Saturday, October 30, 2010

A Binding Proposition

I (with help from Pfaffie) am done quilting Emma Rose's blankie, so it is now time to bind the edges.
First, it is essential that you have the right equipment. Here is one of the most important pieces of equipment in my arsenal -- a kitty. Fergus likes to hang out nearby when I am working around the house. Here, he is napping atop my Embroidery machine. [Dust covers are another essential piece of equipment.] How does my kitty help the sewing/quilting process? He makes me smile. Smiling makes any endeavor seem to go faster.

Quilting done, the next step is to determine exactly the amount of overage needed to fold over the top, tuck under and bind.

There are 2 methods for doing this that I use: the first is to lay the quilt on a flat surface and fold and pin, re-fold and re-pin, basically play with it until you are happy and repeat all around. I call this the SWAG method. (Scientific Wild-Ass Guess). The second is the one I actually used on this quilt. Whilst folding and pinning, I discovered that there was a 4-ft stretch along one edge that only had 2 inches of overage. Ergo, the overage could only be 2 inches. I (along with roughly 40 Million French sewers and quilters) call this fait accompli.
Mark your overage all around, then trim to markings. As you see, I mark with pins. Marking with a water-soluble or erasable marking pen is an excellent idea -- I just can never seem to remember to buy one of those things!

Now, fold and press. The corners are tricky, but don't worry about them - we're getting to that - press each side independent of the next, not worrying about the corner. Pin sporadically to hold in place.

Corners can be managed 2 ways -- mitered, or lapped. In my opinion, there is no aesthetic advantage to lapping, and it is generally done only by quilters who don't know how to miter a corner. I'm not going to let that happen to you, Dear reader! Here's how to miter:
On your ironing board, post-pressing edges, lay your item face down. Fold back the 2 sides comprising the corner to be mitered. Pin the edges together, placing the pin flat against the backing/wrong side of garment. This is your stitching line.

At your machine, stitch from outer point to folded edge. You may back-stitch, to lock the stitches, but you will get a sharper point if you start with a tiny stitch (pulling thread tails taut behind the pressure foot), and increase gradually. This is easily done on your computerized machine, it can be done on most mechanical machines, if you stitch slowly.
Trim the excess fabric to 1/4 in. and turn.

Here is the finished corner, and quilt.
Viola! Neat and pretty, non?


  1. Lovely! She'll be so cozy this winter.

  2. Thanks for the tips. I miss our cat!