Friday, January 17, 2014

Binding The Red Quilt

The red Welsh quilt is quilted and the finishing of the edge is almost complete.  The traditional finish on the edges of British quilts was a folded edge.  One of the advantages is that it makes quilts essentially reversible.  I like the look of the finish and while I've heard the technique criticized as not being as durable, I think it is. 

This is the quilt laid out, ready to finish.  Notice that there is no double line around the outside of the quilting. 

 I mark lines for this quilt top (and many of my smaller quilts) at 1/4" and another at 1/2".  I've marked them in soap here so that they'll show up. 
After I've marked the lines on the front, I fold the fabric back over the quilted area and cut the batting back to 1/4" from the edge of the quilting.  I don't mark the batting, I just cut it carefully.

After cutting the batting, I fold the fabric back to where I can see the lines and cut along the outer line which was 1/2" from the last line of quilting.  This needs to be done carefully.  The picture above shows the cut edges.  You can cut with scissors or a rotary cutter but be careful.

The above picture shows the backing fabric pinned out of the way.

Now I turn the cut edge of the front fabric along the 1/4" line BUT I don't fold it over the batting because I find it very difficult to get a straight edge.  The batting may extend out a bit but don't be concerned with that.  I put a few pins in and I baste the folded edge to the batting.  It sounds a bit labor intense but it goes quickly with a little practice.  The picture below shows what it looks like after it has been folded and basted.

Now the back is folded in against itself (not over the batting) and the edge is stitched together.  I try to make sure that a very narrow edge of the front fabric show on the back.  I always stitch from the back of the quilt.  Any batting that sticks up is pushed down with the needle as I go.  On this quilt I used a wool batting so I've been careful not to leave strands of fiber sticking out anywhere which seems to contribute to bearding. When it comes to the corners, fold them carefully and use pins as needed.  I often take small stitches on top of another stitch to sort of lock the tension so I can keep the stitches snug.  The last tip is to keep the tension pulled up on the thread as you stitch the edge.  It shouldn't be tight but snug (if there is such a term for hand sewing tension) because by gently pulling up the edge as it is stitched helps the finished quilt to lay flat.
I'll post the quilt when it's fully finished and has been washed and laid out.  It'll be interesting to see how it turns out.