Does anyone else really procrastinate when it comes to basting quilts? I get over the pain of basting my quilts by trying out lots of different techniques.
I’m always on the hunt for new methods. The MicroStitch basting gun is the latest basting technique I’ve tried.
I recently bought my MicroStitch gun kit. I’ve been using it to baste my last few quilts with good success.
Like most things, It still has pros and cons which I’ll go through below.
Note: I bought my kit with my own money so these are my own unbiased opinions!
Table of Contents
- What is a MicroStitch basting gun?
- Alternative Quilt Basting Methods
- MicroStitch Basting Gun Review & Tutorial Video
- Main Features of MicroStitch Basting Gun
- Pros of the MicroStitch Basting Gun
- Cons of the MicroStitch Basting Gun
- How to Use the MicroStitch Basting Gun
- Where to Buy MicroStitch Basting Gun Starter Kit
- Is this my preferred Basting Method?
- Top Tips
What is a MicroStitch basting gun?
The hype is that the MicroStitch tagging gun or basting gun will let you say goodbye to safety pins, glue, metal staples, and large tacks.
A basting gun is a hand-held tool that can be used in place of pins, basting spray, or other basting methods. This MicroStitch tool holds the layers of your quilt together as you get it ready to quilt.
You are basically holding the 3 layers of your quilt sandwich together with tiny plastic tags that are inserted using the tagging gun.
You may also recognize this as a tagging gun you’d see in a retail store, or rather if you have worked in a retail store. They are used to place price tags on clothing and other items.
It’s also the ultimate quick-fix tool for fallen hems and to repair clothing (for those who don’t sew obviously…it’s not a permanent solution!). If you need the convenience of a handheld sewing machine without the complexity, a tag gun is amongst the top picks for non-sewing crafters.
Additionally, it’s a great asset for home decorating and craft projects. However, I’ve only heard that from others – I use it to baste my quilts….nothing else!
Alternative Quilt Basting Methods
- Safety pins (Regular or Curved Safety Pins)
- Diluted Glue (not tried this one myself!)
- Basting spray (store-bought or homemade)
- Metal staples
- Large tacks
- Water spray followed by hot iron
- Pool Noodle Technique (this is another one I haven’t tried yet!)
- Basting on a long-arm quilting machine
I made a video version of my review and tutorial which you can watch below or read on for the written version!
MicroStitch Basting Gun Review & Tutorial Video
9 Quilt Backing Ideas – From Super Simple to Super Scrappy!
Main Features of MicroStitch Basting Gun
While every kit might not necessarily be the same, my MicroStitch tagging gun kit came with:
- MicroStitch tool with needle
- 500+ 4.4mm size black fasteners
- 500+ 4.4mm size white fasteners
Pros of the MicroStitch Basting Gun
- You can sew over the tags without breaking a needle
- The tags are easy to put in
- Much less expensive than store bought spray basting
- Tags leave much smaller holes in your fabric
- Handy for quick repairs
Cons of the MicroStitch Basting Gun
- Costs more than safety pins
- Tags are, unfortunately, made of plastic, so not really eco-friendly
- Can be a bit fiddly to remove them
- You have to buy new tags to keep using the tool when the first batch is used up (the tags aren’t reusable)
How to Use the MicroStitch Basting Gun
This review tutorial shows you how to use the Microstich Gun to baste a full quilt, and how to remove the tags as you quilt.
This is a great method for people with arthritis or anyone who has trouble dealing with safety pins.
When opening and using your gun, be careful of the needle. There’s a small cap that comes with it. Make it a good practice to always replace it when you’re done.
Step 1: Insert the tags
Looking at the gun from the top, you’ll see a sort of T-shaped slot. This is where you’ll place the plastic tacks.
Line up your strip of tacks with the slot.
Slide the strip down until you meet resistance. Don’t force it.
Step 2: Close-up view
Before showing you how I used the tagging gun to baste a quilt, I’ll first show you a close-up view of how the gun works.
Put the gun in slightly sideways so you can feel that you’ve gone through all the way.
Step 3: Lay out your three layers
Just like you normally would, lay out your three layers on a flat surface. Make sure to get your layers as smooth as you can.
Step 4: Start basting your quilt
I start in the middle of the quilt and go from the middle to each side. Place each tag about a hand width apart. See my video above if you want to see this process in action.
Step 5: Remove tags
With just a quick pull using tweezers and then a snip with your thread snippers, you can snip off the tacks with no problem. I do this as I am quilting. So I remove them as I come close to them in a similar way as you might do with safety pins.
Where to Buy MicroStitch Basting Gun Starter Kit
Microstich is the most popular brand and I’ve seen it sold in quilt shops as well as on Amazon. You can see it on Amazon here. This is the brand I’ve tried
This is another brand of essentially the same thing. The Avery Dennison kit comes with the smallest tacks on the market and the smallest needle available (according to them of course!). The small extra fine needle is gentle on fabric and the tiny micro fasteners can be sewn over and easily removed. I found a link for this one on Amazon here.
Is this my preferred Basting Method?
Honestly? I hate basting no matter what method I use. I find this easier than safety pins and less messy and less expensive than basting spray but I wouldn’t say that I love this method so much that I’ll never try another.
Do you have any fab quilt basting methods I should try next? I’d love to hear about them – leave me your suggestions in the comments!
How to use a Microstitch basting tool
A microstitch basting gun tool is one method of basting a quilt prior to quilting.
- Finished quilt top
- Batting of your choice
- Quilt Back
- Microstitch quilt basting gun
- Insert the tags into the top of the gun
- Slide the strip of tags down into the gun until you feel resistance
- Remove the cap and insert the sharp end of the tool into the quilt
- Make sure the tag goes through all three layers of the quilt and press the trigger
- Place a plastic tag about every four inches
- Begin placing tags at the center of the quilt and work toward the edges
- Remove the tags with curved scissors after the quilting is complete
- If you are making a very small quilt, perhaps a wall hanging or baby quilt, you may be able to baste your quilt using a basting stitch. This can be done by hand or by machine. It is essentially the process of making very long stitches that serve to hold the layers of the quilt together while you are quilting. They are easily removed when the quilt is complete.
- Make sure you have the space to lay all the layers of the quilt nice and flat. No matter which basting method you use, if you begin with wrinkles they will be hard to smooth out during the quilting process.
- When using a micro stitch basting tool, it is easier to remove the plastic tags with a small pair of scissors that have a curve at the end.
Basting spray is a temporary method of basting a quilt prior to quilting. The glue washes out when the quilt is complete and initially washed.
Safety pins should be placed about every 4 inches (a hand width is a good rule of thumb).
The micro stitch basting tool does leave tiny holes in the fabric, but they are not noticeable and are generally smaller than what is left after using safety pins.
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