Sunday, September 23, 2012

Tutorial: Super-Duper Easy Way to Face a Quilt (Or: How to Sew a Non-Binding Binding)!

As promised in my last post, here is a tutorial on how I like to face a quilt. Facing a quilt is a way to bind your quilt without having the binding show on the front. It allows you to take the quilting all the way to the edge, can add a nice professional and more artful looking finish, (especially to a smaller quilt) and I also find quilts seem to hang better and flatter with this method.

Please keep in mind that this is just one way to face a quilt, and that there are many different methods out there. A lot of quilters prefer to use methods that create mitered corners, and you can find loads of tutorials on how to do that with a goggle search. However, I am extremely direction challenged and found them a bit too confusing for me!

The method that I use doesn't give you mitered corners, but who cares as they wouldn't show on the front anyway. And best of all it is simple, straight forward and super-duper easy, I promise!

I broke this tutorial up into 17 steps, (all really simple so don't be intimidated) and lots of photos, as visually I learn best that way, and I am guessing you do, too!

So, here we go....

Step 1: Begin with a quilt top that you have finished quilting. Make sure to square the corners and trim off any excess batting and backing fabric. Starting at the top and the bottom edges of your quilt, cut two strips of fabric each 2" wide and a wee bit longer then your top and bottom edges. (Note: For photo purposes, my quilt is turned on its side here). With your quilt facing right side up, pin each strip along the top and bottom, lining the edge of the fabric strip to the edge of the quilt, as seen in the photo above. (Note: I like to use solids, but if you are using a print for your facing strips you would want to sew the strip right side down).

Step 2: Using a 1/4" seam allowance sew both strips in place and trim the excess fabric edges flush with the sides of the quilt, as shown in the photo above.

Step 3: Flip the strips up and over to the side, as shown above. (If using a print the print would now be face up). Press with a hot iron.

Step 4: Begin to fold the entire strip to the back of the quilt, as shown above. You almost have to roll the area that contains the seam allowance to get it to go backwards. As you are doing this, keep pressing with a hot iron, (I like to use a lot of steam, too).

The photo above shows what the front will look like once that strip is turned and pressed all the way to the back.

Here, the photo above shows how the edge of the quilt will look once the strip is folded back.

And this photo above, shows what the back will look like.

Very easy so far, yes?!

Okay, lets continue....

Step 5: Now you are going to flip your quilt over to the backside, and unfold those strips that I just had you so carefully fold and press! Using your hot iron and some steam, begin to turn and press the edge of each facing strip inward a generous 1/4" as shown above.  (Be careful to just press the edge of the facing strip, and not that quilted seam allowance, as we want to keep the "memory" of the pressed fold there for later).

Step 6: Flip your quilt to the front and your facing strips, too, so they are now back to where you started. Pin in place so they lay nice and flat along the quilt top, as shown in the photo above.

Step 7: Cut two more facing strips, again each 2" wide, but this time approximately 1" shorter then the length of your quilt.

Step 8: Center each strip along the sides of your quilt leaving approximately 1/2" on the ends, as shown above. As before, pin both strips to the sides, lining up the edges of the strips to the edges of your quilt.  Note: Once the new facing strips are pinned in place you can remove the pins from the first two strips.

Step 9: Begin stitching at the edge of the quilt, and using a 1/4"seam allowance, continue to stitch the length of the strip and past, going all the way to the other edge of your quilt. See photo above.

Step 10: Stitch each corner of your quilt. You will want to go right across that intersection, as shown above. This is to reinforce your corners for when they are turned. I like to stitch a line forward then another one backward, for extra strength.

Step 11: Trim each corner off, flush with the line you just stitched, as shown above.

Step 12: We are going to repeat a few steps here... As before in Step 3, flip the two strips that you just sewed over and away from the quilt and press. Then fold and roll the strips to the back as you did in Step 4 pressing as you go. Flip your quilt over to the back and unfold your facing strips as you did in Step 5 and press your generous 1/4" seam allowance along the edge of each facing strip. 

But now, unlike before, I want you to re-fold and re-roll these two strips back again to the back of your quilt. Steam press again to get everything nice and flat.

The above photo shows what the front of your quilt should now look like. The facing strips along the top and the bottom of your quilt top are still visible on the front, and the side facing strips are turned and pressed neatly to the back.

And the photo above shows what that those two newest strips should look like on the back side.

Yup... lot's of little steps here, but they are oh, so easy! And we are almost finished!

Step 13:  Flip your quilt to the backside, and pin those two strips flat against the back of your quilt, as shown above.

Step 14: Using nice small stitches, hand stitch each strip in place along the back of your quilt, as shown above, remembering to be careful not to stitch through to the front side. 

Step 15: We are in the home stretch now, baby! Using your forefinger and thumb, as shown above and below, push each corner right-side out. As you do this the two remaining facing strips on the front side of your quilt will naturally flip to the back of your quilt, where they belong.

Continue to push each corner out with your thumb. I then like to use a wooded chopstick to push the corner as far out as possible. 

Step 16: Once the corners are all pushed out and the facing strips are on the backside of the quilt, re-press along the edges with a hot iron, making sure everything is nice and crisp and laying flat, as shown above.

Step 17: As before in Steps 13 and 14, pin and hand stitch the two facing strips down to the back of your quilt, as shown in the photo above.

Ta - da! That's it! You are all done! 
Above, is what the quilt looks like from the back.

And here is what it looks like from the front.

Told you it was easy!

If you have any questions, ask them in the comment section and I'll do my best to answer them! xo

You can view more of my Tutorials HERE and my Patterns HERE.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Indigo Blue Cross Quilts with a Facing Finish

Here are the two little cross quilts that I made from Candy's hand dyed indigo blue fabrics...

Indigo Blue Cross Quilt No. 1
15" x 15"

Indigo Blue Cross Quilt No. 2
16" x 17"

As you can see, there is no visible binding on either quilt.

That's because each was finished using a facing method, which basically is where you sew a binding on, but roll it all the way to the backside, so no binding is visible on the front.

This allows the quilting to go all the way to the perimeter and creates a nice smooth edge. I feel that it can give a small quilt a more professional, artful look and presentation. 

There are various ways to face a quilt and you can find lots of tutorials on-line, some more complicated then others. In my next post I will show you how I like to do it, 
which is super-duper easy! 
See you then!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Parcheesi Inspired Cross Quilts

Well, the winds changed direction again, and blew me back to where I had been a few weeks ago... wanting to work in nine patch, exploring cross designs.

This time inspiration sprang from looking at images of vintage and often hand-painted Parcheesi boards. (Have a look at my Pinterest board here to see some great examples).

Keep in mind, I had no interest in making an actual duplicate of these vintage Parcheesi boards, as the interest for me always lays in the unexpected and the not knowing. 

But it was wonderful to just have the images of those old game boards dancing in my head as I hand-cut the fabric pieces and sewed them together.

 I also sewed two others from the lovely hand-dyed indigo fabrics gifted to me last week and I will share them in my next post. 

PS. I am happy to report that youngest daughter is all settled in at college, and seems to be loving it. And while I miss her, the adjustment on my end has been much easier then anticipated... truth be told it's liberating not to be on parental duty 24/7!