Sunday, February 19, 2012

ANATOMY OF A QUILT
Final Chapter!
The quilting is done!  And the quilt is off the frame.  The navy blue quilting border has been removed and the back and batting have been trimmed evenly all the way around.  The quilt has been checked for square, too.  This one was square and required no additional trimming!  That happens rarely, as fabric does stretch and distort.  Now it's time to make the binding for this beauty.  This is one of my favorite pet peeves...  I don't bind my quilts typically.  This quilt is a picture; the binding is the picture frame.  I leave extra batting/backing beyond the edge of the quilt to give the wide binding extra loft.  No one has ever complained, but I have been told, "That's not the way everyone does it."  My response, "Correct, but that is how I do it!"
Binding is nothing more than a strip of fabric.  This binding is dark, chocolate brown, and consists of four 3.5 inch strips sewn together.  You can see the seam in the photo.  Each edge gets folded in about .25 inches, then the whole thing gets folded in half, pressing with lots of steam during each fold.  The seams gets ironed open in the binding, unlike in the body of a quilt, where the seams are pressed flat away from center.
The binding gets sewn to the right side of the quilt, right sides together, by machine.  The edge of the binding lines up with the edge of the face of the quilt, and you use that nice crease you ironed in as a sewing guide.  I start at the approximate center of the bottom of the quilt, go all the way around and stop about six inches shy of approximate bottom/center.  Then I lay the quilt flat and seam the beginning edge of the binding to the tail of the end of the binding, leaving the seam between the two at approximate bottom/center.  The excess gets trimmed away.  The the rest of the bottom binding gets sewn by machine.
Then the entire binding gets turned to the back and pinned in place.  A braver soul than I might turn it and sew it, skipping the pinning step.  But this gives me a chance to look at it before it's permanently affixed.  If I'm happy (and I was!), it's back to sewing by hand.  The back of the binding gets whip-stitched to the back of the quilt, picking up only the machine sewing from the front and the very edge of the ironed-in crease.  Assuming you sewed straight (sometimes this is a leap!), the binding will be even all the way around.
Since this quilt is a wall-hanging, I also hand-sewed a sleeve across the top in which you would put something straight.  Many people use a 1" x 2" piece of wood.  My preference is a piece of threaded rod, available at any hardware store, 5/8" or larger in diameter.  No matter how light the quilt is, eventually the wood will warp.  I've had much better luck with threaded rod staying straight.  A plus is that the threads in the rod will keep the quilt stationary on the nail or picture hanger in the wall.
Thank you so much for following this quilt with me.  I hope you found this series informative and interesting!     

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