Monday, 15 June 2009

Binding Issues

I have a love-hate relationship with binding. I do love the process of holding the fabrics together as I hand sew the binding to the backing, turning the fabric over to peek, inch by inch at the progress on the front. I just hate how long it takes. I quilted the thing in 20 minutes, once it was loaded on the frame. But it took me over two hours to hand sew the last bit of the binding down after it had been machine stitched to the front.

I usually use a double-folded strip for binding. Also called French Binding, the 2 inch strips are cut on the diagonal - it uses lots of fabric but for a special project, I think it's worth it. For this quilt, I cut 2 inch strips from various batiks that I used in the quilt and pieced them together. This carried on the scrappy feel of the project.
I used MasterPiece #117 Smart Alex to hand sew the binding. This thread is so fine that it disappears into the fabric. The people at Superior Threads have taken the trouble to give it a good twist which means that it doesn't knot the way some threads do when you're hand sewing the binding.

In the past I've struggled with a satisfying width for binding. In the early days I tended to go rather wide. But a few years ago I hosted a strippy quilt challenge with British Patchwork & Quilting Magazine - the prize was one of my quilting frames. There were nearly 100 participants who created strippy quilts to donate to Project Linus. When we met with the editors to choose the winning quilts, I was struck with the big difference the binding made. The narrow bindings looked better. So here's a question for any readers. I'd love to know what you think is the ideal binding width. Any comments would be most appreciated.


Jennifer said...

The quilt is beautiful. Love those rich colors and the quilting pattern you chose. I usually bind with 2 1/4 inch strips.

Trudi said...

The quilt looks fabulous Martha! Such rich colours. I usually use 2 1/2" binding strips, when I trim my quilt I leave 1/4" of wadding so that it fills the binding. I'm tempted to try thinner though. It also depends on the size of the quilt too!

QuiltSue said...

Regarding binding, I usually cut mine at 2 1/2 inches, but sometimes I want to make more of a feature of it, so then I will cut wider.

Mary said...

The quilt turned out great and I love scrappy bindings. I have used them alot. I do a straight binding unless I have a scalloped border. I cut my 2 1/4" wide. Sew it narrow on the front, but I have plenty to roll over encase I sewed a little wide on the front.