How to add a single fold binding to your quilt

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People often want a reminder on how to sew on their binding once they finish their quilt or wall hanging so I have put together this tutorial for my blog. It also contains instructions for adding a sleeve if you are going to hang your finished quilt.

These instructions are for adding a single fold binding to your quilt or wall hanging using a ⅜” seam and with the finished width of ⅜” for the binding.

First measure the outside edges of your quilt or wall hanging to determine how many strips you will need to cut from your binding fabric. For example, if your quilt measures 20” x 16” you will need a total of 72” of binding plus a bit extra to go round the corners and for joining, so if your fabric is 45” wide you would need to cut 2 strips.

Cut your required number of strips from the width of the fabric 1¾ inches wide. Using your ruler and rotary cutter, cut the ends of each strip at a 45˚ angle, the join right sides together as shown to form one continuous strip using a ¼” seam. I find it helps to mark the ¼” seam on your binding strips. Strips joined using a 45˚ angle like this are stronger and almost invisible when viewed from the right side.

joining the binding strips

joining the binding strips

After stitching trim off the little ends of fabric that stick out.

joined binding strips

Strips joined with a 45˚ seam and the ends trimmed off.

It’s important that you have trimmed all the edges and squared up the corners before you attach your binding.

Lay the binding right side down onto the front (right side) of your quilt, stitch round all the edges with a ⅜ inch seam. Start your stitching 4-5 inches away from the end of the binding and leave that end loose, its good to start about mid way down one of the sides of the quilt.

To miter the corners, when you get close to the corner stop stitching and make a mark ⅜“ away from the edge. Continue stitching until you reach this mark and then stitch diagonally out to the outer edge.

Stitch from the 3/8" intersection mark diagonally to the outer edge.

Stitch from the 3/8″ intersection mark diagonally to the outer edge.

Cut you thread and then fold the binding up at a 45˚ angle, then fold down so that it is level with the edge of your quilt. Start sewing at the fold and then continue to the next corner and repeat the steps.

Fold the binding strip up on the diagonal

Fold the binding strip up on the diagonal

Fold down again so that the fold is level with the edge of your quilt and start stitching.

Fold down again so that the fold is level with the edge of your quilt and start sticking.

Stitch until you are about 8-9 inches away from where you first started stitching and stop
Joining the binding.

Lay the quilt flat with the binding on top and then mark with a pin ½” away from the edge of the 45˚ angle.

Put a pin 1/2" from edge of binding

Put a pin 1/2″ from edge of binding

Lay the other end of the binding over the top of the first one and make a mark or insert a second pin where it overlaps the underneath pin. This will be your cutting line for the other end of the binding. Cut this end at 45˚. I find it helps to draw a line on the top binding to show which direction to cut the angle.

Lay the other end of the binding on top and mark

Lay the other end of the binding on top and mark

Lay the second piece on top and mark.
Join the two ends with a ¼” seam, press the seam open, and then stitch the last part of the seam.

Stitch the ends of the binding together using a 1/4" seam.

Stitch the ends of the binding together using a 1/4″ seam.

Hanging sleeve
Next attach the hanging sleeve if you are making a wall hanging.
For the hanging sleeve cut a piece of fabric from the backing fabric the same width as your finished quilt and 9 ½” wide.
Make a seam at each end by turning in ¼” and then ¼” again to the wrong side, press and stitch in place close to the inside edge.
Once the stitching is complete fold in half lengthways and then press lightly to mark the lower edge.
Centre the hanging sleeve on the back of the quilt, having the raw edges even with the top edge of your quilt and then stitch in place using a ⅜” seam. Secure each end by backstitching.
To complete, turn the binding to the back of the quilt, fold in the raw edge and slip stitch in place on the back. Make sure that your stitches are only on the back of the quilt and don’t show through to the front.

Binding turned to the wrong side ready to be hand stitched in place.

Binding turned to the wrong side ready to be hand stitched in place.

