Seams: to glue or not to glue? Watch this video first

Sew, Slice, Spin & SashWhile it’s fun to have long-term quilting projects to work on—challenging quilts that might take months or even years to finish—I frequently find myself on a much tighter deadline. Maybe there’s a new baby on the way or a friend in need of comfort, and time really is of the essence.

Theresa Ward’s book Sew, Slice, Spin & Sash: Quick and Easy Strip-Pieced Quilts comes in handy in a tight-turnaround situation, or as I like to call it, a quilt-mergency. Not only is Theresa’s fun sew-slice-spin-and-sash construction method super speedy, her glue-basting technique will also save you precious time.


I must confess, until I saw Theresa demonstrate her glue technique, I had a pretty strict no-glue policy when it came to quiltmaking. Count me converted! Gluing the seam allowances of long strips this way is so much faster than pinning, and I’ve also found that it’s more accurate. Plus, Theresa’s ingenious little DIY gluing gadget prevents the making of icky, sticky messes. She was kind enough to let us record her method at Spring Quilt Market so we could share it with you here:

Reading this post in email? Click here to watch the video.

So simple, right? I also appreciate how glue basting makes it quick and easy to realign your edges if need be. Along with this handy technique, Sew, Slice, Spin & Sash includes 11 fantastic quilt patterns, so you’ll be prepared for any quilt-mergency that comes your way.

The Black and White quilt below is one of the quickest patterns, and it would be a great option for using any black-and-white precut strips or Jelly Rolls in your stash. If black and white isn’t your thing, this design would be equally striking in any other color combination. Perhaps a red-and-green quilt for Christmas? Armed with Theresa’s glue-basting technique, you’re practically guaranteed to finish by December 25th!

Black and white quilt
Black and White from
Sew, Slice, Spin & Slash

See more from Sew, Slice, Spin & Sash >

Do you ever use glue basting to secure seams? Tell us in the comments!

Special event! If you’re headed to Quilt Market in Houston, don’t miss the Dueling Quilters events – and if you can’t make it to Market, join us for Martingale’s first Facebook Live event! Meet us at 3:00 p.m. (CST) Saturday, October 29, on our Facebook page and watch superstar machine quilters Angela Walters (on the long-arm) and Christa Watson (on the sit-down) battle it out with quilting motifs from their best-selling book, The Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting. Mark you calendars for some machine-quilting fun – LIVE this Saturday!

Facebook Live event: The Ultimate Dueling Machine Quilters

25 Comments (leave a comment)

  • What’s the DIY gluing gadget?

    —Karen on October 28, 2016
  • Never have done this but it makes a lot of sense for those times when matching up seams is so critical and pins can get in the way when sewing. No more worries about removing pins as you sew along. Great tip! Thank you.

    —Katherine Cronn on October 28, 2016
  • Never used glue for quilt seams but frequently have used it in clothing construction, especially before top stitching collars and cuffs. Great video! Thank you.

    —Carole D on October 28, 2016
  • I like to glue baste small pieces; it reduces any distortion from pinning. Also a fast way to position the first piece for paper piecing

    —Carol on October 28, 2016
  • Yes, but not very often

    Judy Tournillon on October 28, 2016
  • I have never glue basted but I am going to try it out now!

    —cj on October 28, 2016
  • I machine stitch binding and I use glue-basting to hold the bindings to the back of the quilt for the 2nd stitching, usually decorative stitches.

    —Jane on October 28, 2016
  • I learned this technique earlier this year. Sharon Schambers uses this technique and there is a video on her daughter’s web site, Purple Daisies, that also demonstrates this technique. If you are someone who likes to press open seam allowances, you might not prefer this technique.

    —Angie Wolgamott on October 28, 2016
  • I have used glue to secure appliqué pieces but never for seams, I might just try that.

    —Barbara on October 28, 2016
  • Guess I’m from another place. I teach my students to pin baste at tough intersections and matching points where needed. After all, it’s sewing, not cut and paste. I hate working with glue and you can see, at the end of the video, how it spread all over the sashing strip. Sticky fingers, not my thing.

