|Amy Friend and I along with some of the other quilt designers for Thermoweb, a few of who you will meet next week! Amy is on the bottom left and I am on the far right|
This week I am excited to continue the conversation with Grandma and share with you our two schools of thought on binding. Grandma and I have a lot in common, we share similar opinions on most everything. Most importantly we both agree that dogs, quilting and nature make life worth living, and those are some pretty strong fundamentals to agree on! We don't, however, agree on the best way to bind a quilt. She is traditional (and less lazy) then I and lovingly and meticulously hand sews her binding to the back of each quilt. It looks beautiful, her hand stitching is to be admired, and her bindings are always the perfect square and straight frame around her lovely quilts. I, on the other hand, will take hours and hours to free motion quilt the heck out of something only then to devote no more then 30 minutes to quickly cut and piece my binding strips (I do piece them with bias seams), iron the strip in half and machine sew it down on the front, flip the binding around to the back side and machine sew from the front (hopefully) catching the back in the ditch of the binding I just sewed down. Lazy I know, but it works well for me and I have been binding this way for years with no intentions of stopping. I only hand sewed my binding once, and that was for a quilt I made for Grandma, which was more of a little nod to her and a laugh between us as we both differ on time saved vs final product and it's value in regards to binding. I asked Grandma to share a bit about how she binds her quilts and she ended up giving us a lovely little showcase of some interesting binding options... hope you enjoy.
Like many things we do in quilting, there are many options to binding a quilt. In my early journey I used the simple method of attaching a binding strip to the sides and then a separate strip to the top and bottom. If you measure these strips correctly you can avoid having wavy edges to your quilt. Just measure the length and width of your quilt both horizontally and vertically in the middle. Then cut your binding strips to that length and adjust them to fit as you sew them on.
I personally like to use a continuous binding strip that allows you to have mitered corners. If you use this method you must be sure that your quilt is perfectly squared up or you will get the wavy edges. Mitered corners take practice. You must be sure to stop ¼ inch from the edge of each side and then be very precise about redirecting the binding to turn the corner. If you do this the corners should be nice and square. I love the look of a mitered corner.
In this modern world of quilting there are some very unique options in binding that produce interesting looks. Adding trim to the seam on the quilt top when adding the binding can be very attractive. I have seen people add ric-rac, ruffled lace, and even fringe to create a different look. Just sew the trim down first, directing the edge you want to show towards the center of the quilt, then sew the binding down on top as you normally would.
Besides the traditional way of binding by sewing the binding to the top of the quilt sandwich and hand tacking it on the back, there are many other ways. One I see commonly used is to sew the binding to the back and then wrap it around to the front and stitch it down with a decorative stitch or even just a straight stitch. The secret here is to be sure your decorative stitch on the front follows the seam line created by stitching the binding to the back. Another method used is to make the backing fabric large enough that it can be folded over and wrapped around to the front and then stitched down. This saves the time and effort of creating a separate strip for the binding, and when done well can create a very nice finish to the project.
For me the binding method I use is dependent on the project. I have to categorize myself as a pretty traditional quilter. For nearly all my projects I use a 2-1/2 inch strip, folded in half, stitched to the front and wrapped to the back, and then hand stitched down on the back. I create a continuous strip and make mitered corners. This is my comfort zone for binding. On the other hand if you are going to enter a quilt in a juried show you must use a 2-3/8 inch strip and then finish as above. You will lose points if you don’t follow the rules here. I have never entered a competition quilt, but I have friends who have and they tell me the rules are very strict.
As with all things we do in the quilting world – try it, you might like it. The important thing is to enjoy the process.
That was some great advice on binding, hope you all enjoyed that. Remember to stop by During Quiet Time today to see another review on my book and meet my new friend Amy Friend. My books just arrived yesterday which means they will be hitting the store shelves any day now, if you see a copy of my book in a store snap a picture and share it on my facebook page, first to do so will win a prize! Thanks for stopping by and say hello in the comments below, I would love to know what your favorite binding method is!