Stitch the hanging sleeve in place last.

Stitch the hanging sleeve in place last

Stitch the hanging sleeve in place last. Make a fold and pin level with top of quilt to make extra room so you can insert a rod for hanging.

To make a little extra room in the sleeve so you can insert a hanging rod make a fold in the top of the hanging sleeve tube and align with the top edge of your quilt and pin in place. Now lay the sleeve flat and slip stitch the sides and lower edge in place. Don’t stitch the top edge. When this is unpinned there will be a small fold of loose fabric which will allow for the insertion of a hanging rod.

 

Flying Home

It has been an awful long time since I updated my blog but one of my new year’s resolutions for 2016 is to try and write more regularly, so here goes with my first post for 2016.

I recently tried out a new technique using up scraps of leftover hand dyed fabrics. They were just thin strips which I would normally have thrown away. I laid them out and fused them onto a piece of backing fabric. As the fabric scraps I had were oranges, golds and reds I created a sunset sky and then as I liked the effect I added dark blues for sea.

narrow fabric strips laid out on background

Like this there were a lot of raw edges exposed so next came the fun part. I got out a selection of various threads: rayon, polyester, cotton, some plain some variegated and of different weights too and free motion stitched across the surface. The stitching helps to blend the colours.

free motion stitching on background using a variety of threads The scene needed something else so I added the silhouette of an egret which I’d photographed on the beach a few weeks ago and created a pattern using #EQ7.

silhouette of egret on stitched background Finally a layer of batting and backing and more free motion stitching and a narrow binding to finish off the project.

Egret flying home across the south China sea

Flying Home

My new Janome

I’ve been back home just over three weeks now and slowly getting back into my normal routine and enjoying my new Janome 8900QCP.

I already have the 6600 and the Horizon 7700 but since the beginning of the year I had been thinking about switching my 7700 for the newer model. I was put off by the price but when I was at the Festival of Quilts they were doing a special deal which made them very attractive. I didn’t actually get a chance to try the machine until literally ten minutes before the show closed as the stand was always busy and I didn’t have the time to be able to wait. With the show closing I had to come to a quick decision, so I went for it. The stress I had with the shipping to Brunei almost made we wish I hadn’t bothered, but once it arrived I was very glad I had.

The machine is very similar to the 7700 but as it says in the blurb they’ve kept the best features and added quite a lot of small improvements  which make quite a difference to the quilter. I love the extra large foot pedal which stays put when you are sewing rather than sliding off across the floor.

They’ve got rid of the convertible foot plate and there are now two separate foot plates. I never had a problem with the convertible plate but was always worried I would forget about it and use it with the wrong stitch. The new foot plates are very easy to switch too, no more screws but a small lever to release, then they just snap back into place.

I do a lot of appliqué so was keen to check out all the available stitches. I think there are a few more than on the previous machine. There is a memory setting which enables you to set your preferred settings for any stitch which is very useful. (I think the 7700 had this feature but I never got round to using it)

Experimenting with a few different threads and stitches

I also tried out some setting for “invisible” machine appliqué.

I will also be doing a lot of free motion quilting on this machine and rather than have to fiddle around with tension I used the blue dot bobbin which I already had for my 6600. This bobbin is designed with a different tension, especially suitable for quilting, and I found it worked perfectly in these samples.

Of course Oscar had to come and try out the machine too!

Seed Pod Reflected

I started work on a new appliqué quilt wall hanging in November and just got it finished last week.

This design is inspired by the seed pods of the Pom Pom tree that one can find washed up on the beach here in Brunei.

I originally worked on this theme as part of my City and Guilds “Creative Quiltmaking” course, and the quilt I made, which was one of my assessment pieces was actually pieced. Even at the time I was doing it I wanted to make it again as an appliqué piece using my now hand dyed fabrics. I used one of my sketches to create a design in EQ7, and the theme was to do with using a mirrored image, so this is what I came up with for my pieced quilt.I later modified this design so I could use it for appliqué. This is the initial design.I felt the fabric needed more texture, so I hand embroidered every appliqué piece before applying to the background.  I still felt the design lacked something as there was a high empty gap between the two halves of the design, so I used some of my leftover cut out pieces and experimented with placing them in the middle. 