    I do use glue at times with applique, but very seldom. It has its place. Just don’t feel that this is one of them.

    —Patricia Hersl on October 28, 2016
  • I lightly glue baste the folded edge of the binding instead of pinning it. I "unglue a few inches at a time as I hand stitch down the binding. I do not have to worry about getting stuck with a pin or having one drop on the floor.

    —Mary Runyon on October 28, 2016
  • I’ve been using a liquid basting glue for over 20 years for those seams that don’t easily lock together. Pins won’t always allow the fabric to lie flat enough for a good match.

    More and more often I’m pressing seams open to reduce the bulk and basting liquid is the best choice for that situation.

    —Carolyn Cavanaugh on October 28, 2016
  • Often use Elmers School House Glue, not only on seams, but to hold bindings on for stitching, turn under edges for applique.

    —Cherry Glazer on October 28, 2016
  • The timing is great. I just started a quilt from Sew, Slice, Spin and Sash. I am going to try the gluing method and hopefully save me some time and work. Thank you.

    —Billie Fellers on October 28, 2016
  • I glue baste small pieces but not seams – too much work!

    —patricia ludwiczak on October 28, 2016
  • I use glue basting all the time, to match points and seams, to hold binding in place like Jane, and to match paper pieced blocks. Quick, easy, and no distortion that comes with pinning, especially when you have a lot of seams coming together. And no, it doesn’t gum up your needle if you let the glue dry or give it a quick press with your iron.

    —Barbara K on October 28, 2016
  • I have used glue for nesting seams–not for long seam allowances; ready to play with more glue.

    —carol on October 28, 2016
  • Absolutely! I love this for intricately pieced blocks, and for bindings. So much faster than pinning, and the glue doesn’t distort the fabric like pins sometimes can.

    —Cyndi Ferguson on October 28, 2016
  • I glue baste where I need points or seams to precisely match. Generally use a glue pen.

    —Mary on October 28, 2016
  • Please explain what the DIY gluing gadget is. It’s not described in the video.

    The instructions for making the gadget are in the book, Barbara – thanks for your question.

    —Barbara K on October 28, 2016
  • Does the glue hamper quilting the completed quilt?

    —Joah Hoil on October 28, 2016
  • I’ve only glue basted my bindings. Where did Theresa get the tip for the glue bottle?

    Hi Jan, there are instructions on how to make the glue bottle like Theresa’s inside her book. Thanks for your question!

    —Jan N. on October 28, 2016
  • I just tried this method and it works beautifully!!!!

    That is so great, Ali, thanks for sharing your success with us! –Jenny

    —Ali on November 1, 2016
  • I have used a glue stick before, but never this type of glue! Thanks for the new tip.

    —JanG on November 26, 2016
  • I am a serial glue baster. It is distortion free for piecing, stabilizes bias edges, allows you to phase your work by glue basting pieces (while enjoying for favorite beverage and show)and stacking them by your sewing machine. At the machine you can sew like a demon (in a prick free zone which means no bleeding on your fabric) because (1) you can use a stable seam guide rather than hacks for guiding your fabrics because there are pins;(2) you have pre-engineered the fit so there is no nasty surprise after sewing; and (3) there is NO shifting at the machine–to include no stretching of bias edges.

    4 at a time flying geese–a little dab (in the seam line) will do you in setting your squares. You can stack a bunch of them and nothing witll shift or fall off.

    The time that you take to glue baste is small. If you press seams open as a preference, it is not a method for you.

    Do put a cover on your ironing surface. I have two duck tablecloths (thrift store) that I drape on my linen covered wool pressing table. It does not shift, and I just pull it up and wash it.

    I do use pins on tricky junctures. I insert perpendicular into seam joins on my pressing surface. I can rotate my piece around the pin and put glue where needed.

    I would not quilt without glue basting.

    Leisa on January 3, 2022

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