Sunday, March 6, 2011

I figured it out!!!

Hi. I wanted to improve my binding on my quilts. I used to sew the ends straight together, then trim off the selvages, but had bumps from all the layers at one spot. Then I started sewing the strips together at a 45* angle, so the bumps were gone!!


Judy from Sew Fun Quilts (great blog, go follow her) posted a blog post about binding a quilt, and it was very informative. One thing that I started doing was pressing the binding flat, than flipping over the quilt, and pressing the binding a little bit past the stitching line, so when I stitched in the ditch from the front, I had a better chance of catching the bottom (my weakest part, bah). Before I started pressing the binding, I had to go over many missed spots, sometimes even 2 times before I caught the underside (sometimes, no longer in the ditch of the seam, but on the binding itself, talk about frustration!! Judy's tips about pressing the front and back really helps me catch most of the bottom, and still keep the stitches in the ditch. ( She has some good pictures.

Another friend purchases lots of "tools" and must own 4 "Binding tools" from different companies. I have seen a number of them, and there are more being marketed daily! Seems like everyone who quilts has a way to make sure the beginning/end seam works. And they create a tool (like hundreds of others, okay, maybe not hundreds, but you get the idea) to make the join work. I figured it out, and no special tool is required. Really. I am not going to reinvent the wheel!! Can you see where I started and ended? Round and round and round it goes, where it stops, ...


I even did a survey the other day and the last question was "what quilting tools do you think should be invented?" I said "STOP inventing!!" Too many tools make it confusing. So I though about the beginning and end seam. I used to just fold down the beginning part (straight) about 1/2 inch, and trim the end so it goes in to the beginning, tuck the end inside, and stitch away. Problem was, I got the big bump again. Not pretty. So I decided I wanted to try doing that as a 45* seam, looking like all the other seams (when using french folded binding, it makes the seam spread over a few inches, not bunch in one place.)

So, I cut the beginning part of the strip at a 45* angle, the same direction as the seams, BEFORE I pressed it in half. Just lay any ruler with a 45* mark along the edge of the strip, angled the same as the first seam, and trim the end. Press this fold down between 1/4 to 1/2 inch, and press the strip in half, wrong sides together.


Begin sewing, leaving about 5 inches unsewn at the beginning, miter your corners, and stop about 5 inches from the tip of folded edge of the beginning strip. Slip your end into the bias cut end.


Pin the fold line on the 45* cut end to the strip where they meet (make sure you only pin the upper layer to the upper layer, and the lower layer to the lower, and not to the quilt). Keep it smooth, too. Carefully, without disturbing the pins, open up your strips. One strip should be pinned at a 45* angle from the other. I place a pin inside the folded part, right along the fold line, catching in the inner strip. Do the same on the lower layer. When you open it, the pins should look like this. Practic makes perfect, and if you have a question, ask me for another picture.



Sew along the fold line, which should be exactly where you pinned (take out the pins before, or move them off the seam, of course).

Refold the binding to make sure it lays smooth and flat on the quilt, then trim the seam to 1/4 inch or so. The secret is in the pinning. You must carefully pin along the bias fold along both edges of the strip.

Go press your binding away from the quilt, then over the stitches on the back, and sew (by hand or machine, your choice).

One other blog had tried to explain, but she said something about remembering to flip one strip so you ended up the right way (Huh?? confused me) and another just said tuck in the end, trim and stitch. But that was still a little bulky, since you didn't trim even with the bias fold, you would end up with an extra bit in the binding. Not as bad as a straight seam, but still, not smooth. I can't tell where the first strip really began! That is perfect. Now, to get the back to catch all the way the FIRST time I sew. That's my next goal. Maybe when I press I should use a bit of fusible thread?? No, that's cheating. I still have to go back and resew. I don't mind hand sewing, but my fingers get cramped from holding that tiny needle. I prefer machine sewing the binding. I want it DONE!! And now I can make the mitered join. And I didn't spend money on a special tool, so I can afford more fabric. Yeah!

1 comment:

sewfunquilts said...

Thanks sew much, Maryellen, for posting about my binding tutorial on my blog. I appreciate it.