Thursday, July 1, 2010

Label & Binding (by machine) Tutorial

I know there are plenty of binding tutorials out in blogland; Angela (soscrappy) knows my history with binding and how much I loathed needing to do binding. BUT, that was simply because I didn't know all the little details of how it was done; ie: "the corner turn!". Angela is receiving this shout out to her tutorial, because some of the steps I'm posting in this tutorial were steps I learned from her. I've since adjusted a few minor parts to my liking, I've added the inclusion of how I made a label, and I think I've pretty much mastered a good-looking 100% machine binding method as to NOT be frustrated with "missed stitches" on the back.

Preparing the Label

The labels I create are double-layered, rather than just a simple square of fabric that gets appliqued on the back. Use a rectangular piece of fabric (I use muslin most of the time) that is about 3 inches wider than your print and 2.5 times longer than your print. Don't worry about having it squared up yet.

Fold it in half to give yourself a "base-line" to line everything up to. Press.

Unfold. Prepare a piece of freezer-paper large enough for your label. Press (shiny side) to the backside of the lower half of your muslin (no steam!).

I type up my label in Word and then print/cut it out. Tape your printout to the back of your freezer paper so that the lettering begins about 3/4"-1" from the pressed fold-line. Any tape'll do! {{Gotta love duct tape when no other tape can be found!!!}}

Using a shadow-box {my version is a piece of glass from one of my end tables and a flashlight held between my legs! Nothing fancy!!!}, draw/trace your label. I use Pigma pens. I have .1 and .5 sized pens, but following this link just now....I didn't realize there were sizes other than .1 and .5! I've gotta get me some .3s'!!!

Remove backing and trim the two sides to 3/4 inch, while trimming the bottom to 1" of the lettering.

Unfold and refold, now with front/back (aka: right-sides) facing each other. Press {because that fold is going to want to fight you!}.

Sew along both sides of your label. Leave the bottom open so you can turn it right-sides out.

Once turned right-side out, press one final time. Label is ready! Set aside.

Preparing the Binding
So...2 1/2" or 2 1/4"? That IS the question! I've made binding with both sized strips, and I find very little difference. So, here's my motto! If you want to burn more stash, use 2 1/2". If you are "tight" on the amount of fabric you have available, use 2 1/4". For instance, I've completed a good amount of Quilts 4 Kids, many from kits courtesty of Downy. I don't prefer the method their patterns suggest of folding over the backing fabric to the front and sewing it down. {{HOWEVER--this was the ONLY WAY I knew how to do binding prior to Angela's binding tutorial! Oh...I've come so far!!!!}}. So, when I set up the Q4K for quilting, I see that I have at least 2 1/4" (more like 3") on each side that can be trimmed off and used for binding. The backing provided has given me ample fabric to do binding "my way." (except once when I needed to sneak in about 12" of a similar fabric from my stash to finish it up). Note: I use 2 1/4" on the Q4K donated kits. {{Hope that information helps, Tracy!}} :0)

Anyway, once you've decided on the size and have cut your strips, your next choice is "diagonal seam or straight seam"? 99% of the time, I use diagonal seams. {Back to Q4K: I use straight seams there (pressed open) because every little inch is so important as to not run out.} To make the diagonal seam, line your fabrics (right-sides together) perpendicular to each other.

Sew a diagonal from "corner-to-corner." Continue piecing ends until you have enough binding for your quilt.

Press binding in half, length-wise.

At one end, fold fabric over at 45 degrees, press and trim.
It doesn't matter which way you fold, either.
This will be your starting end.

Attaching label and binding

Pin your label on your quilt back in desired location, making sure the bottom (unsewed) seam lines up with the raw-edge of the quilt back. This picture also shows where I typically begin sewing my binding. I prefer to start near the location of the label----just because. No real reason.

