Monday, May 20, 2013

Barbara’s quilt, quilting feathers and my fast and easy way of joining the binding!

The last quilted stitch!
Barbara’s quilt is done! Well the quilting is done and the binding attached but it has to be turned over and stitched down. Then I’ll give it a quick wash and it will be done. I think my friend Babs will be very pleased with the finished quilt. She’ll pick it up on Thursday but until then I’ll tease her with a couple of pictures!


I quilted feathers in the border.

I really like what she did with that quilt, especially the feathers.
I wonder how she did it?

I always hoped that one day I would be able to quilt feathers but doubted that it would ever happen. They looked far too technical and challenging…well beyond my skill set. Two things changed that; a book and a Craftsy class. The book is Peggy Holt’s “Crete Your Own Dream Feathers”. It provides all the information, inspiration and courage you need to get started. The second thing that changed my view of feathers is Angela Walter’s Craftsy class “Free Motion Quilting with Feathers”. These classes go on sale fairly regularly.

Of course you need to develop your basic machine quilting knowledge and skills. I got everything I needed from two books, Heirloom Machine Quilting by Harriet Hargrave followed by Guide to Machine Quilting by Diane Gaudynski.

Harriet’s book is an excellent resource that provides all the basic information. I refer to it often. Diane’s book provides information about actual designs and how-tos. One thing I learned from Diane is using the darning foot to do everything, including stitch in the ditch. Barbara’s quilt was done entirely with a darning foot.

As I was attaching the binding it occurred to me that I have developed my own way of joining the beginning and end of the binding. I’m always looking for simple ways of doing things in the moment. What I mean by this is that I don’t want to have to stop, set up new equipment, measure, cut, press and sew. My sewing room is very small so if I need a cutting surface it involves a major rearrangement of the sewing room to make space! Also I want what I’m working on done quickly and neatly. So this is how I stitch down the last bit of binding.
I like to stitch down the edge of the quilt with a needle and thread. I stitch about 1/8" away from the edge. Then I trim the excess batting and backing fabric away.
The first step is to pin the beginning of the binding to the quilt like this. Leave these pins in place. I start stitching the binding about 2" in from  the beginning of the binding. Stitch down the binding all around the quilt as usual.

When I’m a couple of inches away from the beginning of the binding I stop sewing; leave the needle in the down position. I trim the binding so that it extends just short of where I started stitching the binding.

I tuck the end neatly inside the fold of the beginning of the binding.


Make sure the binding is nice and smooth and then pin it in place.

Continue sewing the last bit to stitch down of the binding.

 With a thread that matches the binding I stitch the join closed.
View from the front of the quilt

I sew through all layers of the join starting at the edge closest to the quilt and sew out to the folded edge. Don’t cut the thread! Once the join it is stitched closed I fold the binding to the back of the quilt and I continue stitching the binding down.

View from the back of the quilt
This is what it will look like from the front of the quilt! Fast, neat and easy!

One final tip, when stitching down the binding I used my nine patch pile and ended up with one more nine patch for the stash!

Until I post again, happy sewing!


  1. It's so beautiful!!! And I will have to remember your binding trick for next time I make one :)

    1. Thanks Lia - After I posted I though I should do it up as a tutorial on joining the binding. It is now posted under Tips and Tutorial!

  2. Wonderful tip Karen, I have always struggled to get a neat join.
    I seem to be checking into your blog everyday, loving everything you show, especially your Mum's embroideries.
    Cheers, Jenny

    1. Thanks Jenny! I've tried lots of different ways of dealing with the join and they all involved more effort than I was willing to invest so I thought about how I could get the same result with less struggling but still have a nice finish and that's what I came up with. And it works like a charm! I'll post more of Mom's embroideries tomorrow! Thanks for reading my blog and I'm so pleased that you are finding the information helpful!

  3. O.K. thanks for all the teasing. I can't wait for Thursday.
    The quilt looks amazing (again). The binding tip is great and looks
    so efficient. I really like your friends talking about the quilt..
    I guess they are part of your animal collection - like the turtle!

  4. Great binding tip ! I've never seen it done that way but it is marvelous - thanks for showing. I like how beautifully you mitred the corner too :)

  5. Dear Karen,
    Barbara's quilt is BEAUTIFUL. She will love it.
    About the binding do you cut the binding on a bias? Great tip, I always have problems with it.
    Thanks you for sharing your knowledge.
    I also enjoy your Mom's embroideries, they are just beautiful.
    Grace Ramirez.

    1. Hi Grace - I think Barbara will be pleased. My Mom stitched down the last bit of the binding and she said if Barbara isn't happy, she'll have the quilt!
      As far as the binding goes I don't cut it on the biaz (mostly because I am lazy!) but I don't have a problem. Plus going back to the lazy thing, I can figure out exactly how many strips of fabric to cut if I don't cut on the bias. For example, if my quilt measures 72" square that is a total perimeter measurement of 288". That means I'll need 7 strips of fabric cut across the width of the fabric. When I join the strips I do sew them together so that the seam is on the diagonal.
      Hope this helps!