Quilters seem to have mixed feelings about binding. For some, it is a relaxing, pleasurable last step in completing a quilt, perhaps providing time to reflect on the person to whom the quilt is being given or how it will be used in the home for years to come. Others may find it a bothersome, time-consuming task keeping them from the next exciting quilt project.
I tend to be somewhere in between. I enjoy hand-sewing and don’t mind adding binding. However, I have LOTS of quilts to bind because I have accumulated so many unfinished personal quilts, charity quilts, and quilt samples of my own designs. I need a faster method of sewing binding – preferably all by machine. Despite being careful, I am seldom pleased with my efforts to sew on binding completely by machine. It rarely looks as nice as sewing the binding on the front by machine and finishing on the back by hand.
I thought this would be a fun project to make for the Fourth of July and perhaps as a gift for a family member in the military. The piecing was quick and easy so I decided to make two.
I used my vintage, but perfectly serviceable, light box for tracing the letters.
A FriXion® pen (found in office supply stores) worked well to write the letters. The pen has an eraser, but the reason it is helpful with quilting is because the ink also disappears with heat. When I needed to recenter the letters, simply ironed the letters off and rewrote them. Also, since it is hard to write neatly on non-stabilized fabric, I was glad I could iron away my writing after the embroidery was finished.
Laraine suggested embroidering through the top and batting, adding the backing later, so threads would be hidden. For the embroidery, I used my favorite Open-Sided Thimble, #5 pearl cotton, a #24 chenille needle, a Double Needle Threader that could handle the thick thread, and Clover Embroidery Hoop.
I didn’t have any off-white wool or felted wool, and couldn’t find any at the fabric store, so I bought plastic buttons for the stars. When I opened the package, the buttons were too white. I decided to paint them with Americana® Decor Chalky Paint™, in the Timeless color, which we sell through Artist’s Club. The paint will cover most surfaces without sanding or priming, so I figured why not try it? They came out looking like painted wooden buttons and just the right color!
After sewing on the buttons and doing some simple stitch in the ditch quilting, I was ready to try the new binding technique!
Binding Completely by Machine
A few months ago, I was sent a link to an excellent tutorial on Aunt Marti’s website about a method for adding binding by machine that also included a small flange. Eager to try this but busy with other projects, I finally tried it this weekend. The method calls for two binding strips. One functions as the binding and is cut 1-1/2″ wide. The other becomes a small, built-in flange and is cut 1-3/4″ wide. I chose fabrics from the Hometown Summer collection (sorry, a couple are already sold out). I cut the stripe on the bias so the print would run diagonally. You need to piece enough strips of both prints to go around the perimeter and add 10″. Then, the two strips are sewn together.
After the strips are joined, they are folded and pressed as usual to make binding. Because the striped fabric is 1/4″ wider, a small flange is formed. Clever!
Here is where I should be inserting the rest of the instructions and photos for this interesting binding method. This has been a wild and crazy week so… the project is not finished. Oh well! I promise to finish it soon. Please check back – the follow-up Part 2 blog is scheduled for Tuesday, July 15th.
Hope everyone has a fun and safe Fourth of July!