Welcome back for Part 2 of our Beginner Baby Quilt Tutorial Series. This series is perfect for beginner quilters who want a fun and simple project they can create over a weekend. This series goes perfectly with our YouTube video series on the same subject, so if you want to watch those video tutorials, you can also check them out here.
Today, we will go over how to press the seams of our strip quilt, and I’ll also show you a super simple way to baste your quilt sandwich.
How To Press Seams Open
Once your quilt top is pieced, you want to press the entire quilt top to eliminate any wrinkles and ensure the seams will lay flat when you baste and quilt the quilt. For this example, I will be showing you how to press the seams open. This technique will ensure the seams are laying the flattest they can possibly lay.
First, you want to turn your iron on the cotton setting. You can use steam or starch spray if you would like. Steam or starch spray will help with wrinkles and help the seams lay flat and pressed.
Bring your quilt top to the ironing board and lay it out with the seams facing up. Before you press the seam, you need to open it. Use your free hand to open the seam and place the iron at the beginning of the seam, ensuring that the iron is pressing the seam open.
Slide your finger down the seam to open it and follow it with the iron. Just be careful not to burn your finger! Continue this down the seam until you have pressed the entire seam open.
Now repeat this step with all the seams. If you accidentally press the next to the seam you are working on and mess up the open seam, don’t worry. You can go back over it with the iron to fix it.
After pressing all the seams open, flip the quilt top over and gently run the ironing over the top. You don’t have to push hard. This is a great time to use steam. Press out any wrinkles and get your quilt top crisp and ready for basting.
How To Baste a Quilt
Basting a quilt means you are putting the layers of the quilt together. The layers of a quilt are the quilt top, batting, and backing. There are several different ways to baste a quilt, such as:
- Pin basting: You can use safety or basting pins to pin all three layers together. It would be best if you used slightly large safety pins, at least 1”, or you can purchase basting pins which are safety pins that have a curve to them that makes it easier to push them through the layers of the quilt.
- Glue basting: You can use glue to baste the quilt layers together. You can use glue made specifically for this task or water-soluble glue. This is the method I will use for this tutorial since it is easy and non-toxic.
Spray adhesive basting: Several companies have made spray adhesives for basting quilts. This is a quick and easy way to baste a quilt, but ensure you are in a well-ventilated room or outside. The spray is not good to breathe in.
For the example quilt, I will use the glue-basting method with plain old Elmer’s Glue. Elmer’s Glue is an excellent choice because it is water-soluble, cheap, and non-toxic. You can either dilute the glue in water in a spray bottle or use it straight out of the bottle it comes in.
I like to use it straight from the bottle because it’s simpler and gives more of a hold than diluted Elmer’s Glue. Follow these steps to baste your quilt.
Step 1: Prepare the Quilt Top
Now that the quilt top is pressed, you must trim it to the correct width. We are making a 38”x40” baby quilt for this tutorial. That means we need to trim the width of the quilt top down to 38”. If your strips were 42” long, you would be trimming about 2” from each side.
To do this, fold the quilt top in half, lining up the bottom and top edges. Lay the quilt top out on your cutting mat and trim one side of the quilt top 2”.
Measure the width of the quilt top and figure out how much you need to trim off the other side. For this example quilt top, I also need to trim off 2” on the other side. As you can see in the image below, some of my strips were shorter than 42”, which is totally fine. Just line up the 2” mark of your ruler with the longest strip like I did.
The quilt top is ready for basting.
Step 2: Prepare the Backing
The quilt backing should be at least 2” bigger than the quilt top on each side. So, if we are using a 38”x40” quilt top, that means we need a backing that measures 42”x44”. You will need 1 ¼ yard of regular-width quilting cotton for a backing.
To prepare the backing, press out any wrinkles with your iron, and trim the top and bottom edges, so they are straight.
Step 3: Prepare the Batting
The batting should be the same size or larger than the backing. Cut your batting to size. We recommend using 100% cotton batting for beginner quilters since it is easy to work with and lays nice and flat for quilting.
Step 4: Baste the Backing and Batting
First, we want to baste the backing and batting together. Lay the batting out flat on a table or floor. Make sure it is lying flat with no bumps or creases.
Lay the backing onto the batting and make sure it is centered on the batting.
Fold back half of the backing and drizzle glue over the batting. You don’t need a lot of glue for it to be effective. I drizzle a line every 5”-6”.
Fold the backing back over the batting and run your hands over the fabric. Press out any air bubbles or creases that may arise until the backing fabric is flat. Repeat on the other half of the backing.
Allow the glue to dry completely before you baste the quilt top. After the glue has dried, flip the backing and batting over to expose the side of the batting.
Step 5: Baste the Quilt Top
Lay the quilt top onto the batting as you did with the backing. Make sure the quilt top is centered on the batting.
Fold back half of the quilt top and, just like the backing, drizzle glue over the batting and fold the quilt top back over to press the fabric to the batting.
While pressing the quilt top down onto the batting, ensure you are not folding or messing up the seams between the quilt top and the batting. Run your hands over the entire half of the quilt top to get out any air bubbles or creases that might happen.
Repeat the gluing and pressing on the second half of the quilt top and allow the glue to dry completely.
Now the quilt is basted and ready for quilting! Exciting, right? Next blog post, we will go over how to quilt this cute little quilt sandwich with the Dabline Swirl quilting template.
Please leave a comment if you have any questions! Thank you so much for reading.