Binding is the last step of making a quilt! Hooray you've made it this far, but I have to break it to you binding has as many parts to it as the rest of the quilt! Quilts can be so simple to make there are just a ton of steps along the way. But what makes it simple is that each step can be broken down and done in about 15 minutes. All is takes is perseverance to see a quilt to the end. Ah, nothing quick about making a quilt, but that's also why quilts are so special. They truly are labor's of love.
A bit about binding: Stripes, polka dots and coordinating fabrics are all game on today quilts. For the concrete cabin quilts I used my favorite print to give a framed in boarder to the purple quilt and the red quilt I used a neutral muslin - the same for the sashing and backing to keep it simple. That's what great about binding it is another tool in the quilter's design box that gives each quilt a unique and personal touch.
Before we start I have a personal quilting confession to make - I don't use bias strips. I just never have and this method works for me so I go with it. but ssshhhh....don't tell ; )
You will need to start:
1 concrete cabin quilt measuring 44"x69"
Binding strip measuring 2.5" x 235" (perimeter + extra)
spool of thread
The first step in the binding process is to make a really long strip of fabric 2.5" wide and the length of the perimeter of the quilt, plus a few inches for the corners and overlap. Start by cutting enough strips from your chosen fabric to make this happen. To join strips together sew the strips at an angle which gives a nice clean look when finished. Here's the steps in photo form:
Make sure right sides are together when using solid fabrics.
This may seem obvious, but I made the mistake of sewing
the wrong sides together! hello seam ripper!
Line up strips at 90 degrees then draw a line from top left to
bottom right to make a 45 degree angle. Pin and sew on the line.
They turn our like this. Trim and press open.
Once you have all your strips sewn together the length
of the quilt perimeter plus some extra press the strip in half.
Now that you have a finished quilt and a super long strip of binding we are ready to pin them together. This is easiest if you have a nice big work area to lay out the quilt. Start at the middle of the quilt on any side and pin the binding to the very edge matching up the raw edges of the strip with the raw edge of the quilt. The folded edge lays toward the inside of the quilt like in the picture below.
At the corners a little fold is in order to give those clean mitered corners. Start with the strip layed out beyond the edge of the quilt.
Next fold the strip toward you at a 45 degree angle matching up the folded line with the corner of the quilt.
Then fold the binding strip over the first fold to make a little dog ear flap like the in picture below.
Finish with pins on either side to hold in place; continue pinning at 4"-6" intervals and around each corner until you arrive at the starting point. Now we do a little finishing on that end piece.
Trim the binding strip to allow for a fold and a bit to overlap the beginning of the binding. I fold the end at an angle and press it closed to give a crisp and finished end to work with. Next place the starting point inside the finished end of the strip and pin securely. No finishing is needed on the starting point because it is hidden under the end strip.
Alright, we are getting close to having this quilt finished! Next step is to sew the binding strip onto the quilt - it's also the last step using the sewing machine - a little milestone in the process.
Sew biding with a .25" seam allowance. Make sure the layers of the quilt and the binding are matching up as you go. Like in the picture below the quilt tends to move around - so watch out for that bulge and take it slow.
The next tricky move is sewing around the corners. When coming up to the first corner stop .25" from the edge. You can feel the folded edge under the presser foot -- you don't want to sew over that folded edge, that is what becomes a mitered corner. Do a little backstitching here to secure the stitch.
Then remove the quilt from under the presser foot, leaving thread intact and flip the dog ear flap over. Turn the quilt so that you are ready to start sewing the next side.
Start sewing at .25" from the edge on the opposite side of the dog ear flap; there might be a little hole between the stitches and that is okay. It will get sewn down when we flip the quilt and the hole makes is easier to turn right side out.
Do a little backstitch again and then keep on sewing down the line and repeat the steps around each corner until you get back at the starting point. Backstitch at the starting point to secure the stitch and you are all done sewing the binding to the quilt. Now it's time to hand stitch the folded edge down to the backside of the quilt. Truly the last step of making a quilt!
One of my favorite things about binding is that you finish it by hand sewing the finished binding onto the quilt. I do this part on the couch, usually with Hershel (like in the picture at left) or the Hubby. It's a great way to start using the quilt, even before it's completely finished!
Get comfy in your favorite spot with a sewing kit, mine includes these items: thread to match the binding fabric, a sewing needle, a pin, scissors and a thimble.
Hand sewing around the quilt to secure the binding is simple and can be done in a couple sessions. Start with a thread about 1.5feet long. I made the mistake of using a super long thread my first few times and it just caused frustration getting knotted up and it took a while to pull that long thread all the way through. Stick with a foot or two max and no need to double it up, one thread will do just fine.
I outline the trickier parts below in pictures -- anchoring the thread (do this at the start and finish of each thread) and turning over and securing the corners.
Start with a knot and then sew a few anchoring stitches
Fold the corner down like shown and stitch to just
before the edge, at the .25" seam
The front of the quilt with the corner folded down.
Use a fingernail to get the mitered edge looking crisp
Next, fold the opposite side down to make a nice diagonal in the corner.
Sew up through the quilt and the binding and then down
to the inside of the quilt and you've got a secured mitered corner.
Finished binding corner
Continue stitching around the quilt until you meet back up with your starting point and secure the thread with a few anchoring stitches. And now you just made a quilt from start to finish! No unfinished projects around here (ha! just don't peak in the cupboards!)
This is the last piece of the Concrete Cabin Quilt puzzle. I hope you enjoyed the tutorials and gleaned some good information from them. Each one has nuggets of my quilting knowledge, but together they make so much more. A quilt, a how-to, a beginning of pattern and instruction writing. For me projects are what keep my mind going and this quilt-along was somewhat like writing a term paper back in college. It keeps the mind sharp and active and I have really enjoyed it - maybe even more than term papers!
Please let me know what you think of this tutorial and any suggestions to make it better would be appreciated! If you do make a quilt and would like to show it off add it to the flickr group, I would love to see what you come up with.