Pin Basting a Small Quilt

Today I want to show you how I pin-baste a small quilt.

My coworker and his wife are having a baby, so a whipped up a small quilt as a gift for them. For large quilts, I baste them on a quilt frame at my in-laws house.  For anything under 50″ or so, I baste them over my dining table.

For this process I like to use a slightly larger backing than normal.  About 5″ extra on all sides if I can.  I start by pressing the quilt top and backing really well.  Then I move to the table.  I put down my big rotary cutting mat first.  This will help prevent any pin-gouges into my table top.


Next I lay the backing on the table, wrong side up.  I make sure it is smooth and I clamp it down using a few woodworking clamps. I make sure that the overhang is approximately the same length on all sides.  At this point, if you want to secure your backing a little further, you can use packing tape to stick the sides of the quilt down to the underside of your table.  Just clamps work fine for me.


After I get it clamped down, the dogs remind me that I forgot to buy batting.  So if you’re me, you run to the store and pick some up. Then, after returning home, cut your batting to the approximate size, and smooth it over your backing.


Next lay out the quilt top and make sure that there is enough backing overhanging on each side to cover.


Smooth your quilt top as much as you can.  Now start pinning, working from the center out, and smoothing as you go.

Each batting requires different quilting and pinning.  For this lightweight batting, I was spacing the pins about 4″-5″ apart. I can guesstimate this measurement with my hand.


Work your way out to the sides of the quilt.  Make sure that your rotary mat is underneath the area you are pinning.  This will help make sure your pins go through all the layers, and protect your table.  I can easily slide my mat around underneath the quilt as I go.

For areas that overhang, you can either un-clamp the quilt and re position it, or you can slide your rotary may out so it acts as a table extension and pin over the mat.


Once my quilt is basted how I like it, I remove the clamps and cut away the excess backing and batting to about 2″ from the quilt top.


This guy is ready to be quilted!

For another tutorial on this topic you can check out the link below for a quick video by Pam from The Stitch TV show.  I’ve been watching The Stitch TV Show in the QPD for a while.  Lynn and Pam talk about some very interesting subjects in the quilt work and have a few laughs while they do it.

Until next time,

The Quilt Police

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