Thursday, April 17, 2014

Spray Basting - Still Not Convinced

Four years ago I tried spray basing a small quilting piece, and didn't like how it behaved. Here's that post:
Not convinced by spray basting.

Recently I did a Craftsy course called Quilting Big Projects on a Small Machine, taught by Ann Petersen.  There are a couple of large quilts on my list of unfinished projects, and if anyone has a small machine it is me. I did get a few ideas, but was a bit sorry to see that spray basting is the basis for all Ann's techniques. She has a "How To" page on her website here if you are interested to see how she does it.

I was prepared to try it again, because maybe my previous issues were due more to operator error than product failure. Rather than tackling a large quilt immediately, I spray-basted a 40cm square piece. Here's how the back looked immediately after completing the basting:
This had me worried before I even started stitching. I could smooth it flat with my hand, but as soon as I removed my hand and the wool batting relaxed, the surface became bubbly-looking again. It did look smoother after I ironed it (one of Ann's techniques).

However, with only a small amount of actual quilting, the layers began separating. This is the same problem I had last time. To try and hold it all together, I ran a line of stitching close to the edges, but you can see here that the layers have shifted so I'm getting pulling and buckling:
I will have to unpick the stay-stitching, then pin-baste this small piece to get it smooth again, before I can continue quilting. And there is no way I am going to try this method on a large quilt.

I know people who love spray basting. I have read lots of blog posts by other people who love spray basting. I did find one other quilter who had the same problem as me, and interestingly what we have in common is the woollen batting. Anne (and maybe everyone else who loves this method) uses a very smooth cotton batting. I think wool just has too much inherent springiness for the spray adhesive to bond it successfully with top and back fabrics. Once you start manipulating the piece through the machine, the layers separate.


  1. I have used basting spray quite successfully. It might be the wool. But it might be your technique. I learned my technique from Youtube. I use the kitchen island bench but you could use a table. I prepare the fabric then the batting and then the fabric. Then I fold top layer of the fabric back about half way. I spray a line and smooth a bit of fabric down. Then I spray again and smooth the next section. etc. I flip the entire thing over and repeat the process. I never spray the entire piece in one attempt. Bit by bit. I smooth and smooth as I go. If there is a wonky section I rip the layer back to that part and redo it. I find that the edges of the kitchen bench help me with getting it all smooth and wrinkle-free. I admit I do not use wool batting, but bamboo. This has worked for big and small quilts. There is a bit of floor wiping and bench wiping afterwards as I clean away over-spray. I am not a good quilter but the results using this method have certainly made me look better.

  2. What a disappointing result this is. It's good you tried, and that all is not lost; ignore the glue and pin as usual. I just this morning bought two more packets of curved pins ready for my large projects in the quilting queue.
    In the light of the comment above the obvious difference is the wadding material, but there could be other differences. I'm interested to see how this discussion develops.

  3. I haven't had that problem, but I haven't used wool batting. I've either used the poly- stuff, or the 80/20. Maybe the wool just doesn't take to it.

  4. I never used wool batting and I got good results only with small quilts. For bed size quilts I baste them, pins haven'tt worked for me either.

  5. Hi Vireya,, glue basting works super well on battings that do not have any movement within them selves, eg: cotton, dense poly, and quite a few of the blends. Unless you are using a needle-punched wool batt that is dense, I'd give the spray basting a miss this time and pin or thread baste. Good luck.