Skills and Techniques

Machine Stitched Binding Technique

There are many ways to do a binding that are good. I want to share the techniques I use for creating and sewing binding. This is for the big queen (almost king) size quilt. I encourage you to research a bit and find as many different bindings as you can and try them on a placemat size quilt. This way you know what feels comfortable to you.

In my art quilts that are small, I cut strips of fabric that are 2″ wide. For this project, I cut them 2-1/2″ wide just to be proportionate. When cutting your strips, make sure you cut them salvage to salvage or it is sometimes called width of fabric (WOF).

You may be asking “How do I know how many strips to cut?” Here’s the formula I use:

  1. Measure the top or bottom and one side. For this example, let’s say that the quilt is 50″ x 50″. There are 4 sides to a quilt. The equation would be: 50″ x 4 = 200″
  2. Measure the width of your fabric. (In this example we are using a 40″ width.) Take the 200″ and divide by your width of fabric (40″) to equal 5 strips of fabric need to be cut. (I usually add one more strip for extra).
  3. Take that number of strips needed and multiply it by the width of each strip desired. For example: 5 strips x 2-1/2″width = 12-1/2″ of fabric needed for this binding.

Now you have all the fabric you need and the strips cut. It’s time to sew the strips together.

2-1/2″ strips cut for quilt.

These strips need to be sewn together. I sew them at a 45 degree angle. This will disperse the bulk of the fabric in the seam allowance as to not create bulky spots on the binding. If you are a beginner, I encourage you to mark and pin everything until you are comfortable. The directions are under each picture.

1. With the wrong side of fabric facing up, place the 45 degree angle on the short straight edge of the strip and move the ruler to the bottom corner of your fabric strip.
2. With the ruler still laying down as it step 1, mark the line.
3. Place a second strip perpendicular to the first strip with right sides facing together. Be sure to line up all the edges, pin on either side of the line and sew directly on the line.

The previous 3 steps are for beginners. The next is for more advanced and using the markings on my machine.

1. Over lab two strips with right sides facing each other. This time don’t line up the edges. Off-set the edges a little bit to create tiny 90 degree angles as shown above.
2. Place the top 90 degree angle to the needle and under the presser foot. Then use the bottom 90 degree angle to line up at the center needle mark on your machine. (Not all machines have this mark. Bernina’s do have it. You can put tape or a mark on the extension table that mimics the line I use.) Sew from the point of one 90 angle to the other 90 degree angle. I like to chain stitch the strips all together.
3. After all of the strips are sewn together, I cut them apart and cut off the point, leaving more than 1/4″ of the fabric for seam allowance. I do use scissors in this case because accuracy in cutting at this point will not make a difference in my opinion.
4. Press the seam allowance open and press strip in half with wrong sides together, creating a 1-1/4″ strip.
I tend to roll my binding strip as I go to keep it neat.
5. Sewing the binding onto the quilt. I start by sewing the binding onto the back of the quilt. I stitched a scant 1/2″ seam allowance and checked it by folding the binding over to the other side of the quilt and making sure that the folds meet up and cover the stitch line.

Leave 6-8″ of the binding free and start sewing onto the back of the quilt.

The above slide show has step-by-step photos of how to fold and sew the corners and I explain it below. I wanted to give you as many photos I could to help explain what is hard to explain in words.

1. Stop sewing 1/2″ before the edge of the quilt. (second photo)

2. Fold the unsewn part of the binding back at a 45 degree angle and finger press. (3rd photo)

3. Fold the unsewn part of the binding back lining up the raw edge of the binding to the raw edge of the quilt and leaving the fold along the first raw edge of the quilt that is already sewn (6th photo)

4. Starting at the edge of the quilt where the fold is, continue sewing that scant 1/2″.

5. Repeat these steps and stop 6-8″ from where you started sewing the binding.

Joining the binding is another tricky spot. Once again, I am providing a bunch of similar photos to help to understand the written directions below.