A definite for me: WALKING FOOT! Place the beginning of the binding so that enough of it remains unsewed; aka: begin sewing about 3-4 inches from the "start" of your binding strip. For machine binding: Sew to the BACK of your quilt. {{thoughts on machine vs hand-sewing: if a quilt is destined for a quilt show---oh yeah! Hand-sewing is a must!!! You would then stitch to the FRONT of your quilt. However, 95% of my quilts are to be used and loved and will endure a load of washings!! The last thing I want is for the binding to come undone--therefore, I machine sew it.}}

Sew 1/4" seam from edge.

the dreaded "corner"
{{yeah, this part deemed its own little heading!!}} ;0)
Okay, they REALLY aren't that bad! But these steps I owe COMPLETELY to Angela--and I tell ya! This is slick!! I could NEVER understand the "turn 90 degress; fold binding over itself to form a 45 degree fold" directions from quilting magazines! And they never show pictures!!! And ...fold binding over itself....huh? what did THAT mean? Note: {{quote is taken from QuickQuilts}}.

When nearing a corner, stop 1/4" from the edge.

Pivot quilt 45 degrees and sew directly to the corner.

Lift foot and pivot quilt again to prepare the continuation of sewing. NO NEED TO SNIP THOSE THREADS!

Using that lil' diagonal "to-the-corner" seam as a guide, flip the binding "up"...

...and then fold it "down," matching the fold to the side you just sewed.

This the little "fold of fabric" that gets created. I guess THIS is what is meant by "fold binding over itself."

Reposition quilt under the foot and continue along your merry way. Slick, eh?

When you come to the label, no special directions---just sew right on along :0)

Continue sewing the binding until you come near to your starting spot. Trim your binding strip about 1-2 inches beyond your starting point; diagonally in the same direction as your beginning.

"Hide/Tuck" the ending raw-edge strip into the "pocket" of the folded beginning of your strip. Line up the binding nicely and sew, ending at your starting-point.

Now, this is a putzy step, but OH-SO-IMPORTANT to me! I press my binding to make the final sewing (hand OR machine!) easier! Press from the back....

...then flip the quilt over, fold and press binding to the front.

For the corners, I press the "right side" of each corner first...

...then fold down the "top". A perfect, pressed corner (almost) every time :0)

When it comes to sewing the binding to the front, I formally used a simple straight stitch, BUT I would ALWAYS (not just some of the time, but ALWAYS) "miss" the binding on the back and the stitch would show up next to the binding. Oh...the frustration!

I bought my Bernina440 because of all the bells-n-whistles, so I might as well make USE OF THEM! I use a decorative stitch on ALL MY BINDINGS. My two favorite stitches: #126 & #146. For this particular "romantic-themed" quilt, I used 146. This stitch uses quite a bit more thread; I went through almost 2 bobbins!

Using the sewing line as a guide from when you attached the binding on the back, line up the binding to the front just covering the stitching line. I think it goes without saying, all four sides of your binding down, stopping at the same spot you started. Alas, put in a few securing stitches, and the binding is complete. A lovely result {I know...opinions vary}.

The label needs a finishing touch. Sew the remaining three sides (by hand or machine).

And there ya have it! Hope this helps and takes away any frustrations you may have had about binding and/or labels!


Amanda said...

What a great tutorial. Bindings I'm okay on, and yes, I always use a decorative stitch if I'm machine stitching them. But labels have always been a real bug bear, but this is a super way of doing them, so I'll certainly be trying that next time.

Andra Gayle said...

I hadn't thought about doing it quite like that. I will give it a try. Thanks!

Quilter Kathy said...

That was fun to see how you do each of these steps!

Linda said...

Wow! What a great tutorial for both labels and bindings. I'm going to try both of them.

Laurel said...

Great tutorial! I can't wait to try it myself.

Linda Lee said...

This is the binding method Amy taught me in her class. It is the only method I have used. Thanks Amy!!!

Tracy said...

Thanks for enlightening me on machine binding! I've tried and tried but can't seem to catch the other side. The decorative stitch looks great and I've got some really nice ones just waiting to be used. I'll have to practice on some UFO's first ;)
And I'd have never thought of doubling up the label-good idea!

Gina said...

Thanks for a great tutorial

Love and hugs Gina xxx

Lori said...

Very nice! Great Job!

Darling Jill Quilts said...

Great tutorial!! Thanks!!

Colleen formerly of South Africa said...

Really nice tutorial... enjoyed your blog.