Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Hand Sewing

I swore I would never hand sew a binding... I seriously don't like hand work, but to have a fighting chance I knew I would have to break down and do some hand sewing to stay competitive. I hand sewed binding on a wall hanging for my dad, a tablerunner for MIL, and a baby quilt I made as practice this month. Last night I got the binding on my first large quilt and tonight I did the hand sewing. I started it with the intention of watching Big Brother with Paul and then going to work on my project. I kind of just kept sewing and sewing and sewing, until I couldn't move my hands any more. I have one long side left, but I feel really good about how much I got done. I told my mom tonight she'll need to help me with hand sewing, since I'm not sure if I'm doing it right. About 11 tonight I went to work on my secret project. It would make a cute picture, but since a few of you will receive them, I can't show until they are received. They actually turned out way cuter than I expected. I have a couple more to do, but those will have to wait for another night.

YBR/BFJR Reversible Quilt DONE!

Last night in an attempt to stay competitive I worked long and hard hours! I got off work at 4:45pm and my MIL picked me up. I hand sewed binding all the way home, including while she was getting her haircut. Hubby had supper ready so I ate a quick bite while I was finishing the binding. It's not quite done, but very close. Then I went straight down to the Dungeon as hubby calls it, and started quilting more on this quilt. These are pictures of the top:
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As I was getting to the end of each row my eyes would start to itch and I couldn't figure out why. It was only at the end of each row... I finally realized I wasn't blinking at all while I was watching the needle, so by the end of the row my contacts were drying out and they were itching. I had to really concentrate to blink!
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As I got closer to the end it got a bit more tricky and my paths became smaller. I think I got it matched up pretty darn closely, considering it was my first time trying to match the top and backing together. This is the back:
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I used the fabric that is the center strip of all the blocks on the back and is randomly on the front, as the binding fabric since both borders were light colored. I tried to take a picture of this below, but the lighting wasn't right. It turned out really well and with a few days of hand sewing the binding down, it will be officially done! Paul put the AC in night before last and I about froze to death, so last night I took the quilt to bed with me and I was warm all night. Tonight I plan to work on my super secret project and hopefully I'll accomplish a lot! I was up until after midnight last night.
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Monday, July 28, 2008


Saturday night I finished putting together the Between Friends Jr. backing. I got it all sewn together and was debating borders, but I didn't have enough of any one fabric to actually do the borders on both sides and binding the same way, so I finally left it and decided to come back to it.
After sleeping in a bit... I know this week will consist of a lot of LATE NIGHTS!, I started working on the borders of the YBR quilt. I abandoned my original plan in favor of this light purple fabric. The girls at my moms work had given me a gift certificate for my bridal shower and I spent it all on purple fabrics! This one I had more than 2 yards of to begin with, so it became the border on the front. Then I used scraps from the backing of another quilt I made as the borders on the BFJR quilt. I forgot to take a picture of it as I was anxious to get it on the frame.

I loaded the top and backing on the frame and ended up using a different batting than I had originally intended, because I didn't have enough. I bought out the Hancock's batting sale... 13 1/2 yards are now waiting to make their way into quilts on my frame! Here's the loaded quilt, notice the pins along the border where I matched it up with the back side border? So far things are going well with lining it up. I made the back borders an inch bigger than the front so I had something to pin to the leaders.

Here's the second pass on the quilting. My stitches are still a bit big. I really have to learn to slow down! I think I'm getting better with each row I do. After the first row my machine threw a hissy fit and didn't have tension, but restarting it and cleaning and it was good as new. So tonight I plan to finish the quilting on this one and get the binding on it. That has yet to be determined, but I do have a couple choices for it. I had really good luck with the King Tut and a size 14 quilting needle, not one break so far!

Mom's Gracie

When mom and I were on our shop hop last month I was on the lookout for a new Lazy Girl pattern. I found the Veronica and the Gracie. I decided to get the Veronica and mom wanted the Gracie, so I told her if she bought the pattern I would make one for her. She also found the quilt diva fabric at one store, so Saturday I made the Gracie for her. It took me right at 4 hours to make it start to finish.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Left Over Blocks = Baby Quilt

I had lots of left over blocks from the YBR and BFJR quilts, so I made them into a baby quilt. I didn't add borders as I had a piece of fabric that would just cover being the backing. I don't care for the blocks, but I think they work well together.
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This picture shows the quilting and the thin binding strip. This is ready to have the hand sewing done on the binding. I'm really pleased with my quilting, for my very first time on the frame. There are things I learned and I'm sure it will get better as I do more quilts.
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Yellow Brick Road/ Between Friends Jr.