This looked much better and to balance the design I added two more pieces top and bottom and two pieces to the outer edges which ave more of the feel of the curves of the original seed pod. Detail of stitching. 

I echo quilted using a fine thread. 

Quilting the stencilled designs


Having printed a number of designs using the splatter painting technique I chose the negative image of the tree creeper to finish and embellish. I used three different shades
of cotton variegated thread and one variegated silk for the hand quilting, and a box of mixed ‘bead soup’ for the embellishment.

I started off with a dark variegated thread near the base of the creeper, quite dense scatter stitching to replicate the density of the paint splatters and darkness in this area. As I moved upwards and outwards I gradually used lighter threads and less dense stitching.

To begin with I found that I was consciously thinking about where I was making each stitch but as I went on I got into a rhythm followingfrom dot to dot, adding a bead here and there where there were bigger splatters of paint.

Towards the outside edges of the piece, where there were far fewer paint splatters I used mostly the lightest threads and more random stitches.

I finished off the piece with a narrow binding and hanging sleeve and as I enjoyed the process so much and find the hand quilting very relaxing and easy to pick up at any spare moment, I’ve started quilting and embellishing one of the other pieces.

view of the back

Birds Nest Ferns

These birds nest ferns normally grow high up in the canopy, but they happily grow at ground level too. This one which we got as a small plant a number of years ago has turned into a beautiful specimen, and we now have others all over the garden.  I love the shape of the curling fronds and recently I took some photos thinking that they might be good inspiration for a quilt design.

I drew out a pattern in EQ7 and then I decided I would try out the design in a small format as fabric post cards.

For the small design I had some bright green batik fabric which I’d had a while and not used because it was less tightly woven than normal batik and I’d always thought it  a bit flimsy, but it worked fine for this project. For the larger piece I used some beautiful hand dyed fabric by Heide Stoll-Weber which I’d bought at the Festival of Quilts this year. I was a little reluctant to cut into it so soon but the fabric was so perfect, with all  the subtle colour variations, I had to use it.

I assembled the ferns using a non stick pressing sheet before fusing them to the background fabric. I then used a fine satin stitch round all the edges.

Detail of the stitching and quilting

Butterfly finished

In my last post I described how I created the pattern and started putting together my butterfly and flower design. Now, with all the pieces for the butterfly and flower fused to the background I added some thread painting with 40wt rayon threads which added a nice sheen and a little more texture.

Close up showing thread painting on the flower and butterfly

Close up showing thread painting on the flower and butterfly

 I did all the embellishment before adding batting and backing because I wanted the butterfly to stand out from the background. These photos show the design with the quilting completed because the original photos I took didn’t come out very well thanks to a nice smeary finger print across the lens of my camera.

thread painitng on the butterfly and flower

thread painitng on the butterfly and flower

So once this was complete I sandwiched it all together and then began the quilting. I didn’t want the quilting in the background to stand out and draw attention away from the butterfly so I used a fine 50wt cotton thread which blended well into the hand dyed fabric which I used for the background. For the borders I used a thicker variegated thread and a trailing leaf pattern.

The finished wall hanging

The finished wall hanging

 

Fan Palms in the forest

On our walks in the rain forest over the border in Sarawak I have frequently photographed the fan palms that grow plentifully there in the national park and I have often included them in my rain forest design wall hangings.

Recently I decided to make a wall hanging featuring just these palms. I drew out a pattern using EQ6 and to replicate the background and to give an impression of all the rich colours of the fallen leaves I chose to construct it from small 4 inch foundation pieced crazy blocks which I printed out from EQ6.

