Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Tool Tip Tuesday: Joining Quilt Binding

I've been asked a couple times about how I join my binding.  I'm relatively new to specific technique but I wanted to share what I've learned.  This tool tip actually uses two tools you already have in your sewing basket:  A marking tool (I use the Frixion pen from Pilot) and a small ruler (mine is an Omnigrid in the 1" by 6" size).
For this demonstration I'll be finishing the binding by machine, but this post will only cover the joining of binding ends.  This isn't a method I came up with, but it is one that I love using.  I learned this technique from my friend Veronica.  We met through a quilt swap and we also shared some tips.  I love this technique and wanted to share how I changed it just a little.

I usually use 2.5" wide strips for my binding.  This width binding finishes closer to 3/8" binding than 1/4" binding.  Make sure you know the width of your binding for this method to work.

Leaving at least a 12" tail, start in the middle of one long edge and attach your binding.  I back-stitch at the beginning of this stitching and at the end.
This binding was attached to the back of the quilt with a seam allowance just under 3/8".  I like to have room to work.  First, leave at least 12" open between the start of the binding and the end.  This will give you room to work.  You can do it with about 6" of room.  I just don't like to have to squeeze it in.  That way lies the devil (you may know it by a different name:  the seam ripper).
Remmeber when I mentioned you needed to know how wide your binding is?  This is where it figures in.  In the middle of that open space, mark one tail of your binding with two marks at 2.5" apart (adjust this measurement for your binding).  Don't do this marking all the way to one side or the other.  Keep it in the middle of that 12" of unfinished binding.

Note:  I only mark on this half of the binding.  I find it sufficient for my needs and I know the Frixion pen lines will be hidden in the binding.  Not that I have a problem with Frixion pens leaving marks.
Pull the other tail of the binding over the top and copy the marks.  I usually offset the marks just slightly (in this case to the right).  In this picture the offset is just about 1/4".  This makes my binding just a tad bit short and will pull it up a little removing any slack in the binding before it is sewn down.
Contort the quilt a little so you can pull these marked lines on the binding together (I fold the quilt so the fold is in the middle of the open binding.  This gives you room to move the ends of the binding together.).  Line up the bottom edge with the line on the binding tail from the left while matching the lines on the tail to the right with the edges of the left tail, right sides together.  That seems about as clear as mud.  I hope the picture makes it clearer.
Open up the top binding tail and pin the two pieces together.  This is where you would draw a diagonal line if you need one.  I rarely do this but that doesn't mean my binding is always perfect.  It also doesn't mean that drawing that diagonal line is a bad idea.
Then I pin-baste along that line.  I do this so I can do a fit test to make sure I got everything lined up.  Sure this takes time.  About the same amount of time as having to rip out stitches if I do it wrong.
Sew along that line, removing the pins before you get to them.
Before trimming those tails, I test again to make sure everything is right.  I would hate to have to sew on additional binding because I cut it too short.
Trim the tails off leaving a 1/4" seam allowance.
Press open or to one side, whatever is your preference.  Usually I press to one side when making my binding.  A member of the Baltimore Modern Quilt Guild made this binding and pressed open so I followed suit.
Stitch down the last 12" with at least 1" of overlap at both ends.  This is where I will leave you to press your binding towards the edge or not.  I find that finishing the binding by machine is easier if I do press.  If I was going to finish this binding by hand I would have attached it to the front, joined it in the same manner but I wouldn't press it.  I like the fullness that the binding has when you don't press before pulling it to the back.

You can see how I finish the binding by machine on the front of the quilt in this blog post.

Do you have tips or tricks for finishing binding?

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the reminder! Just in time to finish some binding today. Oregonquilt.blogspot.com

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