I tried pin basting and oh my aching back, not to mention I always, without fail, would have a pucker on the back of my quilt when I had finished quilting.
I tried spray basting, certainly better than pin basting but still that dreaded pucker...and I would get a headache spraying those chemicals for a large quilt.
I am one of those people that loves quilting my own quilts on my domestic sewing machine...as we all know though, that requires a lot of moving and handling of the basted layers. I twiddled my thumbs, obsessed, finally had a light bulb go off in my head....ELMERS Glue! I knew you could use it for different aspects of quilting.. I had seen others on the Internet who used it for their binding, for making sure their points matched. I always had Elmers Glue on hand, since I am a mother of four.
I researched and I found a blog that uses it, however; she chose to mix her glue with water or alcohol..I said to myself lets just try it as is.
There started my love affair with Elmers glue basting. Now, this is not a perfect technique either... It has it's pro's and con's. You have to wash your quilt when you are done, so if this is one that is a wall hanging and is too delicate to be washed, I would not recommend glue. A very important consideration is that it may not work with all fabrics, so make a test block if you are unsure! It also does require some squeezing on your part.. Keeping the glue upside down in a cup helps and so does keeping the tip of the glue bottle unplugged with a needle. I also wait to quilt my newly basted quilt, just to be sure it is totally dry. I have had others tell me they had issue with not being able to get the glue everywhere it needs to be? The last and probably most important con to this technique: the glue itself! If Elmers ever changes it's formulation I cannot guarantee this will work. Wouldn't it be horrible to not be able to remove the glue? With that consideration in mind I plan on making a small (12x12) glued sandwich, using the same fabric backing as my quilt, I will practice my quilting on that and then wash it before I start basting the whole quilt...just to be sure.
For positives, I have never, not once had a pucker since I used this method. Not once have I not liked the results when I was done. It takes me a fraction of the time and quilting through the layers has never been an issue for me. It is also incredibly inexpensive.
Now theoretically I can see how it could be an issue for your machine if you over glue...not something I have ever encountered. I am pretty sure I have used this method for at least 20 quilts, though I didn't keep count.
I think it's worth noting I usually use 80/20 batting or cotton batting but it should work with any washable, dry-able batting. I am leery of 100% poly batting because if your iron touches it directly, it will melt, however; a friend of mine uses it frequently and loves this method with it..
1. To start you have to have a table. I do recommend the biggest you can find, however; I have done king size quilts on my table without issue, it just takes more maneuvering.
This table fits a baby quilt or small lap quilt
beautifully, anything bigger and I have to adapt.
2. Get all your materials together:
pins (for marking middle, sides, etc.)
pressed quilt top and backing
Iron set on cotton setting or even lower if your iron is ultra hot!
I almost made the mistake of using the wrong kind of glue once and that would be a disaster. Elmer's makes multiple different kinds, one in particular states it washes out when wet but is set when dry, now that would be bad!!!!
Once all materials are together and organized:
I fold the half I just glued back on the batting and press out all the wrinkles, making sure to not stretch out my quilt top (just like regular basting). I then start pressing from the middle to the edge. I do a nice slow, even pressure. I've found I don't have to be real careful. You do have to set all the glue you have put on your quilt top though.
*Sometimes this requires multiple iron passes on the fabric.
11. Fold back glued area. Use your hand to straighten the quilt top. Press from the middle of the quilt out, being sure not to press in any wrinkles. Make sure it is straight and true with the other half.
(note: if you have a larger quilt top, your job is not done. You would unclamp and move the remaining areas that have not been basted to the top of the table, I usually do a side and top and then the other side and top. Working from the basted area out so that you don't box yourself in. You do this until the whole quilt top is basted and wrinkle free. This quilt obviously fits on my table so I took a picture of a different quilt top that is larger. I pulled down and then folded back the portions that are not basted. I would put glue on the folded over area and then press from the basted areas out to the edge. When I had this section done I would move the whole quilt top and batting to get any other areas.
12. At this point I will often mark the sides, the middle of the top. I will often trim the backing so that it is just a couple of inches away from the top. If you have a pieced back this is critical if you want it to be centered.
As you can see in the picture, I circled my pin (so you could see it), showing through from the front. I use this as my reference as to the positioning of the top.
14. I put my backing on top of the batting.
15. I proceed in the same exact method as I did for the quilt top. I fold back half, glue, fold back, hand press down, then use the iron to press from the middle out.
I then do the other half. (I did not include pictures since it is exactly the same as the top) see # 5 - #11.
16. Test your corners and sides as you go.
Note: I have had multiple people express concern that their table would not be able to handle the heat of the iron. If you are concerned and do not want to try this method on your expensive table I have two suggestions. 1. If you have room, buy a cheap second hand square/rectangle table to do this on or 2. Don't do it. I personally can not be held responsible for all the variables that exist regarding this or any method. I can only report what works for me. It's up to you to decide if you want to try this. If you do try this I would suggest starting with a small item to practice with, then decide if you like it or not. My sincere desire is that is makes your quilting life easier not that it cause additional stress.