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Better Binding: Mitered Corners & Invisible Joins

Jennifer Keltner and Jill Mead give great tips for better binding with mitered corners and invisible joins.

-Are you ready for another fun quarterly challenge project? -This time, we're making around the black quilt. -Simply download the PDF, make your version, then, upload the photos and you'll be entered to win all kinds of fabulous prizes. -I can't wait to see what you come up with. -Hi, I'm Jill Mead. -And I'm Jennifer Keltner. And we're here in the sewing lab at Quilts and More Magazine. And today, we have some tips for finishing your quilt with style. You've got the downloadable PDF for around the block, this great log cabin quilt. And we're going to share with you today 2 tips for finishing your quilt with great style by adding very sharp mitered corners on the edge so that on the front and the back, you have that nice sharp point. -And an invisible joint in your binding to mix a lump-free finish. -It is a great technique and you'll want to use it on all your quilts once you learn how. I'm excited to get started. -For the purpose of today's demonstration, we're using a small quilty piece. The tan represents the top side of the quilt; the green represents the back side of the quilt. -Okay. -So, when we get ready to do the mitered-corner technique, what's the most common mistake people make, Jill? -People wanna start at a corner. -That's right. And even I can't figure that out. So, starting in the middle of your quilt top or somewhere along one side, not at the corner, is actually best. And what you want to do for this technique is make sure you leave a tail of about 6 to 10 inches depending on the size of your quilt top. So, I'm gonna place a pin where I'm going to start stitching. Even though I have these extends beyond the corner, this is where I'm going to start. And I line my binding up so the raw edges match. And then, I'm going to take this ruler and just make a mark, a 1/4 inch in from the edge. And that's where I'll finish my stitching along this side. And I'm going to place a pin right in at that line. So, stitch between these pins, fold off my binding, finger press the diagonal seam, and then, this is the part where people get a little confused, but you can see here that the edge of the quilt lines up with the edge of the binding. I'm just gonna hold this in position and fold down my binding strip. And when I'm done, there is a fold of fabric here and the line of the raw edges matches up. -Okay. -So, I'm going to start sewing again from the corner all the way down this edge until I get within a 1/4 inch of this edge. -So, you stopped a 1/4 inch right then. -Right. I stopped at the 1/4 inch from the end, but I start right on the edge. What I'm left with is a little triangle or a tent of fabric at that corner that's unstitched. -That'll help make the miter later? -It will. -So, as we begin on the machine today; today, I'm working on the Baby Lock Ellegante. And what's nice about this machine is it has a 1/4-inch setting. So, that's important when you're quilting, but it can also be important when you're putting your binding on. I'm gonna start stitching at the point where I had that pin leaving the tail and that will come in handy when we try to do our invisible joint. But at this point, I'm gonna sew to the line that I drew that's a 1/4 inch away from the corner. And then, I'll fold that out. And you can see the seam that was sewn goes right to that line. Then, I turn the binding up, make that crease, hold it in place, and fold it back down so that it's a nice corner. And I pick it up and I'm gonna go back under my needle. And you could pin that in place if you need to, to keep it even. Put my presser foot down and start sewing again using that 1/4-inch seam. -So, Jennifer, no backstitching is needed because every time you stitch, you're gonna be stitching over that line again. -That's correct. And the only thing you have to know is we recommend a 1/4 inch to sew your binding on with. That leaves a 1/4 inch to the binding sewing on the front of your quilt when you turn it back. So, here again, I come to the 1/4-inch mark within a 1/4 inch of the corner. I fold back my binding, hold that in place. And you do this on all 4 corners exactly the same as you did before. So, we're coming to the last corner and fold that out. Again, sewed within a 1/4 inch. Flip your binding up, finger press the diagonal, your edges line. So, I'll fold down the binding on this last corner. And because it is the last corner, I'm not going to keep sewing all the way to my other piece; I'm going to only sew about an 1-1/2 inch down here, and I'm gonna leave myself another tail and that will set us up to do the invisible joint at the end. So, you do have to think ahead. You don't wanna sew too far. So, this final piece, I'll go back under the needle and I'll sew just a little ways down the edge to get passed the bulk of the fabric. And again, there is no reason to backstitch. I'll just cut the thread. And that shows you all 4 corners. Put on to the piece and you