  1. If necessary, trim the loose end on the left so that it falls approximately in the middle of the open 6-8″. Lay it flat against the edge of the quilt and pin. (2nd photo)
  2. Use a scrap piece of the binding (about 2-3″ long), open it up and pin the scrap piece on top of the already pinned binding. Line up the long edge of the scrap binding to the end of the already pined binding. Pin the scrap on the left side. (3rd photo)
  3. Lay the right side of the unsewn binding over already pinned binding from step 2. (4th photo)
  4. Fold the top piece so that the fold is matching the edge of the scrap piece underneath (5th photo). Finger press.
  5. Unfold that top piece and cut on the fold. Unpin everything. (both of the pieces are suppose to over lap at this point for sewing room)
  6. Lay the edges of the binding facing together and open up (wrong side of fabric facing up).
  7. Pick up the edges slightly and match the edges together (the quilt will seem to be shorter, just push it out of the way).
  8. Rotate the end on the right 1/4 turn away from you. The ends are now at a 90 degree angle from each other. Line it up the same way when the strips were joined together. (The right side strip can be marked at that 45 degree angle if you wish to have that line)
  9. Pin on both sides of the “to be” sewing line. (Tip: the binding strips are at a 90 degree angle and you will be sewing across to form an “A”.)
  10. Sew ends together
  11. Unpin and check to make sure the sewing was done right by folding the binding in half lengthwise (the way it will be sewn to the quilt). It should lay flat. (photos are in the below slide show)
  12. Open up and trip the corner, finger press seam open
  13. Continue to sew the unsewn section of the binding.
  1. Roll the binding over to the right side of the quilt. It should be snug around the edge and slightly covers the previous stitching. (6th photo)
  2. I use a foot with a flange to help line up the binding when I fold it over. I also move my needle to position 2 to the right. (photo7)
  3. When I get to the corner, I pull out the binding on the other side of the quilt and this should create a 45 degree angle on the right hand side. I continue to sew straight to just about 1/4″ from the edge of the quilt. (photos 11 & 12)
  4. I rotate the quilt 1/4 turn, fold the binding over aligning the corner to the previously sewn binding, and continue sewing until completely sewn around.
  5. Whew! Lots of information!

Thank you for reading my blog! Hope you try this method on your next quilt.

Have a wonderful day!

Pam

Featured, For Fun, What’s Happening?

What’s Happening!

Happy New Year everyone!!!🎊🎉

I’ve been working on the wedding quilt for my son and daughter-in-law over the past couple of weeks. I’m happy to say……I’m almost done with it!!!

I used a cotton and wool batting for the first time and I like the results. I did learn that I probably needed to pin baste closer together to avoid fabric shifting (like every 2-3” would have been perfect). It turned out nice and has a good weight to it! It will keep them warm for those winter nights!

I’ll be finishing it this weekend by squaring it up and binding.

That’s what’s happening! Thank you for reading my blog. I will be doing some quilt tutorial blogs in the near future. Please tell me if there’s anything you’d like to see!

Have a wonderful day!

Featured, organizing sewing room

Starting 2020 with New Adventures!

As 2019 ends and 2020 begins, I can’t help but reflect on the past and make plans for the future. I have been blessed this year to have several teaching occasions to share my quilting journey and knowledge with eager fellow quilters! Met some wonderful people and made new friends in this wonderful quilting world.

I look forward to making more competition quilts this year and currently have 2-3 in mind (we will see how many I can complete by the end of 2020). Entering them into AQS shows, International Quilt Show in Huston, as well as Quilt Consortium of New York State.

I will also be continuing to teach wherever I can. I will be updating my event calendar soon so you will all know what’s happening.

Also, I have started a new adventure that I expect to take a few years to accomplish. I am beginning to study to become an AQS Certified Quilt Appraiser. I have already started to read books that will increase my knowledge of fabrics, history, patterns, etc. In April, I will hopefully be able to attend the appraiser class at AQS Paducah for more knowledge of the “steps” I need to do to accomplish this certification.

My collection is 132 books on quilting, sewing, crafts,running a creative business, and fine art!

In preparation for a bunch of books being added to my current library, I am organizing all of my books. Here’s how I am doing this: I used Numbers in my iPad to start my spreadsheet.

There are a few general subjects in my collection: Quilting, General Sewing and Crafts, Craft Business, and Miscellaneous. (Column #1)

List sub categories: (ie: Under Quilting would be History, Free Motion, Techniques, Patterns, etc.) (Column #2)

Column #3 would list the title of the books

Column #4 lists the author(s)

Column #5 lists a brief description of the book

Column #6 has a note if it is borrowed from someone

Column #7 lists if the book was loaned out and to whom

I will definitely keep all of you posted on this journey!

May you have a very blessed and happy New Year!

