Quilting from ‘Square’ One – Backing, Basting, Pinning

Happy Day Everyone!

Today we’re going to go over how to make your backing, spray the batting to the front and back as well as pin for quilting.  I’m going to be honest here…this is my LEAST favorite part of the quilt making process.  I think it’s because now we’re dealing with yards of fabric and not small blocks.  It can become a circus to try to tackle it all.  Likewise, I have a dog and a cat who have sixth sense about quilts and always need to get in the middle of the process.  I’ll add a cute ‘outtake’ below so you can see what I’m talking about.  Okay enough babbling…as I said least favorite, but with these techniques it should be fairly painless.  What do ya say? Let’s get started!

Here’s today’s video. I’m always trying to improve your experience so I tried something new today.  Let me know what you think; love it or hate it…I can take it! (and that rhymed!) I may actually end up doing a hybrid of both of my styles go forward.

Here’s what you’re going to need for today…and the front of the quilt too (obviously!)


Step 1 –

Cut your backing fabric into two 2-yard pieces. Open them up and lay them out next to each other.


Then, with right sides together stitch them together using a 1/2″ seam.  I left the salvages on to save myself some work and give me a straight line as well.


Press your seam open. This will allow the quilt back to lay flat and won’t risk bunching when quilting. (I just learned this last week from a long arm quilter.)



Important note: You want your backing and binding to be slightly larger than your quilt top. This will allow for any shifting in the basting/spraying process, etc.  I like to leave 2″ all around if possible.  The photo below shows the quilt front on the backing before I’ve trimmed the right side, but you can get the idea.


Step 2 –

Lay your batting on top of your backing.  Here’s the brand that I like the best when it comes to batting.  I know there are kinds out there that look fluffier and therefore warmer, but in reality I like the 100% cotton or 100% bamboo batting.  It’s WAY easier to quilt and will keep you warmer; true story.  Plus these are made from natural sustainable materials and that should make everyone smile.  I had to piece my batting and I’m assuming you will too.  You have two options here – 1) stitch them together similar to the backing or 2) just overlap them slightly so there isn’t a gab.  Overlapping is easier for me so that’s what I did.  Once we spray and pin nothing will be moving.


Step 3 – Spray basting.

My Grandma taught me about spray basting long before it was the ‘in’ thing.  It’s so easy and makes your life much easier.  Similar to spray glue you just spray this on, smooth two fabrics together and then you’re good to quilt.  I like the added step of pinning just so I can secure everything down as well as be able to fold the quilt up and work on it in pieces.  Here’s the easiest method I’ve come up with. Now that your batting is resting on top of your backing roll just one side if the batting towards the center of the fabric.  Spray fairly liberally but not aggressively onto the batting. I always spray onto the fabric I’m laying down so I can control where it goes, how much fabric gets sprayed at anyone time and I like the extra layer of protection against my floors.

Now roll the batting back into place one section at a time spraying and smoothing as you go. You don’t want wrinkles at this point.  This is how we get that perfect back for quilting.


Finish by rolling the other side of your batting onto itself to the middle. Repeat this step until all of your batting is adhered to your backing fabric.

Step 4 – Adding the front

We’re going to now spray baste the front onto the batting. This is the same exact technique above except you are now doing it with the front. One item to keep in mind when laying the front onto the backing seam.  While it isn’t necessary to do this, I try to match up the backing seam with a front seam if I’m going to be ‘stitching in the ditch’.  Stitching in the ditch is the method we will be using to quilt this one..and what is that you ask? It is simply stitching along seams we’ve already sewn.  It quilts the quilt and allows us to hide some stitching.  Plus it gives you a perfect grid to follow.


Step 5 – Pinning

As I mentioned above I like to pin in addition to spray basting. This gives me added security that my layers will not be moving.  One thing you have to consider is where to pin. You don’t want to pin anywhere you might be stitching.  For this quilt you will want to pin in larger squares as we will not be stitching through those.

For this I start on one end of the quilt and pin using my curves safety pins.  The curved pins are nice because they allow you to puncture your fabric and then come back through very easily without moving the fabric/quilt too much.

This is how your pins should look.


After I get two rows done I flip them onto themselves, keep pinning and rolling.  This allows me to keep pinning without trying to reach all over my quilt or lift fabric from the middle.  It also let’s me double check that I haven’t accidentally put a crease in the back of my quilt.


Okay, that’s it for this installment. Get to pinning and I’ll meet you back here next week for quilting and binding! Maybe it will be cool enough on Saturday night that you can drink hot cocoa and watch a movie cuddled under your new quilt! It won’t be here in Texas, but the Montana girl inside of me can dream. Hmm maybe I’ll crank the AC and pretend (I kid I kid).

Can you believe we’re going to wrap up this sew along next week? Once this is over I have a ton of fun things planned.  Would y’all be interested in more Quilting from ‘Square’ one installments? We still have plenty to cover; everything from 1/2 square triangles to applique. Let me know what you think.

Thanks for reading. Until next time; happy quilting!


As promised, Cooper & Baxter outtakes….oh these guys! (Please ignore my pet mom voice)

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