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Wednesday, February 6, 2019

The Quilt Binding Method that Changed My Life - Part 3 of 3

This is the last of a 3 part series for the Hexis All Over quilt.
If you missed them, here's Part 1 and Part 2.

In the olden days ... about 6 years ago... I shared an office with a quilter.

One day she asked if I quilted.

I only knew the term "quilting" to mean the process of hand quilting. So I told her my mother was a quilter but I wanted no part of it.
Photo courtesy Peter Livesey - Unsplash

A few months later, my office friend invited me to go with her to a quilt shop during Shop-hop week.

She tried to explain what Shop-hop was but I didn't understand because I didn't know the term "Quilting" had morphed into meaning creating the quilt from beginning to end.

(Maybe it always meant that and it was my own experience that was lacking. )

In a last ditch effort to suck me in, she asked if I would bind a quilt she'd made. The binding was on the quilt, it just needed hand sewing on the back.

At first I said "No! Nope! Not gonna happen!"

But weeks later, when she offered to pay me, I knew she was desperate for the help.

Of course I did the handwork on the binding. And of course I didn't allow her to pay me.

That same year, the Hub and I became first time grandparents-in-waiting.
My sweet mother made quilts for all her 33 grandchildren when they were born, and a bed size quilt when they got married. Many of the 50+ great-grandchildren also have baby quilts she made. Now, at age 90 she no longer does piecing, but she hand quilts at the Senior Center every weekday. She'll probably be buried with a thimble on her finger.

It was time for me to step up and fill my mother's quilting shoes.

Since then I've come to love the world of quilting!

And it all started with a simple binding done as a favor for a friend.

Since then I've learned some things about binding.
Photo courtesy of Dinh Pham - Unsplash

There is single, double and French fold binding.
As well as straight grain, cross grain and bias binding.
There is binding for mitered corners, curved corners, pointed corners or no corners at all.
Some binding serves as an additional design element, incorporating prairie points or ric-rack.
Faux flange, aka Magic binding, is popular right now.
There is a method called “Binding without Binding” and one cleverly named “Binding without mitered corners.”
There are self binding quilts and no binding or raw edge quilts.

While I was "researching" (code for surfing quilting videos), I found an article claiming to reveal 132 quilt binding methods. It's my belief that if there are 132 ways to do a thing, rules no longer apply.

I've decided that in my little quilting world, all styles of binding are "right" so long as the quilt edges are sealed in a way that will prevent unraveling.

If someone disagrees, I'll declare, along with Lori Holt of Bee in my Bonnet:

I am the boss of my quilt.

That being said, let me introduce you to the binding method that changed my life.

To bring us all to the same page, here are my 3 favorite binding tutorial videos.

Going forward, I'll assume you've watched them. Yep... all three of them.

I know there are some of you who love to do those final binding stitches by hand. For you it's a time to snuggle with the quilt one last time before sending it out into the world.

If that's your thing, you do you, and bless you for it!

By the time I get to the binding, I'm usually chomping at the bit to start the next project, so I just want to "git 'er done!"

Therefore, I prefer to bind by machine! 

It's Hip to be Squared

Before we proceed, the quilt needs to be squared. Squaring up a quilt this size is a breeze.
Squaring a quilt means trimming all four corners to 90 degree angles and opposite sides parallel to each other.

When squaring a Hexagon quilt (or other pointy shape), leave a gap to accommodate your binding on all sides with points so you won't loose the pointy points you worked so hard to make.
Leave a space for binding points.

For example: I know my bindings are usually 1/2” wide on the front. So when I square the quilt I leave a 1/2” gap between the points and the edge of the quilt. This gives the binding it's own space.

Here's a video demonstrating how to square your quilt. Don't forget to come back though! We still have work to do.

Bind, Binder, Bindest?

Only 4 steps remaining!

You are probably familiar with the basics of double fold binding. I include a little trick that makes my bindings look SO much better when finished:
  1. Make the binding strip
  2. Glue and sew the binding to the back of the quilt
  3. Bring the binding to the front of the quilt and glue it in place
  4. Sew the binding to the front of the quilt.
Step 1: Make the Binding strip

I'm using cross-grain strips to make my binding. Simply stated, four 2 1/2” WoF strips.