After making YBR quilts for my two bridesmaids, I decided I wanted one for myself. Paul thought we needed a new quilt for the queen size bed, so I stared collecting purple fat quarters to make the YBR quilt for our bed. I ended up having a lot, so I decided to make a twin YBR throw for the couch. This is the one I made start to finish of the top. I didn't know if I wanted borders, so haven't added those yet. I got it done and was going to piece the back with some less than attractive purples I had in my stash. I have a LOT of purple in my stash! So I took out the pieces and decided I needed a plan...
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Here's the planning taking shape. I found the Between Friends Jr. pattern in the Happy Hour book by Atkinson designs. It's way simple and makes 9 1/2" blocks, like the YBR. So here is what I got done this weekend through last night. I cut all the pieces Sat. night, sewed all the blocks on Sunday and got them layed out. Last nigh I sewed them into rows at sewing night and was ready to sew the rows together, but ran out of time. I always lay out my quilt blocks, then stack column 1 and 2 right sides together, then column 3,4,5 in piles, and just keep adding to the rows until they are done. As you can see the rows are sew, not I just need to press and sew the rows together. This will be the back of the YBR quilt.
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I think I've decided to add borders to both sides so I can even them up when I'm done. I think this will make a really cool quilt and I can use a King Tut verigated that will look great on both sides. This will be my next quilting project on my frame.
I still have 42 purple fat quarters waiting in the wings to become a Picture This quilt from the Happy Hour book. That will be a queen size for our bed.

My Nameless Frame and Machine

My nameless frame and machine are looking for a name. We've already bonded by doing our first quilt together, but I still haven't figured out a good name combo for them. I'm using a JN6600 on a Next Generation frame. You can see the pretty pink leaders in the picture.
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This is set up in my sewing studio lenthwise. To the left of the machine/frame I have my sewing table/cutting mat/ironing board and fabric storage set up. I have muslin and batting on the frame as I was playing and practicing.

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Baby Quilt for Molly

I finished the baby blanket for Molly and was able to give it to her parents at the family reunion. This was my first project in July. We got the panel on our honeymoon. They live on a ranch, so this was really appropriate for her. It is a flannel, so a little warm for now, but this winter will come in handy.
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Thursday, July 24, 2008

Tied... First Quilt Quilted on My Nameless Frame

It looks like Jen and I are tied for the lead today! Certain unnamed competitors are complaining that I haven't been adding pictures or blogging recently... I gotta sew! I don't think I've seen my camera since the family reunion two weeks ago, though I think it's at the bottom of my take along bag. I'll have to dig it out tonight and take pictures.

I've been doing a ton of wrapping clothesline. I spend the half hour before work, hour at lunch, and even sitting on the swing with Paul in the evenings wrapping. I thought about sewing my rug together and then realized I wouldn't be able to take it back and forth to work, so I decided to just keep wrapping on it. When I was making blocks this past weekend I actually cut up all the left over fabric into 1/2" strips, so I have a lot more in my bag to chose from now.

Last night I quilted my very first quilt on my new frame! It actually went way better than I expected. I only had a few spots where I went across my lines, only one thread break, and only one broken needle. Thread break was due to new spool. I added sewers aid, not another problem! I got to the very end and was quilting the last row and i ran over a pin that was connecting the backing to the leader and didn't realize it until the needle broke. I used masterpiece thread top and bottom and it worked beautifully. If I can just slow myself down a bit my stitches will be smaller. Right now they are even, but bigger than I would like to see. I had some left over blocks from the two quilts I worked on this weekend and I made them into a crib size top, didn't add borders, and used a piece of leftover fabric from the endless purple tablerunners for the back. I just wanted to practice quilting and the backing was the perfect size. Had I added borders I would have had to piece the back. I'll have to take pictures tonight at Wind Up Round Up our LQS sewing night.

