the back and smooth it out.  Then I layer my quilt top on top of the batting.  I try to keep all of the edges of the top parallel to the edges of the back.  (I am pretty sure that I will be making my quilt sandwiches very similarly for all of the methods)  Now it’s time to start pinning.  I divided the quilt into quadrants and pinned each of them from the center of the quilt out, placing pins about a hand’s width apart (for my lap sized quilt, I used roughly 250 pins).  I also slid an old cutting mat under all of the layers so that the pins didn’t scratch my floor, moving it to each area I was pinning.  I try not to disturb anything while I’m pinning; I don’t want any of my layers to shift.

The Stats

Cost: the pins I used were a size 1, and they were about $2.50 for 50 pins.

Time: my quilt measured about 55″ x 70″ and it took me right at an hour to baste it.

Efficacy: the quilt layers stayed very stable as I quilted it, and I didn’t have any puckers or pleats on the back

Photo Mar 28-2

The Review

Pros:  It is an inexpensive, secure way to baste a quilt.  I really didn’t feel like any of my layers were shifting as I quilted.  The curve of the safety pins makes it easier to pin through the layers.

Cons: It takes forever.  I mean, I guess an hour isn’t actually forever, but it is a loooong hour.  Also, it’s a little hard on my hands to close all of those pins.  I know there is a tool that is supposed to help, but I tried it once and it just felt awkward in my hand, however I know that a lot of people use them and love them.  Removing the pins as I quilted was also a little time consuming and annoying.  I probably could have been more careful to avoid placing my pins right on a stitching line as I basted, since I was doing a lot of stitching in the ditch, and that would have helped.

All in all, pin basting with curved safety pins works well, but I’m not convinced that it is the best way (which is basically why I’m doing this whole series).

Come back next week when I try pin basting using flower head pins and pinmoors.