Wednesday, February 5, 2014

The Sneaky Finish

When adding the binding to really small quilts, like mug rugs, I have a heck of a time joining the ends of the binding.  To overcome this, I use a technique I saw someone else use.  While I wouldn't use this on a quilt for a child, or any quilt that will get a bunch of dragging around use, it does work great for mug rugs.  A review of my post about machine-finished binding might help with some of this.
Here are two mug rugs.  My free-motion quilting on my sewing machine still needs some work.  It's funny to me, since I can reliably do both of these designs on the long-arm without a hitch.  Step one, trim the edges since we'll be attaching the binding from the back.  This technique will work from either the front or the back, I just did it from the back so I could finish the binding by machine.
First, cut the end of the binding at 45 degrees.  Notice I've already pressed my binding so I can tell the right-side from the wrong-side.  This is important.  If you cut the beginning of the binding the wrong way it just won't look like what I'm doing in the tutorial.  Nor will it attach so the longest side is down, against the quilt.
Press down 1/4" along this trimmed end, fold the binding wrong-sides together and press.
Pin the binding along the longest edge of the tiny quilt.  Make sure you leave enough room from the end of this tail to the edge of the mug rug or this won't work.  
Start stitching about 1" from the next corner, forming your mitered corners as usual.
Stitch all the way around until you reach the last corner.  I find it helpful to move the pinned tail out of my way when making the miter for this last corner.
With the needle down, make sure the leading edge of the binding doesn't have slack in it.  Just pull the pin and reposition so it lies smoothly across the unfinished edge.  Place the tailing end of the binding towards this diagonal press and trim it so it is about 1/4" - 1/2" longer than the opening of the leading edge.  
Tuck this tail into the leading edge of the binding, keeping it smooth to avoid wrinkles in your binding.  Continue until you have reached your starting stitches.  Isn't that great?  You didn't have to wrestle with the ends to join them!  Or, break thread to attach the binding.
Here is what it looks like once you're stitched it all down.  Trim your corners, press the binding out, or prepare with your preferred method to pull the binding to the other side.  
I machine-finished this binding.  I started somewhere around the middle of the bottom edge of the mug rug.  This way I could get to that join as quickly as possible.  Not because I thought it might go somewhere, but so I could take a picture of it.
Here is the finished join after the binding is sewn down.  Like I said, this isn't the perfect thing for all quilts.  If you don't like it being open like that, you can get in there with your needle and thread and finish it up.  For coasters, place-mats or mug rugs, I love this method.  No fiddling with getting the ends lined up, no wrestling with the quilt, which is just annoying to me with a small quilt.  

If you want to see a way to join those ends of binding together, check out my friend's blog, Hairdresser by day, Quilter by Night!  Great tutorial on getting the ends to line up beautifully!

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