Thursday, October 20, 2011

Spray Basting and Binding with Backing Tutorial

A while ago I made this coffee table mat whilst on a half-square triangle jaunt:


I really love the colours but the reality of living with a 2 year old means it spends a lot of its time here:


I considered selling the toddler to a wandering band of gypsies, but in the interests of their coffee table mats I decided to sew something with ties instead.

I used two new-to-me techniques as I made this: spray basting and binding the mat with its own backing (instead of sewing on a separate binding). I'm now going to bore you all by documenting it for my future reference, or for anyone else with a 2 yr old who likes undressing tables. (I won't be offended if you scroll away.)

A friend who moved back to Australia gave me this half-full can of spray baste, a popular brand used worldwide. I really, really (really) liked it - it's super quick and easy and didn't give my machine any problems. Drawback: it ain't cheap.


The thing to remember is to always spray it on the batting, not on the fabric.

Here I've put the batting down first, then positioned the quilt top on top. Once happy with the layout, you just peel half of the top back, spray the batting, then smooth the top back down. Lift the other half of the top and repeat.

That's right baby, I iron my seams open. Can you handle that? 

I then cut my batting back and placed the two layers on the backing.


Again it's a matter of peeling the top layers back, spraying the batting and smoothing it back down again.


And here it is all basted:


If this were a bigger quilt I would have taped my backing to the floor and laid out the quilt sandwich as normal before lifting and spraying each level in turn, from back to top. As this is so small and I wanted to trim the batting to the top first, I did it the other way around.

Sore brain? Let's move on to the quilting:

Easy peasy; no safety pins to move or accidentally sew over. 

After quilting I used my ruler to trim the backing to 2 inches longer than the top on all four sides. This overhang gets folded over to the front to make your binding.  While I still prefer the look of a separate binding on the back, for something like a table runner where you never see the other side, this technique is handy.

To prep your corners you fold the tip of the backing to the tip of your top (try saying that three times):


Then snip on your fold line:


Fold it back up again, so the fold is on the tip of your top and press. (I have marked the underlying top's position in removable ink to show what I mean).

See how the backing is lined up with my cutting board lines - that way you can make sure you get a true 45 degree angle - this makes your edges come together nicely at the corner (a tighter mitre, one might say).


Then you iron the binding in half on itself all the way around:


And finally, fold it up again onto the quilt top, enclosing the raw edges, press and pin in place:


Add in your ties (I marked their edges in pen so I could do some extra yank-resistant backstitching there). I would also hand sew the 45 degree edges of the corners together at this stage (not shown below, premature photo, sorry):


Then machine sew the whole thing down, nice and quick:


You're done, yippee! Tie it on. Double bows if necessary. Feel smug that you still have enough wits to outsmart a 2 year old.


This is the part where I now confess that I don't like my new table topper. Well, I like it, I just don't like it there. It was made to match this one, but with the neutral couch I think the mostly neutral mat is too blah - I need more colour. So I guess I will have to make another one at some stage (hence this mini tutorial).

But that can wait because I've already moved onto this: scrap tumbler blocks from the Go! Baby.


I just need to figure out how I'm going to quilt it.


  1. Great tutorial, and I am loving the colours of those tumbler blocks :D

  2. Kirsty

    Just out of interest....

    How much do wandering band of gypsies pay for a toddler these days?

    And does the price go up with age?

    Say, for example (only a random example, mind you), you have a fifteen year old - could you expect to get 7.5 times what you could get for a toddler or would you get a lot less?

    All the best


  3. Hi Kirsty, I actually love the look of the ties! They soften up the hard edges of the table. I do like the colours too, the blue ties the colours of the cushion in and the neutrals are great with the couch. That's one idea to remember.

  4. Great tutorial.....and fun post.

  5. If you want of get rid of any of your children, remember that I am always available!
    This is a great tutorial, I feel my fingers tickling, I want to go back home and try it! Thank you.

  6. Great tut! I love your blog and your beautiful photos. Thank you!

  7. 1. I think it's awesome that you outwitted your 2-year-old. Let's face it - we can't always do that.

    2. So cool that you did the foldover binding. I need to do that again.

    3. I totally get that "here, I finished it, but oh well cause I moved on to this NEW thing". That's so how it goes!

  8. Kirsty you won't believe this, but just yesterday I was thinking about making a mat for our grotty looking coffee table. Then I thought how handy it would be to add ties so it didn't get moved around, or like yours ending up on the floor! Or worse, being made into a blanket, cubby house, or back door mat in a moment of crisis.

    I think I just might think about making one for Christmas. If I can be bothered with all that piecing. I do love the ease that spray promises instead of all those pins.
    Sarah Red Gingham

  9. Ha! Tighter mitre, premature photo! I love reading your posts! You are such a clever girl!

  10. ha ha ha :) I totally thought "woah, she irons her seams OPEN?" :) so, I think the binding from the back thing will be something that I will try (I'm doing some placemats as a Christmas/birthday gift - and it would be perfect to try on those) but I just can't bring myself to spray baste!

  11. You're such a clever chick Kirsty - it looks a million dollars and won't end up on the floor!

  12. I have tried that spray, once....must have over done it, cause the hand quilting was hard going. Thanks for the foldover binding lesson, will have to try it.

  13. Thank you for the tutorial! I will definitely try this some time! I'm also curious about the spray baste thing, it sounds perfect, especially for smaller projects.

    I really love the table mat and I think it looks great with your couch. I love a lot of colour, too, but for some reason in our living room, I'm drawn to "blah", or rather "neutral", in reality. I like the relaxing effect, and actually we have just those colours: tan, chocolate, different blues and white ... :-)

  14. Ah. Thanks for saving my brain the trouble of figuring out how to do fold-over binding. Love the pillows on your couch.

  15. Jenny McH - never tried it with hand quilting, but thanks for the heads up. Might just go the pins/embroidery hoop for those occasions.

  16. I'm glad that you've been lured over to the spray basting side. :)

    Super cute table topper. Maybe you could turn it into a big pillow if you don't like it on the table?

  17. great tutorial kirsty. the new quilt is gorgeous. what fun, watching the two year old trying to remove the new topper

  18. This is beautiful!!! I definitely could have done with the table topper a few months ago before BIP banged her head on the table corner!

    Love all your crafty posts ... really inspiring!

  19. Hi Annie, Sharon T, Jenny McH and Ameena,

    Thanks so much for your comments - I would love to be able to reply to future comments by email, have you considered updating your blogging profile to allow this? It makes things a lot easier and you'll find you get a lot more replies to comments all over the place. If you can, check out this post where I explain how to do it. Thanks!

  20. How clever! We are well past the toddler stage, but my lab's tail can wreak havoc! I have been mulling over trying basting spray, so I appreciate your experience. Also, as one who has considered (threatened) selling children to the gypsies many times, I always come to the realization that I would have to actually pay the gypsies to take them. So here they stay! Thanks for another great post!

  21. Margaret, I was planning to tell the gypsies that my children can spin straw into gold and see how that went. The old reverse-Rumplestiltskin move.


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