Thursday, March 20, 2014

Attaching a Continuous Binding Tutorial

I have got this stage of making a quilt down to a pretty exact science, gleaning bits and bats of several different instructors' methods over the years to make it my own.  First of all, I have to say, that Christa Watson, whose blog I've followed for the past 6 months recently posted the BEST tutorial I have seen on this, right here.  She does everything exactly as I do, except for the final seam,  However, the difference there is negligible, as in cut a 45 angle first or last.

I have wanted to write this for a long time, because I've seen so many that "mess up" the final seam so the binding is, in effect, NOT continuous.  Also the mitred corners get missed as far as stitching them, too.  Happily, Christa, a quilter of some renown, who has been featured on the cover of and is a regular contributor to "Quilty", is the creator of Colorful Chevrons quilt, does this BEST method.  Yes, I'm on a soapbox.  Okay, cough, I'll get off now.
TONS of pics alert!

Step 1
Tip:  Choose a binding that not only goes with the front of your quilt, but also with the back.  I once had a constructive criticism from a quilt show (and I've only entered that same one a couple of times, so I don't have a lot of experience here) that my binding didn't go with the back of my quilt.  And it didn't.

Measure the length and width of your quilt.  Multiply each side by 2.  This is the perimeter.  Divide this number by 40.  Why 40?  Because most fabric is 42-44" wide and 40 allows for the seams allowances you will need to deduct when sewing the strips together.  And 40 is easy to divide by!  Most likely you will have an uneven number.  Round up.  This is the number of strips you need to cut.  Here is my figuring for "Hidden in Plaid Sight":

Yes, I could have used a calculator on my phone, but head-math makes my brain work, and you know what they say about keeping your brain active.

I like my binding to be double-fold, and a healthy quarter inch wide, so I cut my strips 2 1/4" wide.

Step 2
Join the strips so you end up with one long strip.
With right sides together, lay one strip horizontally, and the other vertically, ensuring they are on a 90 degree angle by using the lines on your mat.

B. Here are two three(!) ways to do the mitre:

I used my 9.5" square with the 45 line on the vertical strip, and the point where the two strips meet.
I drew a line with a chalk pencil.
Alternatively, use your 6X12" ruler, lining up the 45 angle line with the horizontal strip, so the edge of the ruler runs through the point where the two strips intersect.  Draw a line as before.
OR, with the 6X12" ruler, line the 45 angleline with the horizontal strip as in the second method above, BUT put the 1/4" line of the ruler edge so it runs through the point where the two strips intersect.

There is no need to draw a chalk line this way, simply cut with your rotary cutter along the edge.

Pin the just-cut edges, and repeat this until you have all the strips aligned, trimmed and pinned.

C. Stitch, using a 1/4" seam allowance.

Step 3
Fold in half lengthwise and iron. I press the mitred seams to one side.

Step 4
Leaving an 8" or more tail, pin the binding to the right side of the quilt at the point you plan to start sewing it down.  I like to start on one of the sides.  Remember my Aha! Moment Tip #6: run the binding around all 4 edges of the quilt to ensure you do not hit a corner with one of your mitred joins.  Adjust the beginning point if need be, and repeat the process until all 4 corners are join-free.  There is no need to pin the binding after that first starting pin; just line up the edges and sew, using a walking foot (you've got several layers plus batting here) and 1/4" seam.
Tip:  After I've sewed about 8-10", I like to check my healthy 1/4"; that I'm leaving enough to turn over to the back so it will cover all the stitching.
Looking good!

Step 5
When you come to the first corner, stop 1/4" from the edge of the quilt, needle down, and sew into the corner. In the picture below, I've done that and pulled the quilt forward so you can see the 45 degree stitching into the corner.

Fold the binding back on itself, away from the quilt top.  See the 45 degree angle created?

Now fold it back down again, on top of that 45, lining up the binding edges with the second side of the quilt.

Sew, just as if you were starting at that corner, backstitching a couple of stitches if you like, but you've crossed over the previous seam, so if you haven't cut your threads, there isn't a need to.

