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Precise piecing using glue basting // Technique Tutorial Tuesday

As I am advancing as a quilter my desire to achieve precise piecing is growing. Matching up those pesky points on difficult blocks can be a challenge. This is a challenge I have been determined to overcome. IMG_2475

A few months ago I began using a glue basting technique my friend Cristy shared with me. This technique has improved my piecing accuracy by leaps and bounds, so I asked Cristy if she would visit Pile O' Fabric and share a tutorial on the technique with for Technique Tutorial Tuesday.


Meet Cristy

Cristy Fincher owns Purple Daisies LLC and blogs at Sew Much Like Mom. Before becoming a mom, Cristy was an elementary school teacher.  She loved teaching and is thrilled to have the opportunity to continue to teach, but in a new way. She and her mother Sharon Schamber produce many really wonderful quilting videos for their shop Purple Daisies LLC

From Cristy…

If I could, I would scream it from the rooftops: "Glue basting is life changing!!" I get a bit of reluctance from some quilters, and sewists, who haven't tried glue basting, or are cautious (maybe even scared) of trying it. Almost always, once they try glue basting, they "get it" and understand why it works so well. Then they discover how it can work for them and their sewing. This simple technique of glue basting can change your world, if you want it to, and if you give it a try. You might just love what you make, even more. Good technique matters (another little thing I want to scream from the rooftops). Whether your style of sewing and quilting is modern, traditional or anything in between. Knowing and using techniques that are simple, easy, and efficient will give you better results. Awesome, right?! There are lots of things I use glue basting on: seams, binding, applique, and clothing. I really enjoy the simple precision I get from this easy technique. You only need three things: Elmer's Washable School GlueGlue Tips, and a hot, dry iron. I prefer Elmer's over other basting glues because it's less expensive and washes out better than others I've tried. For glue basting basics, you can watch the video I put together. Also, I've listed the steps below, in a simple tutorial. Enjoy!

Cristy's Video Tutorial

UPDATE: Since this post I have also put together another quick video tutorial on glue basting which you can see here.

The Glue Tips


I use the same glue tips as Cristy is using in her video tutorial, and they can be purchased in the Pile O' Fabric shop at 

Thank you so much Cristy for sharing this very helpful technique with us! You can read a step by step photo tutorial of this technique at Cristy's blog Sew Much Like Mom.


    Post Comments

  • Candy says...

    I will be trying this!

    On December 30, 2014

  • Laura Phipps says...

    Thanks for having Cristy guest blog and share her gluing technique. I love and can’t wait to try it. I am looking forward to perfect piecing!!!

    On November 21, 2014

  • Connie says...

    Newbie quilter here. I’m in the process of trimming the squares down for my first quilt. Apparently I should have found your website because I had no idea a 1/4" & scant 1/4" were different. I’m calling this quilt “learning lessons through errors”. LOL I’m excited to try glue basting! Pinning takes me so long. Definitely bookmarking your website!!!

    On September 16, 2014

  • Sara says...

    I liked all of her little tips and her knowledge of the scant 1/4" seam and the pressing of the seams to one side or the other and not ever open.

    Natalia Bonner uses a glue stick so I am familiar with this technique. I do really like the Elmers glue with the tip though now:)

    Thank you so much for the video..very enjoyable.

    On August 20, 2014

  • Alyssa says...

    Ya I have found I really like to use a glue stick for basting onto templates and such and then liquid for piecing, binding, and zippers. Glue is such a wonderful thing haha!

    On August 20, 2014

  • Jennifer Dale says...

    Thanks for the wonderful video, it is so clear and easy to understand.

    I have been using Elmer’s glue stick with great success and have the liquid glue but I don’t have any tips. Yay, I have now just ordered the tips from Cristy and really looking forward to trying this alternative method.

    Keep the video’s coming Cristy, like Alyssa you are a natural making them.

    On August 20, 2014

  • Kris says...

    I loved this tutorial. I am going to try this, no doubt! Thanks Cristy!

    On August 20, 2014

  • Hannah says...

    Oh I love this. I hate pins, and my points suck. Off to order some glue tips now …..

    On August 20, 2014

  • Anna O says...

    Excellent tutorial, thanks! I learned something new and can’t wait to try it!

    On August 20, 2014

  • RobinRichardson says...

    I learned this technique from Sharon Schambert’s website a few years ago. I tried it and it works like a charm. Love this technique.

    On August 20, 2014

  • Cheryl sample says...

    No finished project???.? I question this way of piecing, but glad it seems to work for you. I did like the board beside your machine for laying out before stitching and pressing on it. When was the last time you changed your needle?

    On August 20, 2014

  • Alyssa says...

    It will change your quilting :)

    On August 20, 2014

  • Alyssa says...

    Thanks Jennifer!

    On August 20, 2014

  • Alyssa says...

    It really does change your quilting forever. You can use it one tons of things, I use it every time I put a zipper in something, on my binding it is fantastic.

    On August 20, 2014

  • Hannah says...

    Oh my Alyssa, this is genius. I just joined an online bee and have been literally losing sleep over whether my piecing was up to scratch. I did a practice block and my points sucked. So I glue basted my bee block today just with a glue stick and the difference is just amazing, not perfect but pretty close and I am delighted. Thanks so much. Off to do a purple daisies order now!