Thank you for reading my blogs!

art quilt

December Already?!

Wow! December has flown by! I’ve been busy with a lot of traveling and visiting family that I forgot to write posts!!

Currently, I’m finishing the wedding quilt I made for Joe and Sarah. While I was quilting today, my machine (Bernina 790) was doing some weird stuff and I could not figure it out. Thank God for my Bernina 700 series Facebook group! I posted my issue and the response was to recalibrate the screen. I didn’t know that was a thing, and found it in the manual. It worked!

As I keep quilting this huge quilt, I am realizing a few things about myself and quilting:

1. Even though I’m not fond of quilting these big quilts, I love the feel of the quilt when all three layers are stitched together as one.

2. After 4 years, I challenged myself to not use the BSR foot (stitch regulator). my quilting is not too bad!

3. I have a lot more work/practice to do with free-motion stitching to look as good as……well as I want.

Have a wonderful Holiday Season!

Thank you for reading my blog!

Featured, memory quilt, tshirt quilt

T-Shirt Quilts – Custom made vs Manufacturing Companies

There are a few manufacturing companies that will be more than happy to make a t-shirt quilt out of your t-shirts. Then there are private professional quilters like me who pay attention to details and the customers vision.

I looked into those companies a bit. Yes, they are less expensive (considerably) than the private professional quilter; however, you are getting a different quality and not as much attention to details. Here’s what I found:

  1. The manufacturing companies will take your shirts and use a die cutter to cut the design part of the shirt out. I’m not sure if they stabilize the shirts or not which in my opinion is a must when sewing knit (stretchy) fabric to woven (non-stretch) fabric. It produces a smoother seam and stronger end product. The other part…the die cutter cannot adjust for a shirt design that is larger than the size of it. In just about every t-shirt quilt I have made, there is at least one shirt design that is bigger than the size of the square I use and I have had to make adjustments. That is what you are getting with a custom quilter……creativity in adjusting square size to the design. Plus, I sit with the customer and ask if they want the back of the t-shirts if there’s a print on both sides. I don’t know if the manufacturers do that. My guess would be they don’t do that personal touch.
  2. I (as the custom quilter) give you a choice of how you want the back of the quilt to be. Traditional (batting and fabric), more t-shirts with batting between, or fleece alone. The one that I saw had just fleece which is much faster to work with.
  3. Once the front and back of the quilt is sewn together, the manufacturing companies don’t sew the layers together (or known as quilting together). That is a very labor intensive process. You do pay for the quilt to be quilted. In my opinion, the quilting together bonds the layers together to provide a stronger end product. The quilting together is important to prevent the t-shirts and other fabrics from sagging through the years, and when it’s washed the quilt is all bonded together and it’s easier to fold and put away.
  4. My thought is that the quilting together will overall last longer than the not quilted one. You’re getting a stronger quilt.

So there you have it, the pros and cons to custom t-shirt quilt and a manufacturer t-shirt quilt. Same end product in general, different quality of work and attention to details. If you are looking for a custom t-shirt quilter, please contact me for further details.

Thank you for reading my blog, and have a wonderful day.

Pam

art quilt

Continued Progress!

Still working on this quilt for a December 4 due date and competition. I came across some issues as I was working on it. I wanted to share with you these issues and my decisions.

I was wondering how I was going to quilt this (common question). I decided to outline it in black 30wt thread to pop the individual colors and shapes. Then do the extremely dense quilting between each design with a white background to have a trapunto look. This also lead to a question of what kind of batting to use. So, for the first time, I am using cotton batting and wool batting on top. Decisions are good at this point!

As I’m quilting along and in my “zen” state, I realize that this challenge quilt is suppose to be 24″x24″ and bound. If I’m doing this much work, I want to be able to submit it to the AQS Shows. After looking at the AQS competition sizes, I discovered that the size of this quilt will be too small. A 4″ border needs to be added around the quilt to make it qualify for the competitions I want to enter this quilt in.

My predicament is….how do I add a border onto an already completed and bound quilt? The decision is to unbind the quilt after the December 4 competition, add at least a 4″ border by doing a “quilt-as-you-go” method. That’s as far as I have got with the decisions. I don’t know what the border is going to look like. I have a bunch of ideas, just don’t want to make that decision yet. I’ll keep you posted as to the results!

Thank you for reading my blog! Have a wonderful day and a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Pam