How to Put Quilts Together Using Binder Clips

Written by denise bowman
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How to Put Quilts Together Using Binder Clips
Large bulldog clips can help simplify the process of basting a quilt together. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

Basting a large quilt often involved cleaning a large open space on the floor, securing the quilt backing fabric to a hardwood or carpeted floor with tape or pins, and then basting the quilt with large stitches to hold it together. All too often, the results were a sore back and the realisation that the quilt had also been basted to the floor. A better technique is to baste a quilt by securing it with bulldog clips to a table top. Even the largest quilt can be basted in this manner by moving the quilt to access it in sections.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • 6-foot folding table or other large flat surface
  • Quilt backing
  • Jumbo bulldog clips
  • Quilt batting
  • Quilt top
  • Needle
  • Quilting thread
  • #1 Rust-proof quilting pins

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  1. 1

    Spread out the quilt back fabric on the table top with the right side down. Line up the centre of the quilt backing with the centre of the table.

  2. 2

    Secure one long end of the backing fabric to the table with bulldog clips. Make sure the fabric is smooth and unpuckered.

  3. 3

    Secure the opposite end of the backing fabric to the opposite end of the table with bulldog clips. The fabric should be taut but stretched tight.

  4. 4

    Smooth out the material and use bulldog clips to secure one of the short sides of the backing fabric to the table. Repeat this on the opposite short side of the table.

  5. 5

    Center the quilt batting on top of the backing fabric. Smooth the batting so there are no puckers or creases.

  6. 6

    Fold the quilt top in half vertically with the right side together. Center this folded edge along the centre of the secured batting and backing. Unfold the quilt top, smoothing the fabric. The quilt sandwich will now consist of the quilt top with the right side up, the batting and the backing fabric with the right side against the table top.

  7. 7

    Thread a needle with a long piece of quilting thread and knot one end. The thread should be long enough to reach from the centre to the edge of the quilt top.

  8. 8

    Starting in the centre of the quilt, make large basting stitches from the centre of the quilt vertically out to the edge. Pull the needle off the thread and let the excess thread hang in place.

  9. 9

    Thread the needle with another piece of thread, knot the end and run long basting stitches from the centre of the quilt to the opposite end. Repeat this step along the two horizontal sides of the quilt.

  10. 10

    Repeat Step 9 to baste four diagonal lines from the centre of the quilt to the four corners.

  11. 11

    Secure a large quilt by sewing additional horizontal and vertical basting lines parallel to the original basting lines. Basting lines should be no more than 4 inches apart.

  12. 12

    Remove the bulldog clips. The quilt is now ready for hand or machine quilting.

Tips and warnings

  • If a large folding table is not available, the quilt can be basted on a smaller table, such as a folding card table. It will just require basting the centre of the quilt first and then readjusting the quilt on the table to baste all the way to the edges.
  • Instead of basting the quilt together with thread, use rustproof #1 quilting pins in the same pattern to secure the three layers of the quilt.
  • When attaching the quilt backing to the table, be careful not to pull the fabric too tightly, which can cause puckers in the fabric when the bulldog clips are released from the basted quilt.
  • Do not leave metal pins in the quilt for an extended period of time. It can leave rust spots on the fabric if the environment is humid.basting large quilts

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