Sunday, September 27, 2015

The Power of Glue Basting - Back to School Blog Hop

Welcome! Today is my stop on the Back to School Blog Hop, organized by the wonderful Sam Hunter.

Today I'm going to give you a little "crash course" on glue basting - one of my favorite techniques for getting great results for many quilting and sewing projects.

What is glue basting, you ask? It's probably much like you imagine, but a lot less messy than you fear. Glue basting is a simple techinique that can be used in many many ways:

The tools are very simpe. All you need is a bottle of Washable Elmer's School Glue and a Micro Fine glue tip - easy peasy:

You can trim the tippy top of the tip in small increments until the glue flows at your preferred speed. I prefer a thin line of glue - a little bit really does go a long way.

Let's take a look at how to use glue basting to make scrappy Half Square Triangles:

1. Precut your HST squares. (Blossom Hearts Quilts has a great tutorial that includes formulas for you.) Mark your diagonal line with a fabric safe pencil:
2. Draw a fine line of glue along the diagonal of the second square:
 3. Place your squares with right sides together:
 4. Heat set the glue with a hot dry iron. Glue basting the squares together will prevent shifting when you sew, and you won't need a single pin! Plus, it helps stabilize the bias grain, which will prevent the stretching that can happen when you sew along the bias. It's a win-win!! When you prepare multiple HSTs block like this, you can chain piece quickly and easily, which I love.
 5. Sew a 1/4" from each side of the line.
 6. Cut along the diagonal line:
 7. Press to the side. I prefer to press the great majority of my seams to the side. (If you prefer to press your seam open, you can easily release the glue with a stiletto type tool.)
 8. Trim your HST to size.
This is a great way to give glue basting a try. Once you glue baste, you'll start to find more and more ways to use it in your sewing and quilting to help make creating what you love even easier, and with wonderful results!

Now, you might be wondering to yourself:

  • "But Cristy, doesn't the glue gum up my needle?" or 
  • "But Cristy, how will it ever wash out?" or 
  • "But Cristy, isn't this cheating?" 

I've been asked these questions many times over the years, and I understand the caution. Let me ease your worry:

  • No, the glue won't gum up your needle, as long as you do heat set with a hot dry iron. 
  • Washable Elmer's School Glue does wash out. I highly recommend washing your quilt with Synthrapol (a textile detergent) for best results. *Note: there are other glue basting products on the market. I only use and recommend Washable Elmer's School Glue. 
  • No, this isn't cheating!! Glue basting is a tool, just like using a rotary cutter and ruler instead of scissors. Using the right tools for the right jobs will give you better results that you'll be thrilled with.
Glue basting is a wonderful tool that can give you amazing results, and you won't accidentally sew over nearly as many pins. Here are more ways that you can use glue basting:

Piecing Rows:
Glue baste your rows of blocks together, then easily chain piece the rows.

Make joining and matching various types of blocks and intersections easy and accurate.

Binding and glue basting go hand-in-hand. After glue basting your binding to your quilt, it's prepared to be finished either by hand or by machine, with no pins or clips to get in the way. Check out this video by Sharon Schamber for more.

It's also wonderful for appliqué. After glue basting your applique pieces, their prepared for either machine or hand stitching. Take a peek at my applique videos here.

Glue basting is perfect for curves of all kinds. It also makes paper piecing and easier and more accurate.

We are craftswomen and men, and using tools that will help us each achieve the type of results we long for will empower us to continue making. Glue basting is one of those tools. I hope you give it a try and discover how it can work for you.

Happy Quilting!!


  1. I love glue basting and I am always learning new ways to use the technique. I never thought of using a stiletto type tool to open a seam when needed....great idea. Thanks.

  2. I also love glue basting. No pins and seams don't move a winner in my books.

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. Today I'm going to give you a little "crash course" on glue basting - one of my favorite techniques for getting great results for many quilting and sewing projects. james karim

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