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Basting Glue Sets New Basting Speed Record

A review of
Crafter’s Pick Basting Glue

from The Adhesive Products Inc.

Crafter's Pick Basting Glue
Crafter’s Pick Basting Glue

I’m willing to bet that all quilters would agree that basting is one of the least fun parts of making a quilt. Many would say that basting is the worst part of the process. That would explain the many basting products available to today’s quilter.

The latest addition to my basting bag of tricks is Crafter’s Pick Basting Glue, a thick, clear, sticky glue that comes in a bottle like other craft glues. But Basting Glue is designed specifically for temporarily bonding fabrics together.

I first found out about Basting Glue on a quilting bulletin board. One of the quilters said she loves this product and uses it all the time. That was all I needed to hear…I wanted to try it for myself.

Basting With Glue

Crafter’s Pick says that their glue is used for many areas of sewing and decorating, good for quilting and temporarily hemming clothes. I think of this product as liquid pins in a bottle. Since the instructions say that the glue doesn’t discolor most fabrics, I decided to test first the fabrics that I used in the wall hanging that I wanted to baste.

I found in my scrap bag a scrap of each fabric I used in my wall hanging. Then I found samples of other fabrics: poly-cotton, homespun, dark and light cottons, and a piece of Polartec. I took two pieces of batting — one cotton and one poly — to use in my test. I proceeded to make fabric collages by gluing all the selected samples to the two pieces of batting.

When I first started gluing the fabric, I used a good-sized dot of Basting Glue to hold the fabric in place. Eventually, I realized that just the slightest smear of glue was all I needed to hold the fabric firmly in place.

Basting with Basting Glue was fast and easy. None of the colors bled or ran. I let my test sandwiches dry over night before I began the sewing test.

The next morning I checked my fabrics. All were stuck firmly in place. The piece on which I used the big dot of glue had a big lump under it, so that is where I decided to start sewing. I put the piece in the sewing machine and sewed right through the lump.

The sewing machine didn’t even know it was there! The stitches were even. The needle wasn’t sticky. Everything was perfectly normal.

A Real Project

Time to apply the glue to a real project. I chose a 30″ by 30″ wall hanging that I made using 2-inch fusible grid. I wanted to add the additional bulk of the fusible grid to the test. And I wondered if the glue would be strong enough to hold the sandwich together with all the thicknesses in the seams.

I placed the backing right side down on my work surface. I applied the smallest amounts of Basting Glue to the wrong side of the fabric by simply tapping the nose of the bottle on the fabric.

After about 30 seconds, I had half the backing covered with tiny glue dots about 3 inches apart. I was careful to used the smallest amount of glue I could, because I didn’t want big lumps of glue to add to the bulk that I would have to sew through.

Next I smoothed a piece of poly batting onto the glue-dotted backing. When I was satisfied that the glue was bonding, I turned it over to see how the backing looked. It wasn’t as smooth as I would have liked.

Slightly Wrinkled

Apparently I had stretched the batting slightly during the smoothing process. When the batting sprang back into shape, I was left with subtle wrinkles in the backing. After looking it over carefully, I determined it wasn’t loose enough to cause any puckers when I machine quilted.

Next I applied the glue to the wrong side of the top. I smoothed the top onto the batting. This time I had a smooth, wrinkle-free surface.

Tip! I recommend that you put the batting on a flannel or fabric surface to hold it in place. Then smooth the glue-dotted top or backing onto the batting for an overall smoother bond.

Done! Under five minutes, start to finish, to baste the entire 30″ by 30″ wall hanging! I think I set a new basting speed record.

After about 20 minutes, I picked up my little quilt by one corner and shook it to see how well the glue was holding. It was holding perfectly. Nothing slipped or separated. Basting Glue passed the first two parts of the testing: the colorfast test and the holding test.

Quilting And Washing

My original quilting plan for my wall hanging was to quilt in the ditch around the borders to stabilize the quilt; stipple the background around the wreath to make it recede; quilt around some of the larger flowers in the wreath to make them stand out; and hand-quilt a nice design on the borders.