have 2 tails in all your corners. So, your binding really sits up kind of like a little fence around your quilt top. So, now, Jill, the magic really begins and the invisible joint starts. Why don't you show us how that's done. -Okay. To make the invisible joint, you take your first tail where you began stitching your binding to the quilt and fold it back about midway between both ends of the opening and trim off the extra amounts. I finger crease that before I cut it. Now, I save this because I used that as a measuring device. Then, I take the opposite end of the binding. This is where we finish our stitching and butt the two ends together and---- -So that's your---- -finger crease it. -That's your raw edge and the folded edge of the second piece---- -Yes. -coming together right there in the middle. -That's correct. -Okay. -Now, this piece is going to be trimmed; not at the fold, but at a distance it measures the exact width of the binding. Our binding was cut 2-1/2 inches wide. Now, instead of trying to find a measuring device, I just use the extra piece of binding as my 2-1/2-inch guide. Place that right on top and cut only through the tail. Is that makes sense? -It does make sense. -If I turn it over and it might be easier to see. -So, the right edge of this is lining up with that folded edge of the fabric, and then, you're going to trim here----I might even use a marker to just mark a little line there so I can double check it before I can cut it? -That's a great idea. Mark along that line, take it away, and trim. -So, Jill, what it looks like to me we're left with is a tail that's still too long for that space. -It does look like as too long, Jennifer; but remember, this is 2-1/2 inches long. Our binding is 2-1/2 inches wide and we're going to be making a diagonal seam, so it's invisible. So, trust me on this; it's gonna work. -Alright. -We are going to be sewing this to this piece at a right angle. So, what I'm going to do to make sure that we do this correctly is mark that seam allowance. So, what we're going to do to make sure this is correct is to mark where we stitch. So, put the diagonal align right across where we're going to stitch. -And here---- -Help me here. -If I'm looking at it you're gonna go 2-1/2 inches from that corner. -Exactly. And I mark the stitching line. Place the two ends at right angles and we'll be sewing right along this line that we marked. -And you open up both of the binding pieces. -I do. And so, right side together. -Okay. -So, Jennifer, yours to sew back to the machine. -And I'm just sewing right across that line that you've drawn and I'm making sure that all the layer stays straight underneath so I don't have any wrinkles. -And if you were working on a small quilt like we're doing here. You'll need to finesse the fabric around just a little bit. -If I had a king-size quilt I have more room to work. -You probably 20 inches extra. -And this is why it's important to leave that space and not so close together. Okay. -Now, let's check that seam and make sure it's done the right way. -Before we trim anything. -That's right. So, we'll gently fold along the lines. And look, I think, it's gonna work. -Perfectly. -It is? So, we can trim that seam allowance. We'll trim it at 1/4 inch and we'll finger press it open. We promised you an invisible seam; now, we're going to deliver. Match up the outer lines. All this left now is the stitch the final seam. So, we're stitching the area that we didn't stitch before. We're gonna close it right up. -Alright, back to the machine. And all I need to do is remember to start and stop in the unstitched areas and to keep my seam allowance consistent and we're on our way to an invisible joint. You've got excess fabric at the corners from the way that we stitched it on. And what you'll do is take your binding and roll it to the backside of your quilt, the seam allowance and the butting that inside of their fills that binding for you nicely. So, turn it back. It creates the miter at the corner because of the way we stitched it. And when you turn it on both sides, you can that the front looks really sharp. -A perfect corner. -It is. So, on the backside, the same kinds of things happen. And if you had---- when you start stitching this down, if you stitch to one corner, you'll see that that same fold creates a miter diagonal line on the back and you'll just sort of finesse it as you stitch along to make sure that those lines match perfectly at the corner. So, front and back, you'll have a perfectly mitered corner. -Great. And you hold your binding in place with hand stitches? -I do hold my binding in place with hand stitches. But some people prefer to stitch by machine. And if you would like to do that, you could stitch in the ditch along the edge of your quilt from the quilt front and it'll catch your binding in the back. So, that is another great option. Binding is my favorite part of finishing a quilt project. I love to sit and stitch my binding on by hand. But no matter how you like to do it, I hope you have a great time using these two techniques to have a perfect binding on your quilt every time.