Last night I also was productive in the kitchen. I made a black bean chili casserole with cornmeal on top. It was oh so good! We've had rain the last two day, so it was cooler and I felt like using the stove. It was a way simple recipe and I could pop it in the oven and go sew. I also whipped up a German Chocolate cake since the oven was already on and coconut frosting on top. That's my absolute favorite cake! It's my mom's too, so I cut her a big chunk and will take it to her tonight. Her birthday is next week, so I need to figure out what I am going to do for her. I think the cake she will enjoy though!

My unnamed competitors are also complaining that I haven't given my machine and frame names yet. Nothing is coming to me... I'm just not sure what I want to name them. I know the machine is female and the frame is male... but I need to name them. Anyone have any good suggestions for names??? I'm all ears and there might even be a prize if your names are the ultimate winner.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Sewing Marathon Weekend!

This weekend is the first one in July that we have stayed close to home the whole weekend and I was bound and determined to catch up with my partners in sewing Jen and Jill! Friday I didn't feel well when I got home from work, so I laid down on the couch for a quick nap. I was feeling much better when I woke up, so I went to my studio and put some good quality bonding time in with my frame and machine. I loaded muslin and batting and was ready to start quilting, only to realize I had them on in the wrong order, so I repinned them and was ready to start quilting, but Paul thought I should go to bed. I told him to let me take one run with the machine and I'd go to bed. I took one stitch and the needle broke! It was so late that I just left it for morning. When I got upstairs I asked Paul if he and God were talking because I broke a needle! He just laughed, crossed his fingers and said "me and God, where like this". So I knew quilting for me was not meant to be!
Paul got up at 5 to go to work and I got up later and started sewing. I sewed for about 4 hours before he got home and said "the pawn has returned". He keeps joking that he and Mike are the pawns in our little sewing competition. So we got ready and went to Festival in the Park, which is an arts and crafts festival. It's really a great show and so many interesting items to buy. When we got home I went back to sewing. I sewed all the blocks for a twin size YBR quilt and cut out all the pieces for a Between Friends Jr. quilt for the back. I was up till 2 AM, but successfuly put in 11.75 hours!
Sunday morning I slept in a bit and then got up and started sewing. I put the entire YBR top together, then I started sewing the blocks for the BFJR quilt. I got all the blocks sewn and even had enough extra to make a baby size quilt. Hubby did my house cleaning chores and made dinner, and went to the store for a few things, so I could sew all day uninterupted, and PUT ME IN THE LEAD!!!!!!!!!!!
Tonight I plan to sew the blocks of the BFJR quilt into a backing and then quilt the baby quilt and the YBR/BFJR quilts. I know I won't get it all done, but it's so nice to have something to look forward to making.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Sew & Sews

Last night was sew and sews group. It was all about making garments and had a fashion show with the little girls of the employee's. They were way cute. Then they showed how to use the hemmer foot. Have any of used this foot. It looks way cool and they used a video camera and tv to show it bigger so everyone could see. I got some handsewing done on the binding of the tablerunner and they were all giving me a bad time about trying to get hours in. They just don't know how much Jen and Jill are sewing! They were amazed at the amount of hours we had already put in for the month and it's only half over. I've been spending the morning before work, breaks when it's raining, and lunch hour to sew... so slowly I'm catching up. I plan to put some good quality time in this weekend. I need to actually make something!

Thursday, July 17, 2008


My mom is a lifesaver! She came out last night and helped me finish putting the carriage together and make the leaders. When I got home Paul and I fixed supper and then worked on the final shelving part, put the rollers on, and started making the carriage. We had supper and then mom helped me with the bottom part of the carriage and leveling out the frame. We couldn't get the bottom part to roll straight, it was as though it was warped. I finally untightened the screws and one of them was way to tight and causing it to warp. We got my machine on there and were ready to go. Mom measured and I tore the canvas. I serged the edges and mom sewed the straight line down both sides. I ironed and then she helped me and we got the leaders in place. It was a long night, but we got a lot accomplished! I feel like I can put some muslin on and start playing this weekend. With an hour and a half of work break time sewing binding, my total for the day was 5.5 hours - 70 hours total. I'm still a long ways behind, but I'm catching up. I've already sewn for .5 hours this morning!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Slowly But Surely

I am slowly but surely getting the quilt frame together. Last night I spent several hours working on it. I have one brace that doesn't want to work, so I need Paul to look at it tonight. I also have the pink canvas for the leaders and mom is going to help me make them tonight. I am so anxious to actually be able to quilt on it. Mom brought me fabric and a pattern last night, so I am going to whip up a purse for her. It's a really cute Lazy Girl purse. Luckily I got some hand stitching and clothesline wrapping done on my breaks at work, so chalk up 4.5 more hours to my list!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Proud New Owner of Quilt Frame!

