Friday, August 15, 2014

Our Word is Binding

As promised, I'm working off my list, and today we're actually going to talk technique.

Binding your quilt is an easy process, but making that binding strikes fear into some of us. The binding we're creating is far superior to the ones sold prepackaged in stores. Cotton makes it soft, and your ability to coordinate it with your top and back makes it unique to that quilt.

Cutting your fabric on the bias, or at a 45 degree angle from the selvage to the fold, is the traditional way of making bias strips for binding. It's cut this way to give or stretch a little. A good example is a plain tee shirt. Most will not give much up and down or side to side, but pull it with one hand on the shoulder and one on the hem, and it gives quite a bit. Bias binding is ideal if you have rounded corners or an irregular shaped edge, but there is a far easier method which leaves you with a more usable chunk of fabric. And let's face it, that saves money.

Start by measuring your quilt perimeter. Side+side+side+side. Or length plus width and double it. I add about another 10-12" for insurance. (A little extra binding can always be used on a quick project, or sewn together with others for a scrap quilt look.)

Take your total number of inches, add the 10" for insurance, and divide by 36 to convert it back into yards. This just makes it handy to keep track while cutting.

We're doing a straight-grain binding (crosswise or lengthwise), which means it will not stretch, so we have the option of cutting it in either direction. If we have a couple of yards of fabric, it's to our advantage to use the longest length. This is how I've done it here with 1.5 yards. I've folded it to 4 layers thick being very careful to match up selvages together and fold on a line of the cutting board. A large Olfa cutter still goes through this pretty easily.

I've made my strips 2 1/4" wide since I'm looking for a thinner binding.

Working with the right sides of fabric together, cross two ends overlapping about 1/4". Pin. Mark from inside corner to inside corner as shown. Marking  and pinning is important for me if I want it to match well. Sew across the line.

Trim the tail leaving a 1/4" seam. Press to one side. Continue connecting all the strips, and pressing to the side.

*Before starting to pin the binding on, I sew a 1/4" seam around my entire quilt sandwich . It helps to insure the layers are held together, especially if the quilt has been tied.

Remember the quilt will be positioned to the left of your machine while you're attaching the binding. You will pin the binding to the front of the quilt starting on the lower right side--think about 4 o'clock. Pin only down to the lower right hand corner, stopping 1/4" before the corner. I mark this with a horizontal pin, and this always signals me to be cautious. Backstitch about 5-6 stitches to hold the seam. Lift the needle, but you don't need to cut the thread.

Lay the binding all the way to the corner, then pivot it to start along the bottom as in the picture. The fold inside where you've pivoted the binding should be at a 45 degree angle. Mark it with a pin. When starting the seam across the bottom of your quilt, you will need to sew right up to the fold, but not on it.

Start several stitches away from the fold, backstitch to it, then finish attaching the binding to the quilt doing the same at each corner.

Continue with the binding to within 6" of the starting point. Here is where I think a lot of books get confusing, and it really isn't that hard.

Bend your strip coming from the top over to a 90 degree angle to the left. Lay the strip you started with over top of it following right up the edge. Feel the 45 degree angle fold underneath, and mark it. Pin through the mark, and open both strips up as shown to check that the binding is not too long or too short. Adjust it if necessary.

Trim the tails off the sides to 1/4" seam allowance.

Pull your binding away from the quilt edge, and sew through your mark.

Pin and sew the remainder of the binding on, backstiching where necessary to secure the seam.

Turn your seam toward the back of your quilt, and pin until you come to the first corner.
Lay the vertical strip straight as shown, pin in place, and fold up the bottom to make a 45 degree angle, or a mitered corner. Continue to pin. Finish the binding by hand using a doubled thread with a blind stitch.

Gather your tools, turn on your movie, and enjoy the process.

The Doxie girls and I are doing the same thing today. 
See you Monday. Have a good weekend sewing.

Come on, Doxie girls. 
Let's go sew.

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