My short answer, never ever, ever again! Let me explain…warning, it’s a long one. You might want to grab a cuppa!
I have talked on here before about my fear of quilting. Like a lot of quilters I relish the thrill of a new project, the pulling of crisp new fabrics and sewing together what we hope will be a beautiful quilt top.
Then it’s time to baste, for those not in the know this is the process of sandwiching the quilt top with a layer of wadding/batting fabric that will give the quilt its snuggly comforting feel and the backing fabric. After quilting it (basting) is my least favourite task. This is such an important stage to get right, it could literally make or break the quilt! Each layer needs to be perfectly flat with no wrinkles or creases. You can either get the layers to “stick” together with safety pins, spray glue or basting stitches (something I really don’t have the patience for!). When I first started making quilts I used safety pins, and I never achieved the right result. I always ended up with wrinkles and crinkles where the fabric had shifted, so by the time I had finished pinning I pretty much had to redo it! Plus they are a pain when sewing and you’re having to stop to keep move them out the way. However I was too scared to try the glue spray. There came a day when I couldn’t face the thought of spending an age on my knees wrestling with pins and fabrics so I decided to give the glue a try. I started off on little projects and slowly built up to whole quilts and now I can say it is my favoured way of basting. It is certainly a whole lot quicker and easier (I find) to get each layer wrinkle free, or as wrinkle free as I can anyway!
So I’m wondering to myself if I have a tried and tested method that I like why on earth would I experiment with something else!? Truthfully? Impatience! Fusible was all I had (my mum had given it to me to see if I wanted to give it a go) I couldn’t wait to get quilting so decided to spare the few day wait for my regular batting and go ahead with trying something new. I mean it can’t be that much different to using glue?
The packet itself doesn’t come with a whole lot of instructions, in fact there are no instructions on how to use it, what temperature you’re supposed to have your iron at, nothing helpful at all. Even my google searches were not very fruitful! One thing I did learn was people recommended using safety pins in addition to the batting. Hmm OK I thought so what is the point of fusing it if you have to pin it anyway? Ignoring my gut instinct that this was sounding like trouble I went ahead with it anyway.
So it is not as simple as it makes out, you actually have to iron both sides because the heat from the iron does not go through the the other side! So you spend ages on the floor getting it straight and wrinkle free you then have to carefully pick it up and carry it to the iron, by then of course you have some sneaky bits moving. I pressed the topside which took some time only to pick it up notice the back had not adhered to the batting at all! Ugh so more pressing! This was all very time consuming and definitely not quicker (or easier) than my other method.
Anyway the tips were right, I did need safety pins, in fact the glue fusing is so light I ended up having pins in the whole darn thing. Not only that every time I picked it up to do some more quilting (I was hand-quilting it so it was every day over a few weeks) it had come un-stuck and needed a fresh iron! Grr! The final nail in the coffin for me was near completion of the quilt I was giving it ANOTHER press as it was loose and wrinkly and would you know what happened to that dear quilt that I had spent the last 3 weeks hand quilting?? It BURNT!!! Yes that’s right, the end of a long and hard worked project and I bloody burnt it. I wish I could say I cried, got angry or something but I just went into a kind of shock and numbness.
I didn’t hold it down for long, well obviously it was too long as it burnt but it was no longer than any other time yet the poor fabric must have gone enough is enough.
So I did what all insane perfectionist’s do in that situation after not being happy with just chopping that bit off (I tried I really did to be happy with that option), I unpicked ALL my hand quilting, yes that’s right ALL of it, all 3 weeks worth. Do you want to know how long it takes to unpick 3 weeks of hand stitching? 3 HOURS! I have to admit that did hurt a lot! But yes I am that person when they are unhappy with an element of their work I will go to stupid lengths to correct it and make it right.
Moral of the story?
1.If it is for something important do not under any circumstances use it as an opportunity to try something new.
2. Don’t bother with fusible batting, it honestly is a complete waste of time! I spent more time trying to keep it stuck together than if I had sat down on the floor and stitched basted the whole thing.
What was interesting shortly after I had tucked it away in the naughty quilt cupboard while I calmed down, I pulled another quilt that had been shoved in there for bad behavior. This quilt I had used spray baste on it, and to my amazement the layers were still perfectly stuck together, despite being a good couple of months since I had basted it. This has decided it for me spray basting is for me.
Having said all that, maybe for smaller projects or where you know you are going to quilt it in one sitting it might be OK, otherwise I personally think you’re better off with one of the other methods.
So tell me, how do you baste yours? Have you used fusible batting what did you think?