I am the proud new owner of a Next Generation Quilt Frame!!! I went to Sioux Falls on Friday with my parents to pick it up. We were on our way to a family reunion and made a side trip to pick it up. We stopped in Chamberlain at the Quilt Shop there and found some fun new projects. Then it was on to SF where we got the frame at Heirloom Creations and several fabrics on clearance and some new masterpiece thread colors. We went to Mills End and found some fabric for baby items. Then we headed to Brandon and stopped at the shop there. She has all the Lazy Girl patterns so mom and I each got a new one we didn't have. Then we took the county roads to Dell Rapids. We visited the quilt shop there too. It was awesome and they had the best selection of fabrics and new ideas we had seen. I had been there about 5 years ago and remember the owner was a student of my moms back in the day. Well she recognized my mom and called her by her maiden name! She thought it was so cool that her old home economics teacher was there. We found lots of fun projects there. One involved a 60 degree triangle ruler and it was so cool. Then we headed back to SF and went to Joann's ( We don't have one close). Then it was back to Mitchell to meet my hubby and little bro for the family reunion. Sat. we did some errands, including mom and I stopping at quilt shop in Mitchell. They were having crazy days and I got a bunch more fabric and some stencils to use. We went to the family reunion and then spent the evening at the motel. I helped my great aunt with her magic box and downloaded some embroidery designs for her.
Sunday we headed home, but stopped at the boat races on the Missouri River and got some fishing in. I got a nice burn on my legs and arms. We made it home about 5, but were completely exhausted. Paul helped me for an hour and we got the leg pieces together on the frame. Then we were done for the night. Tonight we worked on Thank yous and we put an hour in on putting the frame together. We have the base put together and standing now.
I spent some time Thurs. night putting a label on Molly's quilt, clothesline on Fri, Sat, and Sunday and did some more frog stitching on Sat. & Sun. I'm behind again, but I haven't been home since Wed., so now I'll have to get busy to catch up. Today I only got an hour in while supper was being fixed.

Thursday, July 10, 2008


Last night I spent packing... So I would be ready to go pick up my new frame!!! Mom and I are leaving tonight to go to her house and then we'll leave before the crack of dawn tomorrow morning to go to Sioux Falls to pick up my new frame!!! Oh yeah and we are going to visit some quilt shops along the way! I spent time at work yesterday doing some more wrapping on my clothesline and frog stitching. I did a little work in my studio last night, but nothing note worthy. I printed about a gazillion pictures to put in our photo album and still don't have them all printed. I'll put in what I have and then add more next week. We are having a picnic at the park for work today, so I'll be enjoying the sun instead of being stuck inside for part of the afternoon. Oh yeah and I have sewing stuff packed, so I can get some hours in. The rest of the family will meet us tomorrow night in Mitchell for a family reunion through the weekend. Should be lots of fun. I'll get to see my new niece again. She's 2 weeks old already! OH.... and did I mention I'm getting my frame????? Pictures to come next week!

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Did you see that?????

I pulled into the lead... okay by a measly hour, but still it's the first time I've been in the lead all month! Thanks to all of you who are rooting for me... I can and will beat Jen and Jill!
Yesterday I got to work a half hour early, so I did some more frog stitching. Then at lunch I wrapped fabric on my clothesline for an hour... did it at afternoon 15 min break too. It was raining, so we couldn't walk. When I got home I worked on a nurture next pillowcases for an hour while Paul made supper.
We have a family reunion on my mom's dad's side of the family this weekend and my aunt had asked me to print some pictures, so I worked on that for a while... and then on printing wedding pictures. I got about 60 printed before quiting for the night. I was going to put more paper in this morning and print the other 40 I had checked... wouldn't you know the electricity went out in the middle of the night, so I have to go back and redo them tonight! While I was setting the scanner up to the computer I was IM'ing with Jill. We talked for a good hour or so. It sure makes computer work go faster when you can talk to someone at the same time. I use yahoo... teachspeech14 is my ID... but I know that hotmail works with it too if i have the address in. I chat with my mom all the time and she is on hotmail. So if you want to chat, drop me a line.

