Saturday, May 21, 2011

Only One Year Late

Disclaimer: I am in no way a quilting expert. I have learned solely from trial and error (emphasis on error) and reading on the internet. I have only made 4 quilt tops and have hand quilted 1 top and machine quilted 4 tops. I am not saying everything I do is the right way to do it, just sharing what I've picked up so far. You'll probably learn best by trial and error too ;-)

I can't believe it. In February of 2010, I started two scrap quilts with the goal of finishing them before the winter. Then I got pregnant and just generally lost all motivation. I decided to hand quilt these as well, which significantly added to the time needed to work on them.

Yesterday, I finished one of the quilts! The spindrift quilt is completely done.

So I'm here to share with you Step Eight: Binding (finally!). Now, in addition to my standard disclaimer up top, I should mention that I'm really not a binding expert. I still use store bought binding because every time I work up the motivation to figure out how to properly make my own, I chicken out. I also do all of the binding on the machine even though the proper thing would be to hand sew the backside with a whip stitch so the stitching doesn't show on the front of the quilt. I'll also apologize for some of these pictures, it's really hard to get good light for pictures in my sewing corner

To start with, I cut out those threads I had used to hold my quilt sandwich together while I was quilting it. Then I laid the whole thing out on my sewing table
And I cut the batting and backing even with the top of the quilt
When you use store bought binding, you'll notice one side is slightly shorter than the other. You want to sew the short side to the top of the quilt (then when you fold it over the edge, the longer side will end up about even due to the bulk of the quilt)
Open up the binding and line the edge up with the edge of the quilt. You want to leave several inches of binding free (we'll get to why at the end), so skip forward a bit and then start sewing along the closest crease
Notice my "tail" at the beginning where the binding is not sewn (I'm using a dual feed foot on the machine...handy, but not required)
Continue along the side of the quilt. When you get to each corner, you want to stop sewing about 1/2" before you get to the end, back stitch a bit and cut the threads.
Fold the binding up towards the edge of the quilt
And then fold it back, leaving a fold at the edge of the quilt
Again, when you start sewing, start about 1/2" from the corner of the quilt. This process will create your mitered corner that you'll see later on
Unless you're working on a very small quilting piece, one package of binding will not be enough, so you'll have to join in another package. You can do this at the beginning, or you can do it as you go along. I prefer to do it as I go along so I don't have a huge piece of binding to work with.

I stop sewing with at least 6 inches of binding free to work with, then lay the new binding at right angles to the original piece with RIGHT SIDES FACING EACH OTHER (this is key....I screw this up almost every time!)

Sew a straight line diagonally to join the two pieces
Cut off the excess fabric
Press the seam open (I just use my fingers, I don't iron it) and you've added on to your binding and can continue sewing it onto your quilt.
I got to the end of my binding and found I had this problem:
I muttered many cuss words under my breath and sent my husband out to get me a root beer float. I didn't take pictures of my fix, but I did have enough binding scraps to fill the gap. Typically, your two pieces will meet. It's better to do another diagonal seam here, but I don't have pictures of that to show you. An easier technique is to do a straight seam. Stop sewing while you still have a tail of binding left, overlap and cut your pieces so there is a 1/4" overlap, then sew them right sides together with a 1/4" seam allowance so you now have a joined piece of binding with no unfinished edges sticking out. Continue sewing the last of your binding to your quilt.

Now, turn the quilt over, fold the binding over and sew it down to the back with a small seam allowance. Those nice corners you took the time to do will end up looking like this on the front:
On the back, miter the best you can. I usually make a small fold from each direction, just make sure you're catching any folds in your sewing if you do that.
Just keep working your way around and you're done!!

Sewing the back of the binding on the machine does mean your stitching will show up on the front and inevitably, some of this stitching ends up slightly on the border instead of all on the binding, which doesn't look the greatest, but still gets the job done
Here's what everything looks like together

I hand quilted the main part of the quilt, then I was worried my border was too wide to go without quilting, so I stitched "in the ditch" between the blue and red borders on the machine. Parts of the quilt are not as smooth as I would like, but I think it came out really well for my first serious attempt at doing a whole quilt start to finish by myself.

I've already gotten the Scrap Happy quilt out to continue quilting it (also hand quilted, and it's king size), but I imagine it will be several more months before I finish that one. Maybe before next winter!!

Quilt Step One: Planning
Quilt Step Two: Cutting Fabric, Preparing Machine
Quilt Step Three: Piecing The Quilt
Quilt: Piecing, Continued
Quilt: More Piecing
Quilt: Scrap Happy Blocks Pieced
Quilt: Spindrift Pieced
Quilt Step Four: Sashing
Quilt Step Five: Border
Quilt: Choosing Batting
Quilt Step Six: The Quilt Sandwich
Quilt Step Seven: Hand Quilting
Quilt Step Eight: Binding

1 comment:

A View from the Road said...

Enjoyed this and will use it on the shoot I am doing, like you I am self taught, me, my MA June, my laptop and the help of people like you who share, thanks!!!

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