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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Sewing Basics with Diane! {Bindings... and a pinning tip}

My experiences in binding have brought me a long way. My first time (hand binding) was on this quilt. Yikes. It went pretty well, I thought, but now it's coming apart (but I'll blame some of the problem on the fact that I bound it with courdory - what was I thinking?!?! and that the part that is coming apart is where I joined the two ends and it is SO thick right there... and the solution to THAT problem is what I want to focus on in this post.)

**** I have done a lot of machine binding before, and that is another option for binding anything. You can see it on my placemats here or on my picnic blanket here. All you do is simply cut the backing fabric about 1 inch [more or less depending on how thick/wide you want it. I cut it about 1/2 inch wider for the placemats.] or so wider on all sides than the front. Then after quilting it, you fold the extra fabric in half and again, or to however much you want it to overlap the front, and then pin and sew. It's REALLY fast, and I have more detailed instructions of that here. I'll have to post more detailed instructions another time. And that is the end of that for now. ****

My ultimate favorite binding tutorial is here at Crazy Mom Quilts. It is GREAT! and SO easy to follow. My bindings have always turned out great following this tutorial. One KEY point is how she joins her strips of fabric to make a single binding piece. Join them at an angle! That is one problem that I had with my first binding. All my joints are sewn straight across, which makes it WAY to thick in one area. Thick in quilting, I have found, is NOT a good thing.

Then I found this tutorial here by Mama CJT. Can I say that she is amazing! I drool over her work! ;) She has a good tutorial for smaller items that could do with a smaller/single-fold binding (perfect for mug rugs, small wall hangings, coasters, etc.)

Then once upon a time I found a tutorial that I LOVE for how to join the beginning and end of your binding - which eliminates the straight across joint that is in these other two tutorials. But, to my luck, I have not been able to find it since. I don't know if I do it the same way as she (who???) does it, but this works just as good. So with no further delay, here is my little tutorial that you can combine with your favorite binding tricks and secrets and we will all be happy in the end. :)

First sew on your binding (which is cut about, I don't know, 10 inches + longer than it needs to be), starting more in the middle of one of your edges and leaving at least 4+ inches or so of  fabric unsewn. When you get to the other end of your fabric, stop sewing a few (at least 4-5 inches) away from your beginning stitching. Make sure to backstitch at each end.

See how I have extra fabric on each end. By the way, I am doing a single fold binding onto a mug rug here. Everything is done the same way for a double fold binding. 
*** I realized as I was writing this, that there are some differences with a double fold binding. I will add those details (without pictures for now) in stars as I go. ***

Next line up your two fabrics, with one on the inside and one on the outside. Cut the fabric of the inside one on a diagonal close to where your stitching on the other end starts, but not past it.

Next you want to move the top layer and fold the bottom layer up like shown, make sure to fold it at this angle. If you fold it with the top corner down it doesn't cover as well when you fold it over to cover the back. If that doesn't make sense, just trust me. ;)
*** If you are doing a double fold binding, instead of folding it, just cut it at the same angle a little further out, and then tuck the edges to the inside about 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch (I may suggest more the 1/2 inch, especially if it's on a quilt or something larger that will receive a lot of love).***

Now line up the two strips nicely and get ready to sew them down.
***Before you sew it down, tuck the inside strip (the piece you didn't tuck the edges under) inside of the outside strip (the piece that you DID tuck the edges under) so that the inside strip is completely inside the outside strip). Hopefully it will make more sense as you are actually doing it and can see what I'm talking about.***

start where you left off and sew through until you reach your first stitching, backstitching on both ends.

When you fold it over it should look like this. See how the outer fabric angles out in the opposite direction of the other end? That ensures a larger overlap of your fabrics. (Do you like how I am trying to sound all professional like I know what I'm talking about?! :) Whether it's completely true or not, it's my theory and I think it sounds good!) :) but to give myself a little bit of confirmation, I did try it the other way first and I didn't like it as much, so I'll keep doing it this way anyway!
***Doing a double fold binding will look the same at this point, but instead of the inside simply being under the outside fabric, it will be inside of it. That way you don't have to worry about seeing the double edges of the outside fabric. Rather, it is on the other side of the fabric and it will still look clean like it does here.***

Now you can go back and trim that corner that you folded up to get rid of some of that extra fabric and lessen the bulk.
***Skip this step***

Flip your mug rug, or quilt, or whatever it is over and fold the binding in half like so.
***Skip this step since you already have a nice folded edge on your binding***

Fold it all the way over and pin it in place


But actually you want your pins to be perpendicular to the edges of whatever you are pinning. It helps it lay a little flatter and makes it easier to remove the pins while sewing. See the difference (do it like the pin on the left):

See... "oops! I pinned it the wrong way and now it's a pain to pull out the pins while I sew!"

"Oh. That's much easier!" "Not to mention that I can sew closer to my pin before pulling it out, which means my fabric is less likely to shift before I get to that point!"

+ The End +

~~~~ I am machine sewing my binding here. If you want to hand sew it, AWESOME! I usually hand stitch my quilts and other larger items that I want a really nice finish on. I also REALLY like the instructions that Crazy Mom Quilts has to hand sew your binding! (See link at the top of this post)
If you want to machine bind it, I like to use a walking foot as it helps to keep all the layers in place and I don't have to worry as much about shifting and bunching. Use the above picture as an example. ~~~~

Here is my binding all done. Look how nice and flat it is where my two ends meet!

And the other side:
Here is one problem with machine binding, the stitching on the other side doesn't always necessarily end up where you want it. So be warned if you are adding a binding that is different than your backing fabric (compared to the method I mentioned at the beginning of this post). If you do it that way, you can't even tell that the stitching may be off!

Happy Binding!!! :)

If you would like to share your binding successes or failures, I'd love for you to share pictures in the flickr group!


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