12 Useful Facts about basting

I am a lover of words and of all things textile. Sometimes the two come together when I ponder words used in the creation of quilts or textile art. Recently I was surprised when my granddaughter demanded to know what a turkey baster was. I became a bit fixated on the word and decided to investigate useful facts about basting.

1. Definition – I always like to start with the word and its meaning. According to dictionary.com basting has multiple meanings. Let’s focus on the one most related to this blog. Basting is “sewing with long, loose stitching designed to keep the material in place until the final sewing.” I couldn’t have said it better myself.

2017-02-13-0012. Machine Basting – If you put your machine on your longest stitch it is your basting stitch. It is long and can be easily removed.

3. Machine Basting use one– A long stitch is very useful for gathering fabric for ruffles. After you sew the long 2017-02-13-004stitches you grab the one end and carefully pull it up. I always do a double row of basting stitches in case the thread breaks. If I do two rows, the thread never breaks. Guess what happens when I only do one row?


4. Machine Basting use two – A long stitch is also great for easing a round piece of fabric into a straighter one. Specifically, easing a sleeve into an armhole. Once you can master this you will find this skill comes in handy.  I have used it in quilting for circles.2017-02-13-005

5. Hand basting – Hand basting is when you sew the long stitches with a needle and thread, no machines. The red thread is done by machine, the green by hand. I use it when I am setting something in and there are just too many pins. If you want this slightly or even very gathered piece to be sewn in perfectly, do it first by hand. Baste it in fast and smooth. Then go back and sew 2017-02-13-006it down. I do this for nice dresses, like my wedding dress.

6. Long arm basting – On your long arm there is probably a setting for basting. I have a Gammill so this is what my setting looks like. You should find yours and know how to turn it on.

7. Long arm basting stitch – The basting stitch is useful for when you are securing a quilt to the back but not carefully or artistically. As you can see the distance between stitches is HUGE. For that reason, I do not use it much.2017-02-13-007 I manually make a stitch every 4 centimeters or so as I move the machine across.

8. Why is basting good? Great question! According to this site, it’s great for avoiding puckers when one piece is being eased into another.

9. Cautions? Actually there is. I had not thought of this but this article reminded me that you have to remember to reset the stitch length when you are done basting. I have forgotten to do this a few times!

10. Known by other names? As a master of fact there is. Diagonal tacking is another way of describing a certain kind of basting. I have only used this when I took a tailoring class and my teacher referred to it as tailor tacks.

11. Machine video – Would you like a video? Then you are in luck! Here is a pretty good one on machine basting.


12. Hand video? Oh, you would like to see a video of hand basting. Here you go!

Sew happy!

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I like to write fact posts. Read the one I posted before this.

Filed under: Facts, Stitches

Tags: basting, stitches

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