I'll be vending at a bunch of events this summer, and Quilt Market is just around the corner, so I've been attempting to get ahead of the game, working on a few samples.
In particular, I'm making a few Up One Side Runners for my display and to kit up for the shows. The fabrics I'm using for this sample are from Hoffman California Fabrics. The line is called Ridge Rock. It will start showing up in quilt shops in early summer, so be sure to ask for it at your favorite local quilt shop!
This fabric line reminds me of a walk in the woods on a summer day. It's a small group with only a few prints. To create a nice contrast with the print background fabric, the runner features some beautifully matching 1895 Bali hand-paints (these colors happen to be called Seacliff and October) also from Hoffman. I just love the colors!
This runner practically puts itself together. It looks more complicated that it is to make! After a few hours of sewing and some dedicated quilting time, I'm ready to get the binding on.
Like so many quilting techniques, binding has lots of options. Bias/width-of-grain/length-of-grain--seems like everyone has a preference. Bias binding is said to wear better than binding cut along the straight of grain. It's also better when curves are involved due to the stretch-factor of the bias cut strips.
I usually use binding cut from width-of-grain strips, for no other reason than it's fast and easy. Not that bias binding is difficult to make, but takes a bit more planning.
Typically, I trim the batting and backing even with the quilt top first so I have a perfectly straight quilt edge. I save those leftover bits of batting for pin cushions. Wool batting is a favorite, and those scraps make great stuffing.
I connect my strips with a 45˚seam . . .
Press the seam open, then press the entire strip in half, lengthwise, wrong sides together.
Strips should be cut between 2 to 2-1/2" for a double fold binding that finishes to 1/4"; for quilts, I like to cut 2-1/4" wide strips for a little extra leeway. Of course, if I want a wider binding, my strips need to be wider too.
If you want a different width double-fold binding--something other than the standard 1/4", but you don't know what width strip you'll need, as a rule of thumb, take the finished width you want to show on the front of your quilt, multiply it by 6--2 layers from the raw edge to the seam, 2 layers from the seam to the edge and 2 layers from the edge to the back side of the seam--then add 1/2" for all the folds in there. Therefore, to make a 1/2" binding: 1/2 x 6 = 3 + 1/2" = 3-1/2" strips. Pretty neat, huh? Don't forget to sew the wider binding onto the quilt using the new finish measurement, 1/2" in the example.
I'm a pin-freak when it comes to binding. I've put too much work into the quilt top and the quilting to have a binding that's either too loose or too tight. The raw edge of the binding is aligned with the raw edge of the quilt. I use a dual feed 1/4" foot or the walking foot as I attach the binding
With the binding sewn to the front, I'm ready for some quiet time to hand sew the fold to the back of the quilt, covering the binding seam lines.
In the summer, I take the project out onto the porch to enjoy the nice weather. This time of year, a movie or an audible book are my pick for binding sewing entertainment.
I can't help sneaking a peek for a preview.
Two Up One Side runners are 'on deck' for hand sewing time!
. . .And one more project that is ready to bind. The winter weather finally subsided enough for me to retrieve my log cabin quilt. The Snobelt Quilters did a beautiful job quilting my quilt, now it's my turn to bind it!
Some people find sewing the binding on the quilt to be boring. I don't. It's my last chance to add a personal, finishing touch to the quilt. And it's quiet time that always adds calm to a crazy schedule. And it's the home stretch, except for the label, the quilt's done!
And the very BEST part of making a quilt is being able to USE it!
PS: For a few more tips on binding around weird corners, continuous closure, and hand stitching, check out this page on my site for lots of nifty details.