The Power of Glue Basting - Back to School Blog Hop

September 27, 2015 6 Comments

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!!

Enjoy the rest of the Back to School Blog Hop:
Take a look at this amazing schedule:

Sept 1: Peta Minerof-Bartos of PetaQuilts – So, Does that Diagonal Method for a Pieced Backing Really Work
Sept 2: Cheryl Sleboda of – The Quilter’s Knot

Sept 3: Teresa Coates of Crinkle Dreams – The Importance of Pressing
Sept 4: Cath Hall of Wombat Quilts – Color Coding for Paper-piecing
Sept 5: Sam Hunter of Hunter’s Design Studio – How to Calculate and Cut Bias Binding
Sept 6: Melanie McNeil of Catbird Quilt Studio – Credit where Credit is Due
Sept 7: Mandy Leins of Mandalei Quilts – How to Keep a Perfect 1/4” Seam Between Different Machines
Sept 8: Rose Hughes of Rose Hughes – Fast Pieced Applique
Sept 9: Megan Dougherty of The Bitchy Stitcher – The Care and Feeding of the Domestic Sewing Machine
Sept 10: Lynn Krawczyk of Smudged Design Studio – Make a Mobile Art Kit
Sept 11: Susan Beal of West Coast Crafty – Log Cabin 101
Sept 12: Sarah Lawson of Sew Sweetness – Zipper Tips
Sept 13: Jane Victoria of Jolly and Delilah – Matching Seams
Sept 14: Jemelia Hilfiger of Je’s Bend – Garment Making Tips and Tricks
Sept 15: Ebony Love of LoveBug Studios – Curved Piecing Without Pins
Sept 16: Misty Cole of Daily Design Wall – Types of Basting
Sept 17: Kim Lapacek of Persimon Dreams – Setting your Seams
Sept 18: Christina Cameli of A Few Scraps – Joining Quilted Pieces by Machine
Sept 19: Bill Volckening of WonkyWorld – The Importance of Labels
Sept 20: Jessica Darling of Jessica Darling – How to Make a Quilt Back
Sept 21: Debbie Kleve Birkebile of Mountain Trail Quilt Treasures – Perfectly Sized No-Wave Quilt Borders
Sept 22: Heather Kinion of Heather K is a Quilter – Baby Quilts for Baby Steps
Sept 23: Michelle Freedman of Design Camp PDX – TNT: Thread, Needle, Tension
Sept 24: Kathy Mathews of Chicago Now Quilting Sewing Creation – Button Holes
Sept 25: Jane Shallala Davidson of Quilt Jane – Corner Triangle Methods
Sept 27: Cristy Fincher of Purple Daisies Quilting – The Power of Glue Basting
Sept 28: Catherine Redford of Catherine Redford – Change the Needle!
Sept 29: Amalia Teresa Parra Morusiewicz of Fun From A to Z – French Knots, – ooh la la!
Sept 30: Victoria Findlay Wolfe of Victoria Findlay Wolfe Quilts – How to Align Your Fabrics for Dog Ears
October 1: Tracy Mooney of 3LittleBrds – Teaching Kiddos to Sew on a Sewing Machine
October 2: Trish Frankland, guest posting on Persimon Dreams – The Straight Stitch Throat Plate
October 3: Flaun Cline of I Plead Quilty – Lining Strips Up

6 Responses


January 19, 2018

I started glue basting about a year ago when I saw your Mother’s tutorial. I was amazed and went right at it with my next project. I was clumsy at first but once I got a fine tip I became better at it, especially if I made tiny dots instead of a line. This was easier for me and the results are the same. Plus, in those instances when I need a seam pressed open, using dots rather than a line makes it much easier for me to open the seam afterward.
I’ve shared this glue basting technique and with others and they love it as much as I do.


December 16, 2017

I use glue when teaching my grandson to sew patchwork … He hated getting stuck with the pins and wanted to quit… by gluing the seams as shown he is now enjoying the sewing and is finishing his first quilt.


February 18, 2016

This is the most awesome way to baste difficult projects. I was trying to attach baby rick rack to a scalloped collar and was so disappointed in my hand sewing I almost gave up but found your post and completed the project. I have been sewing for over 40 years and this is one the very best tips I have learned. Thank you for your blog. I don’t quilt but I watched your video on nesting and spinning because it was so very interesting. Maybe I will find the use of the principle in my sewing.


October 05, 2015

Great tip and sure will try it with the little applique pieces.Many thanks!


September 29, 2015

Very nice tutorial. Well written,

Janet L. Wilson
Janet L. Wilson

September 28, 2015

I was taught the above methods and they work well, but have found if you need to make larger numbers of HST’s, the 2 at a time/4 at a time methods are very, very slow. And somewhat prone to accumulated error in construction. The BEST way to make HST’s is with Brenda Henning’s Triangulations CD, which lets you print on your home printer sheets of HST patterns, which you sew up in multiples at a time, very speedy and dead accurate, I think Quilt Pro has a similar program, but you can download a sheet from the Triangulations to try this out. Extra HST’s you make can go into your “Parts Department” for spontaneous projects you design on the wall, or for little projects. Sheet is here to try:
And there is a Youtube video:
I am not trying to sell anything but I have this product and it changed my sewing life!!

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