So when Paul went to bed, I went to my sewing studio... I finished up the pillowcase for the nurture nest. It's a round pillow for new mothers who are nursing. I made the case for one for my SIL. I think they are a great idea. Have any of you used them?? Then I worked on YBR quilts and decided that would get boring and I would much rather do the Happy Hour quilt, so I changed the plan, redid my piles and still have enough for 2 quilts, one queen, the other twin. I put in two hours before calling it a night. I really should have stayed up two more hours, because I just layed in bed wide awake! I think Suzan's insomia is catching.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

I see the light!

I can see the light at the end of the tunnel! There is hope that by tonight I can be caught up to Jen and Jill! Yesterday I sewed for an hour and 15 min. at lunch, then went home and spent 4 hours in the sewing room. I got a bag made and more prep work on my YBR quilts. Those are going to be awesome! I moved my cutting table/ironing board and I think I'm pleased with how high they are now. I think they are more ergonomicly correct now. I have this huge stack of purple fabric all over my ironing board/cutting table now. I've gotta get busy and start sewing now.
The futon was moved out of the studio before I got home from work, my shelves are clean, and I have a newly swiffered and mopped floor. I can sew to my hearts content! I love a clean room.
This morning I put in a half hour of frog stitching before work and I have plans to do some more at lunch and then I'll be home sewing tonight!

