Thursday, July 10, 2008

Bind This!

Yes, I did some sewing last weekend. There was Secret Sewing that I photographed but can’t show you. That’s already in the hands of the USPS winging its way west to my LURKER friend Lisa. (hi, Lisa! Hi, Ole!, Hi, Deb! Hi, Sandy! ... I think that covers about a third of the Cali contingent)

Ahem. Back to business.

After getting all of the bits and pieces cut and sewn back together for Nonie’s quilt, I figured I should also get cracking on getting the Positively Painful Patriotic Pineapple finished. Since I sent it out to Quilted Memories in Dunkirk, N.Y., for longarm quilting, that means binding and label. So I started on the binding!

And as long as I was sewing, I figured I’d snap some photos so that Floribunda would be happy and quit bugging me about the knitting-heavy content.

About halfway along the process of sewing the binding allllll the way around this queen sized monster, I realized that as long as I was doing that, I could take a few more photos and try to explain my favorite method of closing binding. I will try to keep this as concise as possible, but please feel free to fire away if you have questions.

Personally, I always lay out my binding before I start. I begin with a point about 12-18” away from the center of the “bottom” of the quilt, then I lay out the binding to make sure that I don’t have any seams in the neighborhood of any of the corners.

I’m assuming that if you’re still reading, you know how to make binding strips and how to miter a corner. And that you know to leave about a half-strip of binding “free” when you start sewing on the binding. I’m focusing only on how to “close the loop” so to speak.

As I get back around to the side of the quilt where I started, I stop sewing the binding down when I’m about 18-24” away from where I started sewing the binding down.

I take the “starting” tail of the binding and fold it down at a 90 degree angle so that tail is now perpindicular to the edge of the quilt. You’re looking at the “bottom” tail of red binding in that photo above.

Now lay the piece coming from the “top” directly over that foldy piece. If you click to biggify that picture above, you can see the line I finger-pressed with my nail. At this point, you’ll have three levels of binding going on in that little triangle.

Don’t stretch the binding, but don’t make it extra-loose either. Both sides should lay completely flat on the quilt, exactly where you want to sew them down.

You then stick a pin through only the top two layers of binding.

This is why it’s important to leave that 18-24” gap, because after that pin is in place, the next step is to straighten out both binding strips and sew along that finger-pressed line. That un-sewn length gives you enough room to maneuver the binding through your sewing machine.

Here, you can see the line of stitching that connected the two pieces of binding. And my scrap I used to sew off the corner. :-) Yes, I noticed that I had a few skipped stitches there. I re-sewed it before I moved on to the next step. Don’t want that sucker to fall apart.

After I triple- and quadruple-checked that the join was completed correctly,

I snipped both ends of the binding about ¼” off of the seam line. I now have a completely closed loop of binding, but I have that 18-24” section where the loop is not attached to the quilt.

So the next step is to sew down that last gap

Tah-dah! Totally ready to be whipstitched down to the back of the quilt. I’ll get around to that. Speaking of which, this seam line will disappear when it is whipstitched down and will look exactly like the bias joins on the rest of the binding.

Oh, and I have two labels to make and have binding to hand stitch down on both of them. Bah, humbug! But at least I like this better than doing finishing work on my knitting. Weird, huh?

I honestly don’t remember how I closed binding before I learned this technique. This is pretty no-muss, no-fuss and I’m very sold on it. Hope I made sense and you liked this tutorial!


Jenn said...

"I’m assuming that if you’re still reading, you know how to make binding strips and how to miter a corner."

Yeah, well I read it anyway and it didn't make a lick of sense. ;)

Trillian42 said...

Hey, that's cool!

Granted I've made exactly five quilts, all baby-sized and all the same pattern, but that's a nifty way of closing off the binding.

Anonymous said...

I love that pineapple quilt... I recently started a pineapple quilt one block down only 63 to go.


Daniele said...

Gorgeous colors. I really need to get back to mine at some point. It sits on the quilt frame gathering dust. Thanks for the inspiration!

Daniele aka

blogless dee said...

I remember helping my grandmother with some of her quilts and I always hated the binding! It was such a pain in the arse! But you're way seems so much easier. I love the colors. The whole thing is looking great.