Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Rin Along Tips ++ Basting Tips

I have been seeing some wonderful Rin blocks showing up on Instagram, such great combinations of fabrics and colors. You can find them all right here: #rinalong

I am sharing some tips today about basting your applique shapes and applique thread. Cindy is sharing her progress on the blocks, so you can hop over to her blog to check them out (I got to see them in person over the weekend and they look awesome).

1. Measuring Gauge

When doing needle turned applique using Carolyn Friedlander's technique, you want the basting stitches to be a consistent 1/4".  Carolyn recommended using the Dritz Quilting 14-in-1 Measuring Gauge (affiliate link). I purchased the measuring gauge and found it very helpful to check my seam allowance. The gauge was small enough to fit in my travel sewing kit and fit in my hand well. I was worried that by eye balling the seam allowance, the seam would actually wind up too wide, but found that when I was basting I tended towards a scant 1/4" instead of a full 1/4".

2.  Finger Gauge

Cindy saw another great tip on the internet for keeping a 1/4" seam allowance while basting. You can put a mark on your finger nail a 1/4" from the tip and use that to check your seam allowance as you baste.  This method worked well and was free.  The only downside was that the line did tend to rub off a bit too easily.

3.  Machine Basting

My final basting tip is also from Cindy and is a real time saver, basting the circle sides (not the scalloped sides) of the Rin rings using the sewing machine.  I loaded my machine with a contrasting thread and stitched a 1/4" seam allowance using a large (4.0 on my Bernina) stitch size.  I will still hand baste the scallop portions of the rings, but being able to machine baste part of the rings was a real time saver.


  1. I have seen the machine baste line somewhere , and think I used it once, many years ago, it gives an easy line to turn the fabric under. But that gauge, how innovative.

  2. I've had that gauge for eons, it came as an accessory with my first sewing machine many years ago. I use it all the time. It is the handiest tool!

  3. Some people who tat will actually have marks tattooed on their fingers to keep their stitches even.

  4. Funny, Cheryl, I never felt the need to be really strict about the 1/4 basting (or maybe I just eyeball it really well). Those pieces are large and maybe that makes the differences. Great list of hints - I just got a tool similar to the dritz tool, in my Westalee ruler set, so I now have another use for it.

  5. There really are some striking blocks being made; I still need to finish basting my second block so these tips are timely for me. Thanks!

  6. I have been using the Dritz sewing guide since I found one back when I was sewing my clothing in high school. Love that little thing!

  7. I am enjoying the rin along. I have no time to do this, but I adore the efforts and results of all of you. Absolutely marvelous

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  9. The machine basting seems like a real time saver!


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