Monday, March 3, 2008

Easy Peasy Quilt Binding

I'm a fan of work that is unfussy, simple, and even a little rough. I like handmade things to look handmade, and sometimes I'm actually reluctant to learn proper techniques, because I'd rather figure it out for myself. Even though I'm growing much more skilled, I still like to think of myself as an outsider artist.

Quilt binding is something that I figured out for myself, and I think my work looks very nice while being unfussy and simple, although I'm sure there's no way I'm doing it the "right" way. I don't use batting because I like, instead, for one of my other elements--the pieced front, or the back--to be really thick. With a denim quilt, the denim is really thick and warm, and with a T-shirt quilt, I back it with a thick blanket, preferably fleece. I also don't quilt, because I tend to find even the most subtle quilting distracting from what I've sewn--I just haven't incorporated quilting into my designs, yet. I've tried several ways of binding my quilts--sewing it right sides together and turning it, using commercial or constructed quilt binding, etc.--but my very favorite way is to fold the quilt backing over to the front to bind the edges. I also really like to use non-ravel fabrics, like fleece, so that I don't have to fold over.

So here's my Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles quilt laying on top of the orange fleece blanket I'm going to back and bind it with. For a really precise fit, you'd tape the blanket to the floor or pin it to the carpet, and pin the quilt to the blanket, but I don't tend to use slippery fabrics, and I find that just laying it and smoothing it still keeps it well-fitted.

And then I go around with my rotary cutter and my cutting mat and I trim the fleece pretty narrow--I fold over some of the quilt front with the back if there are any uneven spots.

The thing to really take the time on is to pin everything nice and stable. I pin about every five inches or so--it's kind of tedious, and it takes forever, but Willow likes to hand me the pins, and when I used to not even pin very much, the front and back really wouldn't turn out even.

I'm mostly working on other sewing projects--I've got my postage stamp quilt squares swap, and lots of clothes to mend--but the next quilts I'm making are for us. I plan to make a queen-sized and a full-sized denim quilt for our two family beds, and a dinosaur quilt, partly from T-shirts and partly from printed fabric, for the girls.

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