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.

 

Forest Giant revisited

It doesn’t seem like like I’ve been back in Brunei a week already. In some ways it feels like I’ve been back longer, and the Festival of Quilts in Birmingham feels like an age away. Having my own stand there for the first time was a great experience, and I really enjoyed meeting and chatting to so many lovely people from all over the world, as well as catching up with a few ‘old’ friends. Thanks to everybody who came by, it was really a pleasure talking to you all. Lots of people wanted patterns so that’s something I’m going to work on for the future.

One of the wall hangings that many people commented on was my “Forest Giant”, a new version of  apiece I first made several years ago. A lot of people were interested to know how I made it so here it is again with some pictures showing the various stages.

I started off with a piece of my hand dyed fabric for the background, then added a few strips of fabric for tree trunks and then the main tree.
When I made this design before I used a single piece of fabric for the base of the forest floor but this time I decided to add various hand dyed strips to give more variety.
Then began the very time consuming process of adding all the leaves. I used lots of different scraps of fabric to give depth to the design. I backed each scrap with fusible webbing, the cut leaf shapes. Each leaf was then added individually. I would do a batch then fuse in place a few at a time …… not a good time to sneeze or have one of the cats walk over my design board!
I continued in this way until the background was covered as much as I wanted it. Then it was time for the final details and free motion stitching to complete the piece. I used a large number of different threads to achieve the look I wanted.

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. 

Jungle Leaves

I recently signed up for a Craftsy class with Gloria Loughman called “Linear Landscape Quilts”. It’s  a really good class and the first sections on choosing colour schemes and fabric painting are almost a class on their own. To make her “linear landscapes” she uses two layers of fabric and a clever raw edge applique technique which reveals slithers of the underneath fabric to create the effect of contours. The landscape she created is very appealing but as I watched the video I realized that this technique could be adapted for things other than landscapes so I decided to try it out on one of my own designs.

My inspiration was this jungle plant which grows in the Sarawak rain forest and has beautiful curved and ribbed leaves.

My first piece is a close up study of these leaves using some of my hand dyed fabrics.

I was happy with the way that this first piece turned out so I decided to try it on a larger design using the complete leaves.

I used a bright green for the base, with a darker green for the main part of the leaf, and made three pieces like this. It’s  time consuming but very effective.

Sunrise over the Belait

I have recently been commissioned to make a small wall hanging for a friend from some photos she’d taken of here early morning runs along beside the Belait River here in Kuala Belait. She’d collected some lovely photos of the sunrise over the river so the challenge was to put these together to create something special.

With the help of Photoshop I combined the above photo of the sunrise over the river with the following one of the palm silhouette.

I decided the best way to do the sky was to paint it using fabric paints and it took me half a dozen attempts before I was happy with the result. The difficulty was to get the subtle light of early morning without it looking too washed out, and not to have the colours too bright so that it looked more like a sunset. This was my final choice.

The next step was to audition fabrics for the greenery along the edge of the river, and the river itself. The greenery is a piece of hand dyed fabric and I will later add more shading and detail with the use of thread painting. The water was another challenge as I wanted to use something I already had rather than dyeing or painting more fabric. I have lots of batiks with the nice stripes which give the impression of water but none were the right colour. I decided to experiment with fabric paints, first on a small scrap, then on the full piece and the results were just as I wanted.

Next step will be to add the palm tree then some thread painting.

 

Forest Waterfall

A few weeks a go I started work on a new rain forest waterfall design. I first drew out the basic background design onto nonwoven stabilizer and then gathered together my selection of fabrics for the background forest, rocks, pool and and sandy foreground, mostly batiks and hand dyes.

I started with the lighter background area behind the waterfall. Before starting work on the main quilt I made a small experimental post card sized piece to try out the technique I wanted to use.

Once all the pieces were fused in place, I added free motion stitching to give greater depth and create the impression of foliage. I then started to build up the layers of rock using invisible machine applique.

Of course, as usual I had my feline ‘helper’ making stitching a little difficult at times.

 

With the background now completed it is time for the fun part….adding all the details and embellishments. So far I have started adding a few snippets to give the effect of foliage in the areas surrounding the waterfall. These have been fused in place and then once I am happy with  the arrangement I will add free motion stitching and some couched yarns.

For the waterfall I used some fine tulle which I shaped into folds to give the impression of flowing water and held in place with a free motion zig zag stitch and invisible thread then further free motion stitching and rayon thread. Behind the tulle I added a layer of angelina fibres to add a bit of sparkle.

The waterfall before being stitched down. I will next start to add rocks and foliage to the foreground.

African Skies – continued

Over the last week I have continued working on my African sunset project. Having painted the skies for the background then fused a black hand dyed batik for the foreground it was time to add the details with thread painting.