I began with my walking foot to quilt in the ditch around the borders. The quilting was straight with no jogs or detours for glue spots. The stipple quilting was equally easy, with no sensation of quilting over the glue spots. And the best part is I didn’t have to keep stopping to remove safety pins!

But I had to change my border plan. I tried to hand quilt through the glue. No dice. It takes too much pressure to push the needle through the glue. Not only did I get stuck, but I couldn’t make my stitches small or regular. I will redesign the border quilt pattern for this quilt to something that can be done by machine.

Since I couldn’t finish my quilting, I did the washing part of the test on my original fabric swatches on batting scraps. I ran my fabric collages under water and nothing happened (except the fabric got wet). Then I remembered the bottle said to use detergent.

I ran warm water with a drop of dish detergent into a bowl. I placed my test pieces into the bowl. Fifteen seconds later, I picked out my samples and peeled off all the fabrics I hadn’t sewn in place. I laid the pieces on a paper towel to dry.

Now dry and still colorfast, each piece of fabric was back to its normal, supple self. No evidence of the glue remained.

Advantages Of Basting Glue

I think Crafter’s Pick Basting Glue may be the best method of basting quilts made from pre-washed fabrics that will be machine quilted and washed. It’s fast, easy, and inexpensive. Because I found I could use such a tiny amount of glue in each dot, my four-ounce bottle seems completely full, even after basting my first wall hanging. This bottle should last quite some time.

There is no offensive odor when using this glue. If you stick your nose right over the open bottle and breathe deeply, it does have a slight smell. I find this a much more attractive alternative than basting spray for indoor use in months when the windows must be closed.

The glue is very easy to control. It goes exactly where you put it, without you having to worry about overspray like the spray adhesives. The cooler the room temperature, the thicker the glue. Since I usually have my work area very cool, the glue is very thick, requiring some hand strength to get it out of the bottle.

Actually, I just squeezed until the glue was at the nose, then held the bottle upside-down and dabbed it on the quilt. I didn’t have to squeeze the bottle any more or have to worry about it running out all over the quilt. If you don’t have the hand strength to use it like that, set the closed bottle in a bowl of warm water for several minutes before using it.

Disadvantages Of Basting Glue

The main drawback of Basting Glue is that you can’t use it on projects that aren’t washable. The manufacturer warns you to wash the quilt, because the dried glue can tear the fibers. This glue has a really strong bond. So you don’t want to leave it in for a very long time.

Another drawback is that you can’t use Basting Glue on areas of projects that you want to hand quilt. I like to use some hand quilting in my projects for interest, but that means I’ll have to put away my Basting Glue and get out my basting gun.

I wouldn’t recommend using this product on your heirloom hand quilts. But I can’t think of a better way to baste the quilts we produce every year for charities like ABC Quilts for at-risk children. Just remember to wash the quilts before sending them away.

Baby quilts, lap quilts, table runners, and other washable gift items are more great uses for Basting Glue. And most bed quilts made from new fabrics could be basted this way, too.

For many projects, Crafter’s Pick Basting Glue makes the most tedious and least rewarding part of quilting go very quickly. What a delight!

Readers’ Comments:

May 28, 2001
Joan O. writes:

I just used the basting glue on a Pineapple quilt with jagged edges. Machine sewing the binding was impossible, so I hand applied it on both sides.

I used the glue to hold the binding in place while I stitched. It worked great and was much easier to work with than pins!

May 28, 2001
Gail A. writes:

Another option for that dreaded basting project is to contact a longarm quilter. For a minimal fee they should be able to mount your quilt, put the perfect amount of tension on it and baste it using 100% cotton thread.

You can stipulate how large a grid you want, and they can adjust their speed so that the stitches are anywhere from one-half inch to two inches long.

May 28, 2001
June H. writes:

I think basting is everyone’s least favorite job. I have found for large quilts that are going to be around for a while I can hand baste them on my three-rail quilt frame and then do the actual quilting on a hoop frame.

This approach lets me have two quilts on frames at once or I can have a quilt on the hoop frame and have the floor space in my sewing room free so my cutting table can be expanded.

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