Friday, October 31, 2008

bits of business

Happy Halloween!

I'm not a big fan of this holiday, but somehow I get sucked in a little bit each year. The kids and I carved our pumpkin last night. I had to check out this photo and this one for inspiration. I really wanted to make our pumpkin polka dotted, but my kids vetoed that idea quickly. And now I realize that if you make the face bigger, you can actually see the light through the face. Um, yeah. I'll have to remember that for next year.

I finished the second star wars robe on Wednesday....

and realize that it might not have been such a good idea.
At least they are having fun with their costumes. :)
The winning entries of the Candy Corn Contest are:


and here.

And this one deserves honorable mention.

Thanks to everyone who participated! It was fun to see all the candy corn projects. You guys are so creative!!!!
Also, thanks to all of you for your kind comments on the binding tutorial. I'm glad it was so helpful to all of you, because it was the hardest tutorial I have ever written. I had to upload the photos one at a time. All 41 of them. I think blogger hated me that night. So, all your positive comments are MUCH appreciated. To answer the question that kept coming up..."Why don't you miter the last seam at an angle like the rest of the seams?" Well, because I never learned how and I am afraid to attempt it. Someday, maybe I'll try it.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

a binding tutorial

This tutorial is for how to make continuous crossgrain binding.
It is how I bind the majority of my quilts.

Part I-How to make the binding strip.
First, measure your quilt. The quilt that I am binding is 57" x 73".
Add 57 + 57 + 73 + 73 + 12" (to account for miters and seams) = 272".

Divide that by 40" (a conservative estimate of the usable with of the fabric)= 6.8.
Round up to the nearest whole number, which is 7.
This is the number of binding strips needed.
I cut the strips 2.25" wide.
If you wish, you can cut them 2.5" instead.

For this quilt I am making scrappy binding. Since I am using various lengths of several fabrics, I will make sure that once they are all joined together they total at least 272".

Trim the ends of each strip at a 90 degree angle.
This is a very important step for accuracy.

Place two fabric strips right sides together making a 90 degree angle.

Press down the corner and iron.

Fold fabric back into place. See the crease? That will be your seam line guide.
Sew on the crease, back stitching at the beginning and the end of the seams.

Trim corners leaving a 1/4" seam allowance.
Iron seam, pressing the fabric to one side.

Connect all your strips in the same manner.
Iron in half lengthwise.

And your binding strip is done.

Part II-Attaching the binding to the quilt.

Before I start sewing my binding to the quilt, I like to lay it out and do a test run to make certain that the seams don't end up on the corners of the quilt, as this makes the mitering of the corners very difficult. I like to start laying out the binding about a quarter of the way down the quilt on the right hand side. (see sketch below.)

this seam is about 6" from the corner...

and this one is 4" from the corner...
which is about as close as you want to be...just in case things shift a bit when you are sewing.
pin the beginning of the binding strip to the quilt, and then place a pin about 10" after that.
using the second pin as your starting point, sew (with a walking foot) the binding strip to the quilt using a 1/4" seam allowance.

when you are nearing the corner

stop and place a pin 1/4" from the bottom of the quilt.

continue sewing until you reach the pin

leave the needle down, and pivot your quilt 90 degrees

back stitch to the edge of the quilt and remove from the machine
it should look like this
take the binding strip and flip it up
and fold it down onto itself again

start 1/4" from the top and continue attaching the binding

it should look like this
repeat for all sides of the quilt
when you get to about 8" from the starting pin, stop and back stitch
remove the quilt from the machine
(edited to add, if you would like to miter the two ends, see update below)
measure the binding so it overlaps by 1/2" and cut

open the binding
pin, right sides together

and sew together with a 1/4" seam allowance

finger press the seam open
line up the binding to the quilt edge
(you can pin here, if desired)

and sew the seam, joining up where you first started

then I like to trim my edges with pinking shears, near the edge of the fabric

edited to add:
here is an easy way to join the final two ends of the binding strips using a mitered joint:
when you get to about 8" from the starting pin, backstitch and take the quilt out of the machine.
measure an overlap equal to the width of your binding. if the binding strips are cut at 2.25", measure the overlap to 2.25".
mark it and cut the piece to length.
open up both tail ends
fold the left strip as shown in the photo. finger press the fold line.
pin the ends together as shown.
optional: use a water soluble marking pen to draw the 45 degree angle.
while the pins are still in place, you can test the seam to make sure that everything is pinned correctly and that nothing is twisted.
sew on the line/fold.
trim off the triangles leaving a 1/4" seam allowance.
finger press the seam open
fold the binding strip in half once again, pin in place.
sew the binding strip in place. trim off edges. Proceed to part III.
Part III-Hand stitching the binding
hide your knot in the seam
flip the quilt over and tack the binding down (I'll let the photo explain.)

when you get to the corner

miter it as neatly as possible

make a few extra stitches in the corner
and continue stitching.
If you have any questions, I'll try to answer them in the comments.