Then I discovered pin-basting. This works especially well on baby quilts and smaller projects. You can pin-baste a larger quilt, but you'll need to buy a lot of pins.
Also, note that you have to use quilting safety pins--do NOT use regular straight pins! I did that on my first wall-hanging, and machine-quilting it involved a hundred pins stabbing me at the same time. Very bad idea.
What you need:
- finished quilt top
- backing fabric that is about 4" longer and 4" wider than finished quilt top
- batting (same size as backing)
- quilting safety pins (they're slightly curved). For a baby quilt, I use one package.
- painters tape or masking tape
1. Lay out backing right side down. Smooth out wrinkles, but make sure it lays flat and that you don't distort the fabric. Use painters tape to secure corners so they don't move around.
2. Lay out batting on top. Again, smooth out wrinkles but don't distort.
3. Lay quilt top right side up on top of your batting. There should be about 2" extra batting and backing on all four sides.
My quilt top in the photo is just a white piece of fabric so that you can see the pins clearly, but usually you'd have a pieced top here.
Also, if you need to mark your fabric for quilting, I usually do that BEFORE making the quilt sandwich. It's hard to press down with a chalk pencil on top of the batting, and the pins get in the way of marking.
4. Starting with half the quilt, pin every 4-5 inches across the center of the quilt. Then pin down the center. Next, pin on the diagonals.
5. Now fill in with pins every 5-6 inches or so until your quilt is secured. Some people say to pin closer than that, but I don't think it's necessary. Also, too many pins gets in the way when you start to quilt.
6. Repeat Steps 4 and 5 on the other half of quilt.
That was easy. Now you're ready for quilting!