Sunday, 26 January 2014

Make an Invisible binding

There are some quilts that look better without borders and bindings, and invisible bindings are a perfect way of finishing them. I am sure there are many ways of making this type of finishing, but this is how I do mine.

Although this is called an invisible binding, it will be somewhat visible from an angle, so choose a colour that goes with the edge of your quilt to hide it even better.

I cut all my bindings 1 ½” wide, also my invisible bindings. Use the width with which you are comfortable. You will need 4 pieces of binding, approximately the length of the 4 sides of your quilt. Piece together several strips if needed.

I also use my 18mm bias tape maker to prepare all my bindings. The 1 ½” strips fit perfectly through the little gadget. If you have problems threading the strip through, there is an slot on the top in which you can use a needle to help pushing the strip forward.

I only press one side of the strip down, the other side stays unfolded.

You can either start with the side edges, or the top and bottom. It really doesn’t matter. On this quilt I did the sides first.

Trim two lengths of prepared binding approx 1” shorter than the height of the quilt. Usually I rarely pin my bindings, but here you need them to stay in place while stitching – so pin them in place on the front of the quilt approx ½” from the top and bottom.

Stitch in place using a ¼” seam allowance.

Finger press the binding open

and fold it over to the back so that the seam allowance also is on the back side.

This quilt has many layers and is quite stiff, leaving the edges quite bulky. Pin like crazy. I find it easier to stitch the next seam when the pins go in this direction (parallel to the edge).

The first seam should be right on the edge, or you can pull it even further to the back if you prefer.

Stitch a seam just a few mm-s inside the edge. I use the width of the opening of my ¼” foot as a guide.

With the extra bulky edges, I repinned my bindings before the next step. You can see that my seam got a little wavy because of all the bulk, but with all the texture on this quilt, it doesn't show on the front.

Set the stitch length as long as possible, and baste the binding in place.

I do this too for all my bindings as it makes hand stitching the bindings easier on the hands.

Do the same for the other side binding.

If you will be adding a hanging sleeve, do it now. I usually cut mine 8 ½” wide to fit exhibition regulations, and sometimes 1/4”-1/2” wider when a part of the sleeve will be stitched into the edging – like in this case. Cut the sleeve approx the width of the quilt, fold it half lengthwise and press. Make a double fold on both sides, and press them. Stitch them down.

Usually you will stitch the sleeve to the back of the quilt, but with invisible bindings, they go on the front.

Centre the sleeve on the top edge on the front and pin in place.

Trim the top- and bottom bindings approx 1 ½” longer than the width of the quilt. I prefer to have a little extra and rather trim the tails later. Pin the bindings in place leaving tails on both ends.

Stitch them down and finger press like you did with the other two.

Trim the tails down to approx ½”. Fold them in,

and fold the binding over to the back like before. Pin. The corners do not need to look perfect; you can do them properly later.

Stitch a seam right inside the edge like you did with the others, and baste them in place. Your corners should look something like this.

For the top edge, I also fold the sleeve over before stitching to make sure it too will be invisible from the front (hence the need of a slightly wider sleeve).

Pin through all the layers and stitch like on the others.

Lift the sleeve up when stitching the basting seam.

Hand stitch the binding in place all the way around the quilt. You may have to remove the basting stitches on the corners to adjust the tails. The corners should look like this.

Remove all basting stitches, and stitch the bottom edge of the sleeve down.

Done; you now have a perfectly invisible binding.

If it isn’t, your invisible binding skills will improve with practise – just like everything else.

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