Thursday, May 31, 2012

First Quilt: Binding

*This is the fourth post in a series on making my first quilt, please click these links to read the first, second and third posts.*

The last two months have been busy! In-between fabric shopping and starting on my second quilt (I promise to post on this soon) I've managed to make and attach the binding onto my first quilt. Now it's the fun part: hand stitching the binding to the back of the quilt.

Phase Four: Binding

Making the Binding

I didn't want to try bias binding for my first quilt so I went with a straight-grain double-fold binding. I joined my 2 1/2" strips together using bias seams. And in my usual detail oriented fashion I made sure that all the bias seams were angled in the same direction. 

Attaching the Binding

I'll admit, I was nervous to attach the binding to my quilt so I made a mock-up. I made a mini quilt sandwich and binding out of scraps to practice on. I noticed that when I folded the binding to the back that it wasn't covering up the stitches. My seam allowance was a little too wide! This would have been very painful to realize after sewing binding around an entire quilt. This was very helpful and I highly recommend it!

After the binding was pressed it was time to attach it to the quilt. I was advised by my neighbor/quilting friend to sew the binding on and then trim off the excess batting and backing fabric. So, I did my best to line up my rulers to make sure that my corners were square and my sides were straight. I drew some guidelines with a water soluble marker. It didn't look too bad considering I didn't true up the quilt top before it was quilted….

I found the information and instructions on making and attaching binding in The Quilting Answer Book by Barbara Weilan Talbert easy to follow.When it came to joining the ends of the binding together, I was really scared but it turned out beautiful the first time! See if you can find the seam...


Hand-Stitching the Binding

Check out this video on YouTube for a great tutorial on hand-stitching binding to a quilt back. 

I practiced hand-stitching the binding down on my mock up and was ready to go! After I rounded the first corner and was headed down the side I noticed that the bound edge of my quilt  was getting narrower and narrower. Discouraged, I took a break for a week or so. After getting advise from my quilting friend/neighbor I decided to rip out the stitches (only about 18") and start over. Instead of rolling the binding over so it was tight against the edge of the quilt I focused on maintaining an even width and covering the stitches on the back. It looks much better now and no one will ever notice.

So where did I go wrong? Should I have squared up the quilt top before quilting it? Were the guidelines drawn incorrectly? Did I sew the binding on crooked? Did I try to true up the quilt when trimming off the excess batting and backing fabric leaving me with uneven seam allowances?

My guess is that it was probably a combination of some or all of the above. Maybe it will make more sense when I get to this stage on my next quilt…. Wow. I didn't think I'd have this much to say about the binding…

I'll leave you with a sneak peak of my quilt: