Layering a Quilt

by Deborahe58

What is the best way to layer a quilt? I can never get all 3 layers to lay flat. I always end up with ripples or bunching. Are there any special tools or gadgets that can help. Do a need a frame?

There has to be a technique. Basting and pinning haven't helped, and it is so messy using the spray adhesive.


Layering a quilt can be frustrating at times. Although there's no 100% guarantee that you won't have puckers or bulges, you can minimize any obvious distortions.

When I layer a quilt, I either work on a hard floor or a tabletop (depending on the size of my quilt top). I place my backing fabric (wrong side up) on the table.

Next, I place my hands on the center of the fabric and smooth any imperfections towards the outer edges. Then I grab my trusty blue Painter's tape (it's easier to remove than masking tape), and I apply a strip to the top edge, the bottom edge, the left edge and finally the right edge.

Now, I have a smooth backing that's going to stay in place when I add the other layers.

You might want to toss your batting in the dryer before you try to layer it. Put it on a low setting for a few minutes. This removes a lot of the wrinkles and puckers.

When you're ready, center the batting on top of the backing. Smooth from the center to the outer edges like you did with your backing. Finally, center your quilt top (right side up) on top of the batting. Smooth from center to the outer edges again.

I use Collin's Curved Basting Pins to temporarily baste my layers together. The curve in the pin helps to prevent sore fingers. I really recommend using them if you're going to pin baste your quilt.

Starting from the center and working toward the bottom of my quilt, I attach pins in rows. Then I smooth the layers from the center of the quilt toward the upper edge of the quilt. Finally, I add rows of pins to the upper half of the quilt.

When I'm done pinning, I pull the backing from the table. I leave the tape attached until I examine the backside of the layers. If everything looks smooth and wrinkle-free, I remove the tape and start quilting.

If you don't want to use pins, you could try a Quilt Basting Gun. The basting gun replaces pin and thread basting. It shoots plastic fasteners (tacks) through all three layers of your quilt. Some quilters like this method, others don't. It's really a personal preference.

One last suggestion. If you're a hand quilter, and you don't like to baste, you might want to consider using a quilting frame.

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