Monday, February 27, 2017

Quiltmaking 101 -- binding your quilt 3 -- folding and stitching the binding

Take your quilt to an ironing surface and lay it face up.  Press the binding out toward the edges of the quilt, admiring how neatly the corners have mitered.  You can't press the binding out beyond the corner, because it isn't long enough to lie flat, so just do the part over the quilt with the tip of your iron.  Or you can just finger-press the binding outward.

Now flip the quilt over face down onto a work surface so you can work along a top edge.  Start in the middle of a side -- we'll do the easy part first before tackling the tricky corners.  Pull the binding over the edge and toward you, pulling as taut as you can.  Fold the binding in two, with the cut edge right up against the cut edge of the quilt, then fold the edge down to just barely cover the stitching line.  If for some reason it isn't wide enough to cover the stitching line, you can ease the fold out a bit; at this point it's more important to cover the stitching line than to extend the binding all the way to the edge on the inside.

Pin the binding in place, every two or three inches.  Work out to the right and left, stopping about three inches from the corners.

Place one corner of the quilt on your work surface, facing top right.  You're confronting a section of binding that kind of stands upright as it turns the corner, because it's not long enough to lie flat.  That's good, because you now have to fold all that extra fabric in at the corner, and the less you have to deal with, the less bulk you'll have at the corner.

On either side of the corner you have already established a final folded width for the binding, and you are now going to finger-press that fold line all the way around the corner.

Once it's creased inward, pin the right-hand side of the binding up toward the corner.  When you get to the corner, take a sturdy needle and use it to push the rest of the binding all the way up to the top edge of the quilt.  Simultaneously, make sure you are pulling the binding as taut as you can around the right-hand edge of the quilt.  Pin the binding in place as close as you can to the edge.

Now fold the top part of the binding down over the needle.  Because you have creased the foldline into the binding, it should stay in place pretty well.  Pin that down quite close to the corner.

Check the corner of the quilt, front and back.

On the front, the diagonal miter should come out of the corner of the seam and go exactly to the corner of the quilt.  The binding should fold over to the back and lie flat, with no bubble at the corner.  If there's a bubble, unpin the bindings and pull the right-hand edge even tauter around the cut edge of the quilt, while urging the top binding to fold down flat.

After you have all four corners mitered and pinned, you can stitch the binding to the quilt.  If you sew by hand, work from the back and stitch through only the backing layer so your stitches aren't visible from the top of the quilt.  If you sew by machine, it's hard to keep a straight stitch exactly on the edge of the binding, both front and back.  But a zigzag stitch camouflages any slight differences in binding width and looks great from both sides.  I like to stitch from the front side of the quilt, centering the zigzag just a bit inside the seamline (closer toward the edge of the quilt).

Sewing the binding with a zigzag stitch -- front of the quilt

Sewing the binding with a zigzag stitch -- back of the quilt

1 comment:

  1. I like that zigzag stitch! Decorative and it makes sure that the edge is caught. Nice!