Pool noodles are a fun toy to use in bodies of water, but they also have many other unexpected uses. The possibilities are seemingly endless for these colorful foam tubes, from DIY holiday decorations to a classroom learning aid.
You can use pool noodles to make fun crafts and pieces of decor to display in your home, but did you know they’re also incredibly useful if you’re a quilter? A pool noodle makes the basting process much easier when you’re creating a quilt. Let’s explore how you can baste a quilt using pool noodles, so you can create a beautiful, wrinkle-free quilt every time.
What Is Basting?
Before we dive into how you can use pool noodles to baste, we must discuss the basting process in general. Basting is a very important step in the quilting process that you must complete with thought and care. Although it can be tedious, your complete quilt will have a very professional appearance if you take your time to properly baste.
The basting, or piecing, step comes before you make your quilt top and start quilting. Basting is essentially the process of making a quilt sandwich by layering the backing, batting, and top layer of your quilt. Neatly aligning all three layers seems like an easy task in theory, but it can be quite difficult.
It can be hard to avoid wrinkles and pleats when you’re working with several layers of fabric. However, it’s important to keep lumps and bumps at bay because your quilt will not be smooth once you start quilting if the basting layer isn’t flush. And nobody likes a bumpy quilt!
Thread basting, spray basting, and pin basting are the three most common types of basting. Each method has its pros and cons, so let’s discuss the options in depth.
As the name implies, thread basting uses long stitches of thread to hold the quilt sandwich together. You can make the stitches by hand or with a longarm sewing machine. Once basting is complete and you begin the quilting process, you will gradually remove each stitch.
As you can imagine, thread basting can be a very time-consuming process if you have a large quilt. Basting with thread is traditional, but quilting’s evolution has caused this method to become less common.
Spray basting is another way to prepare your quilt for the quilting process. This method requires you to spray a temporary glue onto your quilt to adhere the three layers of fabric together. Many quilters choose to use an aerosol spray baste you can find at your local arts and crafts store. Although buying a basting spray at the store is a fast and easy solution, it can also be a pain to use.
Firstly, spray bastes can be expensive. You may need to spend quite a bit of money to have the proper amount of fixative if you’re working on a large quilt. Secondly, spray bastes often have a distinct odor that can be very off-putting to some people. Be sure to use the spray in a well-ventilated area. Thirdly, like any aerosol, precision is difficult. You’ll often need to address overspray that can coat your work area.
Consider making spray baste using water, salt, flour, and rubbing alcohol. Although the process takes longer, you’ll be saving money over time. Plus, the homemade version still prevents pleats and wrinkles from forming throughout your quilt.
Pin basting is generally the most common basting method. Pin basting uses safety pins to hold the backing, batting, and top layer together using safety pins. As you quilt, you simply remove the pins. Since safety pins are easily accessible, this method is both simple and cost-effective.
Due to its simplicity, pin basting is often the first basting method new quilters try. Although you don’t need any special supplies and the process is quite straightforward, it’s not without flaws. Namely, it can be difficult to ensure your quilt doesn’t have any pleats or wrinkles when you’re placing so many pins. Plus, pinning on such a wide surface can be tedious and fatigue your hands and fingers over time.
Pool Noodle Basting
Now that you’re familiar with the typical basting methods, it’s time to learn how you can baste a quilt using pool noodles. The good news is, that this method only requires a few simple materials, so you won’t need to spend a lot of time or money.
The materials you need for pool noodle basting include:
- Three foam pool noodles
- Straight pins
- Quilt top, quilt back, and batting
Once you’ve gathered your supplies, it’s time to start basting. Be sure to allow yourself plenty of room to spread out and manipulate the fabric. Since the process involves spray baste, you’ll also want to be in a well-ventilated room.
How To Baste a Quilt Using Pool Noodles
Roll the quilt top, quilt back, and batting onto the pool noodle. You’ll need to pin the edge of the backing along the pool noodle in several places. Be sure the right side of the fabric is on the outside of the pool noodle. You’ll then need to tightly roll the fabric around the noodle. Repeat the same process with the batting layer. You’ll also need to roll the top layer around the noodle, but you’ll want to have the underside facing out.
Once you have all three layers of fabric snugly rolled onto the pool noodle, it’s time to start the actual basting process. With the backing facing you, use the noodle to unroll the layers approximately two feet. Next, use either a store-bought or homemade basting spray to coat the fabric. Once sprayed, take the tube with the batting, and roll it over the sprayed backing to ensure there are no wrinkles. It’s best to apply a bit of pressure once you have an edge basted down.
Repeat the process with the batting layer after you’ve sprayed and rolled the backing. You don’t need to spray the entire batting surface. Instead, you can apply the spray in lines approximately two to three inches wide. Next, place the roll with the quilt top over the batting. The circular noodle allows you to easily pull the basted part toward you and roll out more sections of the backing. Repeat the process until you baste all the layers of your quilt.
At Honor Trading Company, we sell foam noodles for swimming and many other activities—including quilt basting! No matter your intended use, we offer foam noodles in a variety of styles and colors. Plus, you can purchase our products in bulk, so you’ll never have to worry about running out of pool noodles for your next quilting project. Check out our stock today!