Bonus lesson:
Figure how many binding strips to cut, and how much fabric is required.
Ignore the voices in your head saying they don't like quilt math. This is easy.
  • Measure the perimeter of the quilt. This one has two 40” sides and two 34 1/2” sides. That adds up to 149 inches.  
  • Add another 10” for mitered corners and joins. We're at 159 inches. 
  • Divide 159" by 40" (or the length of your strips) then round up to the nearest whole number. 159 divided by 40, rounded up, tells us we need 4 strips for this quilt
  • Multiply the number of strips needed by the width you want to cut them. 4 strips, 2 1/2" wide requires 10" of fabric
Use the same process no matter how big or small the quilt. Easy.

Beautiful binding

Next, join the strips on the diagonal to reduce bulk. You watched the videos right?

Starch and press the long strip of binding in half lengthwise. Also in the videos.

You now have about 160" of binding. Roll it up so it doesn't get wrinkled... and because it's satisfying to have Step 1 done.

Step 2: Glue and sew the binding to the back of the quilt

Glue the binding to the quilt as shown in the Sharon Schaumber video, EXCEPT glue onto the back.
Glue binding
  • Begin 2/3 of the way down one side on the BACK of the quilt.
  • Run a bead of glue inside the seam allowance to the corner.
  • Place the raw edges of the binding along the glued side, leaving a 10 -12 inch “tail” at the beginning. 
  • The binding should be taut but not stretched.
  • Heat set the glue.
  • I put 2 pins about 12" back from where I start as a reminder where I want to stop and join my binding.
  • Miter the corner as shown in the video.
  • Continue in the same way on all four sides and corners.
  • When you get back to the side of the quilt you started on, stop when you reach the double pins.
  • Once the binding is glued, sew in the same way using a generous 1/4" seam allowance.
  • Create a join using whichever of the methods you prefer.
  • Glue and sew the joined binding to the quilt. 
I've always used Jenny Doan's method for joining the binding. It works great. For this project I branched out and tried Sharon's glue method. It took a couple of tries to get the join right, but because I could try again by simply popping some glue - not ripping stitches,  it was awesome! I may be hooked.
 OK so far?

Step 3: Bring the binding to the front of the quilt and glue it in place

Follow Sharon's instructions for pressing the binding and gluing it on the front.

Because the binding has been pressed outward from the sew line, it will just need to be rolled over the thickness of the quilt to lay flat on the front. Glue and heat set the binding to the front of the quilt.

Mitered corners require special attention. Each of the 3 videos shows a different, but similar, way to make the mitered corners lay flat. Choose one you like. The end result is the same.

Here are a few tips for gluing:
  • Work in sections of half or a third of a side at a time.
  • Keep the glue inside the seam allowance. Don't cross the sew line.
  • Fold the binding over the edge of the quilt to the top. Lay it flat on the front of the quilt. It should extend beyond the previous sew line but not over the hexagon points. If you need to trim the seam allowance, do so only a small amount at a time.
  • Heat set the glue to hold the binding in place. The binding should look smooth and straight and extend past the sew line all the way around.
  • Use glue and clips to secure the miters once they're lined up how you want them.
Machine binding hexagons
Step 4: Sew the binding to the front of the quilt. 

When the binding is glued onto the front of the quilt, sew it on from the front of the quilt as shown in Leah's video.

Use a guide foot like the Stitch in the Ditch foot to keep your sewing straight and right on the edge of the binding.
There you go! Your adorable Hexis All Over quilt is finished!
To remove washable school glue from the quilt, let it soak in cool water for 10 minutes before laundering as usual.

Don't you just love it?
Hexis All Over - finished

I love that it's just the right size to carry around. Both for you along with your baby, and for your baby when he gets a bit older.

Mine has already been “dibs-ed” by a couple of family members.

Maybe I'll auction it. 😄

If you have questions, please ask them in the comments section.

Upload pictures of your Hexis All Over quilt. We all want to see!

You can follow the blog by clicking on the Followers button in the right side bar.
Seamless Piecing is also on Pinterest and Facebook. 

You can email me directly at RB.seamlesspiecing@gmail.com

PS. Next week we'll use the Dresden plates we made a few months back. If you don't have a "spare" laying around, follow the link to the tutorial. Come ready to party like it's 1945.

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