“Speedy Basting”

Whenever I have a project that involves quilting, my least favorite part of the process is pinning the layers together before quilting and then removing the pins after I have finished.  It usually takes me upwards of 45 minutes to pin a quilt and my back is not very happy with the continuous bending over the table.  Whether I am channel quilting, using stitch in the ditch, free motion or quilting with embroidery I still have to pin the layers so they don’t shift.  When I have larger projects, I do pin using safety pins made for quilts, but when I have smaller projects, I like to use the basting stitch on my machine.  You may have this special wonder on your machine too.  It is a special stitch that only makes one stitch or tack down and then stops and waits for you to manually move the material to the another spot for the next tack down stitch.  My machine automatically drops the feed teeth as soon as the stitch is selected and automatically lifts the presser foot after each stitch so I can move the fabric.  It’s very easy to get into a rhythm using this technique and you might find the basting stitches and rows become very uniform.  I still turn my quilt with each row of basting, but for small projects, it is so fast and easy.  I am currently using left over material to make hammocks for the wildlife rescue center.  They are 21”x21” before quilting.  I used regular sewing straight pins to pin only around the first row of basting in the middle and after that I just used the basting stitch itself while holding the fabric and batting layers together.  I was able to baste the square in less than 2 minutes.  After you finish your quilting, the basting stitches are easily removed just by pulling on them with your fingers:  no seam rippers needed!  Check your owner’s manual to see if, you too, have this time saving stitch on your machine.  Remember, it’s for basting anything, not just quilts!  Happy Sewing!

I laid the backing fabric on top of the batting for this little wildlife hammock, right side up. The directions ask for the quilting to be on the back of the hammock only. Apparently the wildlife can get their nails caught in the stitches so I only have two layers here instead of the regular three layer sandwich.
Next, I used two rows of straight sewing pins to hold everything together until I got to the machine.
On my machine the stitch is #5 in the utility group.
The picture shows a short and long stitch. The short stitch is the one the machine makes and the long one is you pulling the fabric to the next spot where you want to place a stitch. Remember, there are no feed teeth up so you have to move the material manually. Your basting stitches can be as close together or as far apart as you want.
This is how the stitch appears on my screen. It’s showing just the one stitch.
Here are the first two basting rows. Since I hadn’t decided how I was going to quilt the piece, I left the middle between the rows open. Always start quilting in the center of your work to reduce fabric shifting.
I am making multiple hammocks of different fabrics and colors. Can you find the four rows of basting stitches? Next step is to add the quilting and finish the rest of the process to complete the hammock.
When you are finished with the basting, just pull on the threads and everything comes out easily. I use this stitch in garment construction because it is so much faster to remove than a standard lengthened straight stitch.