Monday, July 07, 2008

Binding... Moneik Style

I don't like hand work... never have, probably never will. So binding for me is done by machine. I used to use the burp method for all my quilts... even the king size flannel I made in college! I learned how to do binding from a lady named Ann I think. That was way back in college too... I've changed it a bit, but it's relatively the same way she taught me and my mom. Mom has been my other teacher for bias binding, but that's a whole other ball game.
I start with binding strips either 2 1/2" or 2 1/4" wide. I use the wider for when I sew the binding on the back and do a decorative stitch on the front to finish, but I use the narrower for when I sew to the front and pull around to the back. I think it's really personal preference.
To join binding strips I take one strip and lay it horizonal right side up. Then take the strip you want to join to it and lay it vertical at a 90 degree angle with right side down.
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I usually use the salvages to figure out the 90 degrees, but a square also works.
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With the two lined up, I mark a line from the upper left hand corner where the two pieces meet to the lower right hand corner. This is the sewing line. You can pin it to hold, but I usually just hold it and sew. I've also just winged the sewing line too, but to start a line helps to make sure it comes out even. If you need to put more than two strips together, take the other end of the face down piece and put it horizontal face up and add the next strip face down vertically and follow the same steps. I have found if I do it the exact same way all the time, I never mess up. Consistancy is key here. Always horizontal face up, vertical face down, adding strips to the right end.
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Sew down the line you marked, directly on the line. I use my walking foot for all steps in this process as it helps all the layers stay together.
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Then using the ruler, add a quarter inch seam allowance and cut off the corner. This would be to the right of your sewing line.
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Then press the seams either way. I press to the right, as you can see in the picture the binding strip is upside down from the way I sewed, but I pressed it to the right.
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Now you are ready to add the binding to the quilt. Fold the binding in half wrong sides together, evenly. I don't press this, but let it lay naturally. I leave 6 -12 inches of the binding free at the beginning. This will be the tail to meet up with at the end. Six for wall hangings, 12 for bigger quilts. More is easier, but you don't want too much or it will have too much give. My finger is pointing out where I will start sewing the binding to the front of the quilt. The piece to the left is my 6" tail.
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Sew the binding on with a quarter inch or slightly less 1/4" seam allowance. I sew to 1/4" from the corner. I don't get out the ruler all the time, but I stop 1/4" from the corner, lift the needle, pull the thread out a tiny bit (maybe 1" at most) and turn the quilt.
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When the quilt is turned, fold the binding strip at a 45 degree angle with the corner. The unfinished edge of the binding should be straight with the right edge quilt when it is folded like this. It's hard to see in the picture because the quilt is white, but on the bottom you can see the shadow where the quilt edge is.
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Holding this fold in place, bring the binding strip straight back down, raw edges of binding, aligned with raw edge of quilt. This creates a little triangle of fabric in the corner as you can see in the picture. Start sewing a quarter inch from the edge and continue sewing the bind down, repeating all corners the same way.
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When you reach the end where you will be matching the pieces, leave a gap 7-13" long. About an inch longer than the tail you left at the beginning. Back stitch to hold it in place and cut your thread.
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Fold the original tail piece up ( it probably didn't stay in place while you were sewing) straight with the edge of the quilt. Then fold the end tail you just finished sewing over it. Make sure these are laying perfectly flat. I will even pull them away from the machine and do this on my table if it's easier. The end tail should be to left as you are working and the beginning tail should be on the right.
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Using a scissors or snipper, cut a little less than 1/4" snip through all four layers of binding about 1" from the left end of the beginning tail. (Yes this is on the underside, but you should still be able to see it.) Make sure you have about 2 1/2" on both sides of the beginning and ending stitching. Sometimes this snip will be right in the middle.
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Because it's too hard to see the snip in the pictures, I put a ruler down and drew a line so you could see where they are. Pull the top (or left or end piece of binding away and lay it flat, right side up. The second picture shows where the snips are in the binding.
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Now fold the beginning tail (on the right side) will be place right side down and the end tail. Line up the left side of the beginning binding with the two notches on end tail. On the beginning tail, line up those notches with the top of end tail. In the picture below you can see where the notches are marked by the ruler edge.
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Keeping these together, draw a line on the diagonal. In the picture below I marked the diagonal from upper left to lower right with the ruler (left side of ruler). The picture is taken at a funky angle, so it's kind of hard to see.
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This picture shows the little blue water wash away line that I drew. Sew directly down the line, just like when you were joining the strips of binding.
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Pull it flat to check that you have it right. I've had a few mishaps in the beginning of getting pieces twisted or not lined up right, so I always check that it will lay flat.
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Then add a quarter inch seam and cut off the excess (this would be like the corner of the binding strips).
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Press that little piece to one side or the other. The same direction you pressed all the other joints is good, just don't open the seam as it makes the binding weaker.
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This is what the binding should look like when it is on the front. Then press the binding flat from the front out. This makes it easier to have it roll around to the back.
You'll have to excuse my ironing board men... it was the easiest spot to take pictures.
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I use Steam - A-Seam 2 1/4" strips that come on rolls.
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I press on the SAS2 on the back side right along the stitch line. Since I took a 1/4" seam, it fits perfectly there and unrolls as I need it. I leave the paper on and do all four sides.
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I pull back the paper and fold up the binding around the edge. It holds in place while I fix the miter on the corner. I always fold the left side up first, then fold the right side in. The extra fabric from the front, folds up and in, forming a perfect mitered corner. Then I steam the binding down. I do a small section at a time.
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This is what it looks like on the back when the binding is steamed in place.
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I use my walking foot and position the needle right next to the binding on the front. I use a thread that matches the quilt, but not necessarily the binding. The bobbin should match the bindng though. I stitch in the ditch all the way around the binding on the front side. In the pictures you can see how closely I get, but don't actually go onto the binding.
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This is the back side of the binding. For this tutorial I used 2 1/2" binding strips since it was a kit and that's what it came with. Normally I use 2 1/4" and the stitching is closer to the edge of the binding on the back. I also pin when i don't have SAS2. I pin from the front, make sure all the pins hit binding in the back and sew the same way. I'm just not a big pinner, so I like the SAS2.
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I also do this method in reverse. I sew the binding to the back, flip around to the front and do a decorative stitch on the binding. With this method I do use a 2 1/2" strip of binding.
Hopefully this will help someone learn an easier way of making binding, or adding a little trick to make their own way of doing binding easier. Please let me know if something needs to be clarified or if you have questions. I'd like to make binding as easy as possible, so people aren't afraid to finish their quilts.