As do most of my ideas, this one started with a conversation.
A few conversations actually.
I’ve had a very surprising amount of friends and family show interest in quilting – surprising to me at least! For some reason, even though I’ve connected with a large number of quilters through social media, it still seems like something no one actually does in real life….like all these very real people I talk to and interact with on a regular basis were just these internet beings who made beautiful things…but yet they also have jobs and families and stand in line at grocery stores and walk their dogs and therefore may actually be someone I pass in the hallways at work!
I don’t know. I just didn’t think that anyone outside of my little quilty internet bubble actually cared about quilts.
Yet more and more people were asking me questions. I remember being a curious beginner – so lost, so confused, and so grateful to have a mentor while I was learning that I began to think…what if instead of vaguely pointing these people to the interwebs for tutorials or recommending a local quilting class (confession…I hate classes and have never taken one for sewing…) what if I actually hosted an online beginner series? A virtual sew-along geared towards folks who have never touched a sewing machine but want to give it a go!
So that’s exactly what I did. Better yet, it’s a never-ended quilt-along. The tutorials will live right here, and you can join at any time!
I’ve loved seeing all the quilts made through these tutorials, and I especially love sharing this hobby I’ve grown quite passionate about with friends new and old. It not only makes my day to see photos of quilts from my patterns, but it’s also a huge source of creative inspiration! If you feel inclined to share, you can find me here, on Instagram, and Facebook! (Mainly IG!)
On Instagram: @rebaleighhandmade
Share your creations: #rebaleighhandmade #rebaleighLearntoQuilt
On Facebook: @rebaleighhandmade
There are approximately four hundred thousand different ways to baste a quilt. Or that’s how I felt whilst googling “How to baste a quilt”…
I’ve tried a few different ways with some luck and some mishaps, so I thought I’d bring the total quilt basting tutorials online to four hundred thousand and one!
Why do I baste on my wall?
1) I hate to pin. I just won’t do it.
2) I hate getting on and off the floor. It kills my knees, I hate fighting with a sticky quilt that folds all over itself, and it makes it SUCH a chore that I procrastinate this step.
3) I finally solved the problem of over-spray and a gummed up presser foot. More on that later.
Lastly – this method works best for smaller quilts, but I have successfully wall basted an 72″ square lap quilt. Just get a chair and strong masking tape. 🙂 Ready to get started?
Masking tape or painters tape (masking tape is stronger for larger quilts)
Basting spray (I use whatever I have – I’ve used lots of brands and they all work just fine for me.)
Backing, batting, and pieced quilt top – make sure your backing and batting is 3″ or so larger than your top on all sides.
Step 1: Tape your backing to the wall with generous amounts of tape. Start with the top, then smooth it out from the middle to the sides, adjusting your top pieces of tape if needed to make sure the fabric is flat and smooth. Do not spray your backing!
Now here’s my secret – I had awful issues with over-spray getting on my wall and batting, then gumming up my presser foot. So now I ALWAYS spray the smaller layer either outside or on a painters canvas and stick it to the larger layer. I end up with ZERO sticky spots around the edges doing it this way! That’s a win in my book.
Step 2: Lay your batting on a painter canvas or somewhere you don’t mind getting a little sticky and spray it with the basting spray. Pay special attention to get all the way to the edges and corners. Don’t go crazy, just enough to make it feel like a post-it note is perfect.
Step 3: Carefully pick up the batting and stick it to your backing. I find it helpful to stick it lightly at the top so it stays put, then start smoothing from the middle outward. You can gently lift areas up and re-position if needed.
Step 4: Lay your pieced top on your canvas and spray it – take care to get the edges and corners, just like the batting.
Step 5: In the same way, stick your top to your batting. Go slowly and make sure your seams are laying flat and smooth. You can gently lift it and re-position if you need to. Once smoothed down carefully peel your tape off and you’re ready to quilt! I typically trim my batting and backing to 2″ or so from the edge of my quilt to make sure it doesn’t fold over while quilting. Not like that ever happens…..
Happy knees = happy basting = happy quilting!
Charm pack of Thicket by Gingiber for Moda
1/2 yard of Tuner Tumble City (City Loft Fusions) by AGF Studio for Art Gallery Fabrics
Backing: Roses and Letters (Capsules – Letters) by AGF Studio for Art Gallery Fabrics
I have a reeeeeaaaaallly hard time throwing away scraps. My trash-it threshold is 3/4″ wide or smaller…anything else goes into a scrap bin. I have what I call my “pincushion” scrap bin. Here lies the most petite, eensiest, teensiest little bits of pretty fabric I just can’t part with. And ultimately – they all end up as quilt-as-you-go pincushions!
