Each month, learn a fun trick or tip to make your quilting easier and more polished! This month, learn to make a two-color binding for a quilt that looks just as pretty on the front as it does on the back!
French Braid designer Becky Cogan in American Patchwork & Quilting April 2013
To make two-color binding that finishes a scant 3/8″ wide, complete the following steps:
From binding fabric that will show on quilt front, cut:
- 7/8″-wide binding strips in number and length specified in your pattern
From binding fabric that will show on quilt back, cut:
- 1-5/8″-wide binding strips in number and length specified in your pattern
1. Sew together 7/8″-wide strips with diagonal seams to make one continuous front binding strip. In same manner, join 1-5/8″-wide strips to make one continuous back binding strip.
2. With right sides together, join front and back binding strips on a pair of long edges with scant 1/4″ seam to make a pieced binding strip. Press seam toward darker print.
3. Fold pieced binding strip in half lengthwise with wrong side inside. Sew pieced binding strip to quilt, placing front binding against quilt front.
Each month, learn a fun trick or tip to make your quilting easier and more polished! This month, learn to love hand piecing, the technique favored by designer Jen Kingwell of Amitié Textiles. Love her look in the pillow below? Get her tips for making hand-piecing easier!
(From American Patchwork & Quilting February 2014. Buy the digital issue here.)
- I make my templates from template plastic and write the pattern name and any identifying numbers or letters on each one with an ultrafine permanent marker. I store them in sandwich-size ziplock bags.
- For fabric markers I prefer a mechanical pencil with a 2B lead or a fine chalk pencil, usually white.
- When tracing around templates I use a sandpaper board. It holds the fibers firmly, which reduces distortion.
- Good-quality cotton fabrics give the best results.
- I prefer size 11 straw needles from Jeana Kimball. These fine needles have a straight shaft that glides through the fabric easily. They are also long, which allows me to take several running stitches at a time.
- I love Machine Embroidery Thread (also called Broder Thread) from DMC. It is a 50-weight two-ply thread and comes in a fabulous color range. I find the finer the thread and needle, the more accurate the seams.
- The first thing I do is put a quilter’s knot in my thread: I hold my threaded needle in my dominant hand. I take the end of my thread in my other hand and loop it so about 1″ of this end lies on my needle. With my dominant hand, which is still holding the needle, I hold the end of the thread in place. With my other hand I wrap the thread around the needle three to four times. With my fingers holding the wrap on the needle firmly, I use my nondominant hand to pull the needle through the wrap, continuing to hold until this knot stops at the end of the thread. It’s quick and easy and is never too bulky.
- To finish a seam I take a small backstitch: Before pulling the thread all the way through the fabric, I bring my needle through the loop, which effectively ties a knot. To prevent unraveling, I cut the thread but leave about a 1⁄4″ tail.
Each month, learn a fun trick or tip to make your quilting easier and more polished! This month, learn how to add texture to your quilt with dimensional flying geese units!
August 2013 issue of American Patchwork & Quilting.)
To make one dimensional Flying Geese unit, gather two 2″ squares and one 2×3-1/2″ rectangle. Lay the rectangle vertically on your work surface. Fold the rectangle in half with wrong side inside to make a folded unit. Place the folded unit on the right side of one square, aligning side and bottom edges; pin. Place remaining square right side down on top of folded unit; sew through all layers with a scant 1/4″ seam allowance. Open stitched unit and press seam in one direction. Refold rectangle so that the center crease aligns with the seam, forming a triangle, to make a Flying Geese unit. Press well and, if desired, baste bottom edges. The unit should be 3-1/2×2″ including seam allowances.
Each month, learn a fun trick or tip to make your quilting easier and more polished! This month, learn how to prep your quilt layers for taking them to the long-armer (or quilting them yourself!).
1. Both the batting and the backing should be 6″–8″ wider and longer than the quilt top. Confirm this measurement with your quilter if you’re sending a quilt out for finishing.
2. Make sure the quilt top lays flat by using consistent ¼” seams, pressing seams to one side, and watching for seams that twist and cause a bump. Give a finished quilt top a final press to ensure it is ready to be quilted.
3. Clip all loose threads and fabric, and trim dog-ears. Any of these can cause a shadow behind lighter fabrics if not removed. Loose fabric can bulk up in a quilt sandwich and make it look bumpy.
4. Repair raveling seams and stay-stitch quilt top edges. Especially if you have a pieced border, it’s a good idea to stay-stitch a scant ¼” from quilt top edges to secure unintersected seams. It prevents them from popping open when the quilt layers are loaded onto the machine.
Each month, learn a fun trick or tip to make your quilting easier and more polished! This month, learn the secret to machine-piecing hexagon rows.
When joining hexagon rows, set-in seams are required. Though the positioning of the pieces is unusual, sewing hexagons together by machine doesn’t have to be difficult; just take it one seam at a time, pinning and sewing carefully from dot to dot. (Be sure to transfer dots from patterns to templates, then to fabric pieces before you start joining pieces.) Follow our step-by-step photos, below, to guide you through the process.
1. To join hexagons in vertical rows, adjacent rows need to be offset. (Example that follows shows top hexagon in Row 2 already trimmed to make a half hexagon.)
2. With right sides together, place first Row 2 hexagon atop first Row 1 hexagon. (In this example, Row 2 begins with a half hexagon.)
3. Push a pin through each pair of dots to align pieces, then pin pieces together.
4. Sew from dot to dot, locking seam ends with backstitches or tiny (0.5-millimeter-long) machine stitches.
5. Open up pieces and reposition Row 2 over Row 1. Align and pin next seam.
6. Without catching seam allowance in stitching, sew next seam from dot to dot.
7. Open up pieces and reposition Row 2 over Row 1. Align and pin third seam.
8. Sew third seam from dot to dot. Do not sew through seam allowances. Continue in same manner until all seams are sewn.
9. Press first seam intersection counterclockwise, forming a tiny hexagon on the fabric wrong side. Press next seam intersection clockwise. Continue alternating the direction you press as you continue down the row.