Thread Basting A Quilt


Thread basting is the first method of sandwiching a quilt many quilters learn to use. We explore some methods of thread basting your quilt sandwich.

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Thread Basting A Quilt

Thread basting is the first method of sandwiching a quilt many quilters learn to use. Superior Threads uses this definition for thread basting, “using thread allows for a tighter fit of the top fabric, batting, and backing fabric which results in a smoother quilt.” The advantages of thread basting are the smoothness, the gentleness, and the quickness of the method. You won’t have to continually smooth and adjust the layers to keep wrinkles away, and the gentleness is the thread can be pulled out without harming the quilt.

How To Thread Baste A Quilt

There are several types of thread quilters use to baste their quilts; cotton, polyester, silk, and water soluble.

  • Cotton is the most commonly used thread in quilting. There is basting thread that is meant specifically for basting, as it is designed to break easily. This won’t harm your quilting if you sew through a thread, it will simply break.
  • Polyester is used by some quilters because of the slipperiness of the thread, making it easier to pull out without it grabbing the batting and bringing it along.
  • Silk is a very strong fiber, and its slipperiness is also a strong point in its favor. However, it’s also an expensive thread, and best used in silk fabric quilts.
  • Water-soluble is a thread I discovered while researching this article. It makes sense to use in basting, in that we use water-soluble pencils, markers, and glues; so why not thread? Superior Threads makes two types of water-soluble threads: one for home machines, and one for Long-arm machines. They dissolve in cold water.


The how to:

To Sandwich the quilt; First, lay out your backing on a flat surface, and smooth from the center out. Next, lay out the batting on the backing fabric, and smooth from the center out. Finally, place your quilt top on the batting, smoothing from the center out. Once everything is smoothed out, you are ready to begin thread basting.

Chose the thread you wish to use, then pick out a long hand needle with a large eye.

Items Needed For Thread Basting


Many beginners use a straight stitch to baste their quilts. Stitch in order of the number in this photo.

  • Top from 1 to 2
  • Under from 2 to 3
  • Top from 3 to 4
  • Under from 4 to 5


Stitching A Quilt Using the Herringbone Stitch

Using a straight stitch (or herringbone), begin at the center of your quilt and make large stitches, not longer than 1 or 1 ½ in to the bottom of your quilt, then stitch from the center to the top of you quilt. Then from the center, stitch to the right, then again to the left. You are building a thread basting grid.

Then, stitch a row across from the center line to the right, continue to make rows to the right. Do the same to the left. Next, stitch a line from the top to the bottom of your quilt.

Thread Basting A Quilt
Thread Basting A Quilt


You are now ready to quilt your quilt!

Example of Thread Basting A Quilt


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The fabric on the back of a Quilt Sandwich (Top, Batting and Backing).

Same As: Lining
A temporary method of holding the quilt Sandwich layers together while you finish assembling it. This can be conducted using Basting Sprays, pins, clips or temporary stitching called a Tacking Stitch or Basting Stitch.
The layer in the middle of a quilt sandwich between the Top and Backing layers consisting of wool, polyester, blends, silk, or cotton.

Same As: Stuffing, Filling, Wadding, Filler
Quilt Top
The top layer of a quilt Sandwich.
Traditional description of a quilt: a sandwich consisting of a Quilt Top, Batting (filling), and a Backing.
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