These super quick pincushions are my favorite fast project and usually end up finding their way to quilty friends. I have too many pretty pincushions sitting around…..said no one, ever.
So take a dive into your scraps with me, if you will:
Find your favorite tiny scraps – the ones I chose for this project were 1-1.25″ in width and 2-3″ in length. But there’s no rules! Did I mention that yet? No rules with this one.
Cut two small scraps of batting a touch larger than what you’d like your final size to be. This is not an exact project – just somewhere along the size of “bigger” will work just fine.
Lay your first two strips on the batting, right sides together, and sew them to the batting with a 1/4″ seam. Yep – straight to the batting, sewing right off the end of fabric.
Fold it over and press. If you’re using large scraps, you can skip the pressing until the end, but I find it helpful for the little guys to keep them flat.
Place your third strip on, right sides together, and sew it to the batting with a 1/4″ seam. Wash, rinse, and repeat until you have an entire row of pretty little strips. My pincushion will be long and narrow – but you do you. Give it good press to make sure everything lays flat. You can even sew a 1/8″ seam on both ends to tack down the last strips if you’d like.
For the back of the pincushion, quilt a large scrap of fabric to the other piece of batting – I just do a few quick lines and call it good.
If you want some stitching on the top of your pincushion, go ahead and add it now. Because the fabric is already invisibly secured to the batting it’s not necessary. I added some simple lines to this one, but sometimes I don’t add any. Again – no rules. Practice a little FMQ if you’re feeling brave! Trim both the top and back to whatever size makes you happy. (My pieces trimmed to 2.5″ x 7″.)
Place them right sides together and sew 1/4″ around all sides, leaving a gap 1″-ish wide so you can turn the pincushion. Clip the corners and turn the pincushion right side out.
Give it quick press and fill with your stuffing of choice. (Crushed walnut shells are my go-to!) Hand stitch the opening closed, and you’re done!
Be careful, they can be addicting.
I have lots of favorite things. Ben and Jerry’s ice cream. Cookie butter from Trader Joe’s. Pioneer Woman recipes. Navy fabric.
And now quilt-as-you-go is on the favorites list! Someday I’ll get brave enough to make an entire quilt this way, but right now it’s my absolute go-to method for small projects like pillows, bags, and even pincushions! I first got interested in it from Maureen Cracknell’s QAYG Herringbone quilt here. It’s so incredibly easy, combining two steps into one to make a super fast project!
I made these QAYG pocket pillows for my niece and nephew for Christmas this year. If you want a quick sew to try out quilt-as-you-go, the pattern is available in the shop and contains three different QAYG pocket options and instructions for both an envelope or zippered back.
Zippered pillows are also my favorite.
Reminiscent of classic vintage quilts, this scrappy quilt was designed specifically for my mother, yet happened completely by accident! I knew I wanted to make my mom a star quilt, so I drew up a pattern and got started. I excitedly made one block…and I hated it.
In a rather unprecedented fit of improv sewing, I sewed another star. And another. And another, until I had twelve stars.
I had enough squares cut to make 12 more stars, but instead I sewed them into giant half square triangles. Then…confession time…I sewed them again into the very first hourglass blocks I’ve ever made! Sometimes it takes awhile to get around to trying new things…
Adding some strips here and there to get the sizes right ended up as the Lowcountry quilt as you see it! It basically designed itself as I went along, which ironically is exactly what my mother would have done. Throw the instructions out and do it her way.
As I was finishing up this quilt, loving every second of working with Amy Sinibaldi’s Charleston fabrics, my hometown girlfriends and I decided to take a reunion trip somewhere. I suggested the first place that came to mind and a few weeks later I found myself walking down bumpy cobblestone streets, eating the best shrimp ever, spotting dolphins in the Charleston harbor, and walking past breathtaking southern mansions. As we took turns taking pictures of Rainbow Row, I shared with my friends the inspiration behind the trip – that we were all there because of fabric!
They looked at me like I was crazy. I’m okay with it.
My favorite thing about this quilt is all the memories I’ve associated with it – from making a special gift for my mother to inspiring one of my favorite weekends spent with friends in the lowcountry of South Carolina. It was a hard one to let go of, but it will be forever cherished by one of my favorite people in the entire world.
May all your quilts be this loved.
Pattern comes with two sizes: skinny throw pictured
Skinny throw: 51.5” x 75.5”, 24 blocks: 10” finished
Wide throw: 75.5” x 75.5”, 36 blocks: 10” finish
Fabric: Charleston by Amy Sinibaldi for Art Gallery Fabrics
Pieced and quilted by: Rebecca Pedela