Posts Tagged With: basting

Tutorial Tuesday: Don’t make it hard

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Don’t make it hard: Elmer’s Glue Basting

When I cook I want to make something that looks hard but is really easy.

easy cooking

Don’t make it hard!

That reflects one of my most used mantras: Don’t make it hard.

That advice works just as well at the sewing machine as it does at the oven. Which is why I was anxious to try a “make it easy” way to baste that I picked up from my friend Tish, a Red Hen Quilting Bee friend.

I was a little nervous to start because I wasn’t trying it first on a practice piece. See how much I trust Tish? It needed to work – I was on a past due deadline with the Winter Table Mat for the Seasons at my Window collection.

close up sm

a sneak peek of the Seasons at my Window table mat

And I am happy to report that I LOVE basting this way!  (insert angel choir music here.)!!!

There is no pinning or poking or extra stitching.  There is no puckering, no folding over, no stretching to get things where they need to be. Everything is where you want it to be before you start stitching! So I’m excited to share it in hopes that you’ll love it, too.


You will need Elmer’s School Glue – the washable kind with the chalk board on the jar.

And you will need to dilute it – 2 parts glue and 1 part water. I just squeezed out 1/3 of the glue and filled up the bottle with water. Shake it really, really good.

glue sm

I labeled the bottle so I’ll know which one is already diluted.


Gather your usual quilt sandwich ingredients: backing, batting, pieced top.

Lay the backing on a flat surface. I put a plastic table cloth on my kitchen island before I laid out the backing so that if any glue soaked through cleanup would be easier.


The back was always harder for me before because I couldn’t see what I was doing.


Squeeze out the glue in S curves – thin lines about 2-3” apart. Sometimes it will lay out in beads rather than a solid line and that’s okay, too.


Place your batting on top of that and smooth it down. Make sure to measure fabric and batting so that  they are several inches bigger than the pieced top. Flip both pieces over and make sure the backing is smoothed out well. Don’t stretch the batting or the backing, though. Flip both pieces (now stuck together) back over so that the batting is on top.

Center your pieced top over the batting. Fold the top back to expose ¼ to ½ of the batting.

Squeeze out the glue in S curves – thin lines about 2-3” apart. Remember, little beads will work fine, too.

s curves

I’ll admit I was still doubting myself at this point.

Lay the top back over the glued batting and smooth into place. Be careful not to stretch the top. On the other hand, the moisture from the glue will allow you to ease into place anything that is not quite flat.


Repeat with the other quadrants of the pieced top until it is all glue basted in place. Remember, you are not trying to have a solid surface of glue.

sandwich sm

Is it dry yet?

Place on a flat surface and allow to dry overnight. Of course, if you live in a high dry climate like some sisters, it may only take until lunch time. If the glue is completely dried it won’t gum up your needle when you quilt.

I have to tell you that my first thought as I started to quilt was, “Why make it hard?!?” This is going to happen often for me and I’m getting ready to call my sister to let her know I’ve found a way to make her life easier.


Let us know how it works for you.

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