I wanted the stitching to be quite fine so I used Aurifil 50wt cotton thread in both the bobbin and needle so that I could build up detail without adding too much bulk. For the large tree in one of the sunsets I needed to use an embroidery hoop to stop the fabric distorting, but I found this wasn’t necessary for the smaller trees.

The completed thread painted tree.

I planned to use a black batik border for each design but first needed to find something suitable for an accent. Going through my stash I found a perfect batik print which picked up the light purple in the sunsets as well as some of the orange.

These are the sunsets with the borders added.

 

Toucan wall hanging

My blog has been rather neglected over the past few weeks as I have been so busy, but I haven’t been neglecting my sewing and this is a project I made several weeks ago for a friend. This is a departure from my usual hornbill designs, but a friend from my sewing group asked if I would make a wall hanging with a toucan on it for her as she has a property in Costa Rica and she often sees toucans there.My friend had brought me a picture to work from so I scanned it into EQ6 so that I could draft a pattern for the appliqué design.

toucan EQ6

The image above shows the design that I drew out in EQ6, ready to be made into an applique pattern. I decided to use invisible machine applique for this project as the pieces were large enough for the edges to be turned under, so I printed freezer paper templates and contstructed the bird before adding it to the background.

toucan-construction

 

 It was quite similar to make to a hornbill but the biggest challenge was getting the colouring and markings on the beak. I searched through my piles of fabric and found two different batiks which blended blues and yellows. I then added the details using fabric pens. I also added a little touch of colour where the yellow feathers join the black.

toucan-beak

For the background I chose a lovely hand dyed fabric by Frieda Anderson that I bought at the Festival of Quilts last year. Sometimes I find it hard it’s hard to cut into these special fabrics, but in the end I have to tell myself that I bought them to be used and they really do help to give  a special touch to the finished design.

Toucan-wall-hanging

The finished wall hanging, quilted with a variegated cotton thread in the background and a solid coloured thread for the borders.

Toucan-close-up

A more detailed photo of the finished wall hanging.

Going Green Challenge

I belong to a yahoo challenge group linked to my Janome sewing machine and in March it was my turn to lead the challenge for that month. The theme I chose was ‘Going Green’ and it opened itself up to many different interpretations and it was interesting to see such a wide variety of different projects from within the group. Some people took an environmental slant and chose to use recycled goods and scraps. I was amazed to see how old pairs of jeans could be transformed into bags, book covers, dolls clothes and even cat and dog toys.

jungle-leaves

Other people chose to feature green fabrics in their work and I was one of those, as it’s my favourite colour and I enjoy working with greens. For my project I created a foundation pieced background of ‘crazy’ blocks which I printed out from EQ6. I then used invisible machine appliqué to add a jungle plant, spilling out into the borders. In the latter stages I was racing against the clock to get the challenge finished by the end of the month but I just managed.

Jungle-leaves-completed

Quilting with variegated and solid coloured cotton threads completes the design. Initially I started to quilt a trailing leaf design in the borders but then had to unpick what I’d done as I felt that it didn’t look right and drew too much attention away from the main design.

working on a new waterfall design

I recently started work on a new waterfall quilt and this time I decided I would make it a little bigger than the ones I have done before, although still using the same basic design. The first step was choosing all the different fabrics I would use, because although I have made this design before each time I do it, it’s like starting right from the beginning again. I have certain fabrics that I like, but then they run out and I’m always buying new ones, so the quilt always turns out differently.

inspiration photographs and some of the fabrics I've chosen.

inspiration photographs and some of the fabrics I've chosen.

Most of the fabrics I use are batiks or hand dyes, because of the subtle colour variations which I can use to replicate the patterns of the rocks in the background and foreground.

starting to build up the design

starting to build up the designMolly watching the progress of the waterfall

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Building up the background for the waterfall using a variety of different batik and hand dyed fabriccs.  For the area at the back of the waterfall I used a preprinted fabric and used fabric pens to emphasise the trunks and branches of the trees.

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I’ve used invisible machine applique to construct this top, first making templates from freezer paper which I iron on to the right side of the fabric.  I clip the seams, brush the edges with liquid starch, then turn under the edges using the tip of an iron. It is time consuming but I prefer this method to ironing the freezer paper on the wrong side and glueing the edges because this way I don’t have freezer paper to remove after. I also prefer the look of turned under edges.

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For the waterfall I used a batik fabric as the base, then added details using Shiva paintstiks and Angelina fibre. The rocks are all added individually and I have turned under the edges of each one. It’s a slow process but little by little I’m getting there.

adding the rocks to the foreground.

adding the rocks to the foreground.

Little by little I am adding all the rocks, then the next step will be to add some foliage to the foreground and background.