Saturday, November 22, 2014

Binding- my favorite part of making a quilt

Look carefully and NOT at how cold it is outside!

There has been lots of talk about binding lately. Debbie (A Quilters Table) has done a remarkable job of collecting and sorting all things binding. There are dozens of binding techniques out there. so many to choose from. For me, I'm just happy to be binding. It means I'm on the home-stretch, almost done and it's literally palpable. I've made bias binding, pieced binding, gradient binding and even tried (on small projects) faced "binding".
Often, I want the quilt to look cohesive, to have a binding that it well executed but camouflaged. I have used bindings to literally match the negative space on my quilts and even pulled in tiny (less than 1/4") pieces of color to make the quilt design appear to bleed to the edges.
Read between the lines

 But lately, I've wanted the binding to be boulder. That thing on a quilt that drew your eye and made you wonder. Can I do that? The binding is such a small quilting detail but it is what wraps the quilt up, signifying both an ending(quilt finish) and also a beginning (quilt ready for gifting).

I had the pleasure of making a store sample for Fabricate Boulder- a class I will be teaching. It's a medium sized project and it was the perfect opportunity to try "the binding". (The on line tutorial for the string pieced blocks can be found here).
The binding was done in the same fabric as the sashing, a beautiful solid eggplant purple.
I used 5 different threads quilting the project top. The piecing is busy and the colored threads really made the quilting both stand out and blend at the same time. I applied the same quilting to a 2" straight-of-grain same colored binding. I even added one line of metallic silver. I used a deep purple in the bobbin only changing the thread colors on one side of the binding. After "quilting" the binding I applied it like I always do, simple and straight forward.  It actually went on beautifully acting as a single piece of fabric instead of a folded piece.
I used a walking foot to keep fabric movement to a minimum.  Folded edge to the left

even at a distance you can "see" the binding
I think having the binding both blend and pop really makes this quilted piece fun. The binding gets to be the thing you notice, wonder how it got that way, make you ponder your next project. Just what I was hoping would happen.


  1. Great way to add detail to a quilt. I'm not usually drawn to embellishment but this is just the right treatment to enhance the overall quilt especially with the use of the same eggplant solid. Your thread choices really pull out the colors

  2. I'll have to keep this in mind. Matchstick quilting on the binding too maybe.

  3. Beautiful and brilliant binding! Your string quilt is very striking - love it!

  4. I love what you did with the binding here!

  5. Very cool! Thanks for the shoutout. And more about binding is in my future. I'm emailing you...

  6. This is such a cool idea! And it looks so cool on your quilt. I must find a way to include this on an upcoming quilt...

  7. Brilliant idea and execution!! I too find the binding one of the best parts of the sewing puzzle :) Thanks for Debbie's ink; I will check it out after we are done moving.

  8. What a cool approach!! And yep - binding is a favorite task of mine now, after truly despising it for years. It's such a treat now to be at that point, on the cusp of jumping off as a finished, usable piece. :D Which metallic thread did you use? Did you by chance use any ironing during the binding process, and if so, how did that thread fare during?

  9. What a clever technique to use on your binding. Binding is probably my least favorite part. Mostly cause my machine binding always looks hinky and janky but hand stitching takes FOREVER. I think I probably just need more practice.


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