The illustration above shows the proposed quilt with the foundation pieced background and the applique motif on top. To construct the foundation pieced blocks I chose a wide variety of fabrics, mostly batiks in various hues and shades of brown, matching them to a photo I’d taken of fallen leaves.

 Once the background was pieced and all the blocks put together I appliqued the fan palms using satin stitch applique and rayon threads, I used a novelty yarn for the stems which I couched in place using invisible thread. I added dark brown borders and then quilted the whole wall hanging using a variegated polyester thread.

The picture above shows a close up detail of the foundation blocks, palm leaves, quilting and couched stems.

The finished design.

Experimenting with trapunto

Traditionally trapunto was a form of padded quilting, usually on white fabric and was made by inserting small shreds of batting through a tiny hole in the back of a quilted motif. Nowadays there is a much simpler way of doing it using free motion machine quilting and water soluble thread. I have been wanting to try it for a while now but wasn’t quite sure how to do it until I recently got Ricky Tim’s ‘Grand Finale’ DVD, where he explains the process in detail.

I started off by tracing the design onto my fabric, I used a freezer paper template and a water soluble pen for this. The design was my adaptation of a traditional native design which I have previously done in applique.

 

 

I then removed the template and placed a piece of batting under the design and secured it in place with a few pins. I stitched round teh outline of the design using water soluble thread in both the needle and the bobbin. Once the stitching was complete I carefully cut away the excess batting, trimming as colse to teh stitching as possible.

The picture above shows the back of the design with the batting cut away.  Next I took another square of batting and layered it between the top and some backing fabric. I used a variegated cotton thread to free motion quilt around the outline of the design and then to stipple the background. This part didn’t work quite so well and the stippling wasn’t really small enough or close enough to the design to make it really stand out. I was having a few problems with the adjustable settings of my quilting foot which didn’t help matters.

The finished design would have looked better with much tighter stippling and maybe on a more solid coloured background, but it was a useful learning process and I can see that this technique could have great potential when used with applique designs.

Quillow

This week I started teaching a course at my local club on how to make a quillow. If you have never heard of a quillow before, a quillow is a small quilt that folds into a pillow. Before starting the course I needed to make another sample and rewrite my notes, so over the last few weeks, aside from my art quilt work, I have been making up my own quillow.

I bought some rather nice cat print fabric from the local fabric shop in town to use as the main feature fabric and then raided my fabric stash for the rest. The print fabric has lots of different cats in brown, black and grey on a light brown background so it was easy to find coordinating materials from amongst my stash of fabrics that I use for landscape quilts and geckos.

The quilt and pillow top is constructed from 8 inch ‘crazy’ foundation log cabin blocks which I printed out from Electric Quilt. The central patch is quite large so I was able to cut a square featuring a cat for the center of each block. I then applied strips of fabric around the central block to complete the square. I have included detailed instructions of how I made the foundation pieced log cabin blocks and completed the quillow on my web site  AnneMaundrellDesigns.com in a new section entitled ‘Tips and Tutorials’. In time I hope to expand this section and include  lessons covering more different techniques and processes.

Brown is really one of my least favourite colours, but since I have been making art quilts I have accumulated a large collection of lovely batiks and blenders in all sorts of lovely shades and tints. I have grown to like using these colours a lot more and I was happy with the way the blocks turned out. I used a pale buttery yellow for the sashing to set off the blocks and this also brightened up the quilt a bit.

I used more of the cat print fabric for the outer border, being careful to remember to make sure everything was the right way up and the cats weren’t standing on their heads. The pillow top was made in the same way except that round the outside I used small strips of fabric sewn together in random order to make up the border with a square in each corner.

For the quilting I quilted in the ditch around the first row of the log cabin and around the outside edges of each quilt and the borders. The first time I made this quilt I didn’t do any more quilting but this time I wanted to practice my free motion quilting so quilted all around the blocks using a loop design and variegated cotton thread.

If you’re curious to see how the quilt turns into a pillow and becomes a quillow, chack out my web site for more photos: Anne Maundrell Designs