    On August 20, 2014

  • Katy(LethargicLass) says...

    I really like this idea and will more than likely try it soon… one thing not addressed though is what happens if the glue gets on the iron?

    On August 20, 2014

  • Scraper says...

    That is just so smart, thanks a lot!

    On August 20, 2014

  • Alyssa says...

    As long as the glue is heat set with a hot iron, it should never interfere with the needle or hand quilting, its fantastic!

    On August 20, 2014

  • Barb says...

    Fascinating technique. Thanks for sharing. Wondering of this technique is used if you will be machine quilting. Wondering if the glue would interfere with hand quilting? Thanks

    On August 20, 2014

  • Sew Thankful Sunday 06.23.2013 - The Crafty Quilter says...

    […] If you think that Elmer’s school glue is just for kids, think again!  The recent Technique Tutorial Tuesday post at Pile O’ Fabric features a tutorial for precision piecing using glue basting (with […]

    On August 20, 2014

  • Sonia says...

    I know you have said the glue is safe to use but what happens when the glue is heated? Does it cause a chemical change? I would be worried about damage to the fabric which many not become evident for some time. All the glue basting in the world will be of no help if you are not sewing a consistent, accurate seam allowance. or if your fabrics are not cut accurately. Personally I see this method as a waste of time, time that would be better spent accurately cutting and seaming.

    On August 20, 2014

  • Judith Davis says...

    Per Margo Clabo of The Quilt Show, use knitting needle stoppers on the tip of the bottle. Works great. The Elmers glue trick I got from Sharon Shamber videos. If an award winning quilter can do it, it must be a good tip.

    On August 20, 2014

  • Del Soden says...

    You’ve got to be kidding!?

    You poor misguided person.
    What a time wasting fiddle.
    It’s so much easier and quicker using two pins.

    On August 20, 2014

  • Jeanette says...

    I tried it after ordering some tips from Christy and I just love it!!! I’m a quick and dirty kinda gal so wasn’t sure I’d like the extra step but it is well worth it!!!! Thanks to both of you for a great tip!!!

    On August 20, 2014

  • mell-meyer says...

    Hey Alyssa, hey Cristy,

    this is a really nice tutorial and a great idea, I love perfect things and after just starting quilting, it sounds like a good idea to match points :)
    Although it takes a bit more time…

    One question though: I don’t live in the US and this special brand of glue – I am not able to buy it. Can one use any school glue that is washable – which I think most kids-glues are?
    And are they “all” able to be heat-set?

    Thx a lot in advance
    Kind regards from Germany

    On August 20, 2014

  • Alyssa says...

    Gillian thank you so much for your comment! I agree its important to give different techniques a try, especially before we settle. In fact I have had lots of people tell me they thought I was crazy for starching my fabric so much, but then they tried it and it changed their life! So its always worth trying. Thanks for your support!

    On August 20, 2014

  • Gillian says...

    Wonderful, clear, well-paced video tutorial! Thank you for taking the time and effort to teach your tips and tricks!

    What’s great is the glue gets washed out, so it’s as if you never used it. Being water-based is a plus.

    I think the beauty of this is that you are essentially seeing your end-product before you stitch, so you can adjust then rather than after with the stitch-ripper.

    Pins never work for me all the time despite 40 years plus of accurate sewing and piecing. I will try this for sure! Way less stressful!

    As a side note, will the quilt police please go elsewhere? There is room for everyone and all techniques. It astounds me that folks will take the time to be critical when a) no one made them watch the video, and b) they haven’t actually tried it to have a good basis of comparison.

    This should be a safe place to share so we can all improve! Play nice! :)

    On August 20, 2014

  • Del Soden says...

    I couldn’t agree more Sonia.

    On August 20, 2014

  • BjoLiz says...

    Thanks for the great video tutorial. You mentioned using glue basting with your binding. Is this technique used to sew the first part of the binding before doing the hand stitching, or do you use it for both sides?

    On August 20, 2014

  • Alyssa says...

    Thanks for sharing your experience Katy!

    On August 20, 2014

  • Melissa says...

    Hi Katy,
    I’ve been using Cristy’s tips and glue since July, and have never ever had an issue with glue getting on the iron - and not because I’m so perfect with my glue placement, because I’m not! Hah! :). When you put down a thin line of glue on one piece of fabric, and place the other piece on top, you hear set it for a couple of seconds with your iron. The heat and the pressure force the glue (starch) to bond with the fibers of the fabric. Even if it’s close to the edge, the glue will ooze over the edge into your ironing board cover and bond with the fibers of THAT fabric. Glue wants to stick to something, and you are moving your iron around, but not the fabric, so the glue sticks to what isn’t moving. :-)
    My iron gets more gunky from starch than it’s ever gotten from glue! :-)

    On August 20, 2014

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Alyssa Lichner from Pile O' Fabric

Welcome to the Pile O’ Fabric blog, my name is Alyssa Lichner, I live in sunny Gilbert, AZ. I am a freelance web and graphic designer turned avid sewist. I write modern quilting tutorials and share techniques and inspiration here at Pile O’ Fabric… Read More

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