Monday, September 28, 2015

Quilt binding tip and useful tool

So I like making my own quilt bindings for anything I sew from blankets to placemats. I like doing this because your not limited to what you find in the store and it opens a whole world of ways to finish off your project.  It also allows you to have different sizes of binding, though I prefer using 2 1/4 inch strips to create my binding. Which gives me a 1/4 inch wide binding when completed.

When making your own binding be sure to cut the strips on the bias so that they have a stretch to them and makes it easier to wrap around your project and to fold corners. I will make a post about how I cut my fabric to make bias strips another day I promise!!! One really cool thing about cutting fabric on the bias is if you are using a striped fabric it will put the stripes on the diagonal giving you a cool candy cane affect if that makes sense.  I wish I had a picture on hand of what I mean, but of course I don't so I will try to find a stripe to do the tutorial on when I do it, so you see what I mean.

Okay, so onto why I really wanted to make this post.  I was given a Quilt Binding Express  by my awesome mom and finally got the chance to use it not that long ago when I finished a quilt that had been sitting in my to do box forever.  Well, I had seen this odd pressing board and wondered if it would really help speed along the binding making process and IT DID!!!!  While I love making my own binding it gets to be tedious when your pressing close to 200 inches of fabric in half to make your binding. This nifty tool helped by folding the fabric in half for me and I just had to press it down as I pulled it through the slot.

In case your lost as to what on earth I'm talking about I'm going to post a few pictures of what I did and how the tool worked!


 So here's the tool set up with all the normal ironing tools and my binding strip. As you can see you pull your strip through from right to left and then press on the little board that's attached. It has 3 slots for your binding strips too, so you can use this for 2 1/4, 2 1/2 and 2 inch binding strips. You simply fold your strip in half with wrong sides together and start pulling through the slot marked at what size strip your using. Then you just pull to the end of the pressing mat attached and press the strip while its all lined up on the mat.

 Here's a close up of my strip coming through the slot. One thing you do have to watch for is your strip getting out of alignment. If you pull somewhat slowly your strip will come through the slot exactly even with itself, but if you get to moving to quickly it will get a little out of whack like the picture shows here. It takes a simple pull of the fabric to straighten it back out and get going again though. For the most part I didn't have to readjust my fabric to much and I got through my pile of binding pretty quick with the tool. So totally worth picking up a Quilt Binding Express in my opinion as it does save time and a lot of the headache involved when making your own strips!

Here's a picture of my binding attached to the quilt I made it for.  I have to admit in my rush to get things done I didn't cut the fabric on the bias the right way and so the binding strips have the flowers in the same direction as the border strip at the edge of my quilt.  This wouldn't have happened this way had I cut things right as the binding would have made the flowers be at an angle, but we all make mistakes and I didn't have the extra fabric to start over.  This quilt went to my daughter who is 3 and doesn't care anyways, she's just happy to get the blankey from me! 


Anyways, I wanted to show you this picture more because you can see a different way to finish off attaching your binding. Instead of attaching my binding to the front and bringing it to the back of the fabric I did the reverse. Then when I pulled the fabric to the front to sew down using my machine I picked a fun decorative stitch to sew it down. You can see that on this picture instead of just using a straight line to sew down the binding I picked a stitch that does little slanted lines going both ways and has a straight stitch down the middle. So I tried to keep the straight stitch close to the original sewing line I made when sewing my binding onto the back and let the slants go onto the binding and into the border fabric. If you were to see the back of the quilt some spots I did better then others keeping things lined up, but from the front almost all of it I kept things lined up pretty good. This took the stress out of making sure I lined things up right on the back of the quilt so that the front looked good since I worked on the front to finish the quilt. You could even just do a straight line stitch to sew it down, but sew on the front if you wanted to. I just liked the idea of using a decorative stitch that I wouldn't normally use on my machine!


Have fun with your binding if for no other reason to give yourself a desire to get it done. I know getting a binding onto a quilt sometimes is the worst part for some people, but if you add fun touches to it then it's more exciting to complete!

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