Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Binding, part 2

A lot of people (okay, three) have asked me about binding so we're returning to that topic for another look, specifically at how to bind a quilt.

Now I've said before and I'll say it again, I'm no expert. But I have now bound 5 quilts, using 3 different methods, and have gone from fearing and loathing the process to actually really enjoying it. What changed me? Well, after quilt 2 1/2, I got fed up and read the instructions. I never do this. But fed up with my messy, time consuming approach, I looked at the chapter on binding in my quilting book and voila, it made sense!

Here's how it works. (For the purpose of illustration, I'm using garish, non-matching colours. Don't worry. This project was straight for the bin and not an indication of my new creative direction!)

Step 1: attach your binding

See the previous tutorial for instructions on how to make binding. Assuming you've already got yours, line up the rough edges with the edge of your quilt. You're doing this on the top side of your quilt, so that top part will be machine sewn, and the back finished by hand.

With the edges lined up (pin if desired), sew the binding to the quilt. Don't start at a corner, and stop before you get to the corners - that's the next step!
Binding partially attached

 Step 2: Corners

When you get about 1 inch away from the corner, stop stitching and take your needle out. Fold the binding up and off your quilt, to make a triangle as shown in photo A. Then, fold the binding straight back down, along the edge of the next side of your quilt (photo B). Put your needle into the top corner and continue sewing from there (photo C), until you reach your next corner - and repeat!


When you fold the binding over, it should look like this.

Step 3: Finishing by hand

You're going to use what's apparently called an applique stitch. It's probably easier to let the photos do the talking, but basically you start by poking the needle up through the binding, and then into the back of the quilt. Move the needle along a bit under the back, then pop it up and through the binding again. Re-insert your needle into the hole you made coming up, and move it along again. And repeat.

That makes almost no sense when I read it back, but basically if you were to bisect train tracks and keep just one half, that's what you want to sew.

Have a look at the photos. That might make it clearer.
Step 1: poke your needle through the binding

Step 2: move your needle back through the backing of your quilt, and along parallel to the edge of your binding.

Step 3: bring your needle back up to the surface

Step 3 again

Step 4: loop back up through the binding, and down through the same hole you came up, to make a backwards L shape

Step 5: continue along your quilt, taking tiny stitches into the edge of the binding

Your finished binding should look like this from the good side!

No idea if that helped or made things worse, but any questions please ask. Good luck!

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