Sunday, July 15, 2012

How To: (Sewing 101) Baste Fabric

so i've decided to start a sort of  how-to 'series'.  i know in my sewing tutorials i tend to glaze over certain processes which may end up making things more confusing to people who aren't familiar with sewing.  so i'm starting this series that will discuss these things in more detail and i will refer to them from the tutorial.  that way the tutorial doesn't become incredibly long and i don't have to repeat certain procedures over and over but the information is still available.  i am by no means an expert but i will share what i know, or at least what i think i know lol.  

basting, in fabric-y terms, refers to using a long stitch.  on your sewing machine there should be a knob with 0-4 on it, for mine it's the top right.  the lower the number, the smaller the stitch.  so if you want to baste something, set it on the highest number.  in my case 4.  you can use basting to gather fabric, secure 2 pieces of fabric together so that they act more like 1 piece of fabric, or along curved edges to help reduce fray and distortion while you sew.  this post is about basting 2 pieces of fabric together.  

if you are simply basting 2 pieces of fabric together, for example your main fabric and a piece of sew-in interfacing or batting material, start by pinning the 2 pieces together.

next, with your sewing machine set on the longest stitch, sew along all the edges.  try to keep your stitches as close to the edge as you can while still catching both pieces of fabric.  keeping this seam allowance smaller than what you would normally do reduces the chance of these stitches showing up in your final product.  or you can simply pull them out when you're done.  i usually don't bother backstitching when i baste mostly because i end up having to put another seam on top of it anyway.

then, if you need to, trim the pieces down so they are the same size.  the photo is a bit blurry, but hopefully you can see that the stitches are longer than usual.

so why wouldn't you just sew along the edges in a regular stitch?  basting goes a lot faster on your machine because your machine can pull more fabric through per stitch, and if you have a lot of edges to baste it really cuts down on your sewing time!  of course it also runs through a lot of thread...

projects that use this technique:

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