I find a the largest hard floor I can (no carpeting), clear it and be sure it is clean. I lay out the backing and use masking tape to secure it flat, then lay the batting as flat as possible, then finish your quilt sandwich with the top. Then I baste, baste, baste! Once everything is secure, pull it up and remove the tape.
I too baste with safety pins and yes your batting and the backing should be at least three inches wider(all around). What I do is drape my backing over a table. First I find the center along the top and the bottom and line it up to the center of the table. Then I use large paper clamp to hold it to the table so it does not shift while I am pinning and also reduces the the chance of getting puckers in the backing. Then I find the find the center along the top and the bottom of the batting and line it up to the center of the table. I don't clamp this down to the table. Then I find the find the center along the top and the bottom of the quilt top and line it up to the center of the table. Now I am ready to use Safety Pins to baste my quilt together. Once you have the section that is laying on top of the table safety pin bastes remove the clamps and shift to a new section that needs to be pinned. If possible clamp the backing to the table again. The section that has safety pins in it at the edge of the table I just put the clamp over the three layers and clamp it all to the table.
Hope this helps and happy quilting
You need to baste the layers together so that it will turn out correctly. Google "quilt basting" for a better idea of how this is done. This is a critical step for you to do when you are at this point of the quilting process!
When I first started quilting I had the same problem and used some quilting spray that temporarily tacks one layer to the other. Then use safety pins to go through the 3 layers. Always start from the center and work out. I then will sew larger sections together to stabilize the quilt, then go for it. Good luck.
Linda, for the best results, your backing and batting should be cut 3 - 4 inches larger than your quilt top all the way around. I use safety pins to secure everything together when hand quilting - pin every 4" or so - then start my stitching. When you are done, then you can trim your backing and batting to match your quilt top. Your stitching is going to change your layers - if you try to match everything up , then stitch, you are going to be disappointed in your results. P.S. I have been quilting for about 30 years and have won many local and regional awards for my work.
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