Repeat this process at all 4 corners.

Step 6
Join the beginning to the end of the binding.
When you get to the side that you started on, stop sewing and backstitch leaving a good 12 inches of the quilt unsewn, and leaving the second tail of the binding free.  It should look like this:

Cut the end of the binding you first started to sew down on a 90-degree angle.

Overlap the two ends of binding, putting the just-cut edge on the bottom.

Using a chalk marker, mark a line on the uncut binding the width of your binding away from the just-cut edge.  My binding is 2 1/4", so I made a mark 2 1/4" away from the just-cut edge, but on the uncut binding.  Lift the uncut edge off the quilt, and carefully cut with a rotary cutter on that chalk mark.
Lay the two edges right sides together, just as you did when joining the strips, one going horizontal, the other vertical.  Draw the 45 angle with a chark marker if you like.  I have a guide on my machine, so I usually use it.  Stitch on that chalk line.

 Trim 1/4" away from the stitched seam.

**Note:  This is where Christa's method differs, and it is a good difference!  She has already cut that first edge of binding on the 45 before she starts to sew the binding onto the quilt.  See her method for how this works.  It gives you the exact same results as mine. 

Step 7
Pop that binding back in line so wrong sides are together and voilà! --- a perfect fit!
 Stitch it down.  No tucked in, bulky, wonky, hand-stitched, or unstitched final joins!  You cannot tell out of all the joins which one is the final one! Mmmm.

Step 8
Turn the binding to the back of your quilt and hand-stitch it down.  Lots of people, Christa, included, as well as myself, love this part.  Sit on the couch, get comfy, cup of tea handy perhaps, and watch a show or a movie, or do as I often do:  pack it along in the car (even on a plane!) and stitch as you travel.  Obviously, not while you drive, LOL!  I have Sunday's episode of "Once Upon A Time" to stream while I stitch, and I might even stitch a while outside on the balcony as it's a perfect temperature, and the light is so good for these eyes of mine.

I like to have the quilt on my lap, the binding away from me, and I come up just at the edge of the binding, stitch directly below where I came out, even a teensy-eensy bit behind where I came up, run my needle just under the quilt backing about a 1/4" go back up into the binding and pull up some of the thread.
I repeat this for about 4-5 stitches and then I will pull ALL the thread through.  I find this puts less stress on the thread, as I'm not constantly pulling it through with each stitch.  I also find that not pulling the entire length of the thread through will ensure my needle stays "caught" on the thread should it happen to fall out while I move the quilt.

I keep hearing about Clover Wonderclips, but I'm still using the previous rage, aka hair clips!  The work fine for me.  I only use 2-3, as they pop off because I haul the quilt around with me since I don't sit still for too long at a stretch, lol.  Maybe Wonderclips have a better grip than these!

Step 9
When you come to a corner, fold the binding down as usual, keeping the next edge of the binding open.
Fold the next edge of binding down, creating a 45 degree (gee, I wish I knew how to put in that degree symbol in Blogger, grr) angle.  Too cool!
Stitch right up to the corner, but do not continue going along the next edge UNTIL you have stitched the fold of these corners down on BOTH front and back.  I was told this by a friend who entered a competition and got dinged points because she hadn't done this.  I LOVE that Christa also has this step in her tutorial!  Use teeny tiny stitches to do this.

Poke the needle through to the front of the quilt and repeat. Once again, poke the needle through to the back, and continue on down the second side of your quilt.

Once you get to the end (or beginning!), tie a knot as per usual, and run the end of the thread under the binding to bury it for about 3".  Flip over your quilt and LOVE the look!!

I was able to use this quilt (it was PERFECT!) to practise the stitches in Angela Walters' "Dot to Dot Quilting" class on Craftsy (yes, think I've mentioned that in a few posts, great class!!).  Once I'm done stitching my binding, I will show you the entire quilt.

Hope this helps put the finishing touch on your quilts!

1 comment:

  1. Oh wooooow. As a non-quilter, I'm still out in left field somewhere. I don't understand this at all, but I believe you! Lol ;p