• Marlene Starkman

All They Needed was the Binding!

I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one who finds binding the worst part of finishing their quilts. Please assure me I'm not :)

UFO#2 and #3 were both simple finishes—all they needed was the binding!

And boy did UFO #2 wait. I finished this black and white Gimme Diamonds pattern from Four Paws Quilting back in 2012. As with most of my UFOs, I started the top to promote a fabric line Flare Fabrics was selling. I wish I could recall the manufacturer/collection.

UFO #3 was the last quilt kit I packaged and sold. The pattern is the classic and very popular Yellow Brick Road by Atkinson Designs and the fabric is from one of my favourite fabric designers Lotta Jansetter. From Scandinavia, her fabrics are a wonderful combination of modern and minimalistic. If you haven't tried her fabrics, I strongly encourage you to source them out!

I love how she mixed these shades of grey and then added that pop of lime green binding. Doesn’t it suit the snow?

A Few Binding Tools

Everyone has their favourite techniques for how they create their quilt binding. So feel free to skip the rest of this blog post. I thought I would just capture some of the tools I like to use.

There is an awesome app from Robert Kaufman, The Quilter's Little Helper, that I use for almost every quilt I make, and definitely for every binding. Just enter in the size of your quilt, the width of your fabric and the width of the Binding Strip you're using, and tells you exactly how many strips you will need. I also use it regularly to calculate the fabric I need for backing as well.

If you look closely at the middle picture, you'll see that my binding strip is set to 2 inches. I use a narrow binding, which I have found works best for my technique of machine binding both sides. (More details on that in another post.)

For years I took the easy way out and sewed my binding strips end to end, with straight seams. You can tell I'm going to say this isn't recommended, right? Even if you iron the seams open, after folding your binding in half you end up with bulky seams. So I finally switched to sewing my strips together with diagonal seams. I started doing an exact measurement of overlapping the two strips exactly 1/4" on the top and right side (as show in first picture below).

Marking with this the Quick Quarter ruler from Quilter's Rule guarantees my pieces aligned.

Finding thin marking tools has always been a challenge. After scouring quilting websites and my distributors, I finally found a couple of good marking tools at art supply stores. Pilot makes mechanical pencils in multiple colours that are great for fine marking when you don't need it to iron or wash away! My two favourites are blue and yellow.

So once you've sewed your hundreds of inches of binding together, ironed in half and it's all hanging off the end of your ironing board, what do you do to keep your binding organized? At a recent Sew Day of my quilt guild a friend said she used a lint roller and it's genius! With a bit of stick from this dollar store roller, it was easy to get started and rolled on smoothly. Stick it in a bucket or basket and it unwinds easily as you sew on your binding. How do you store your binding?

Once you've sewn one side down and flipped your quilt over to either hand sew or machine sew (that's me!) the other side, I used to pin, then I used sewing clips but now— my sewing hack is Elmer's glue and if you can find small purple tubes all the better. It's fabric friendly and fully washable.

I'm taking pictures and getting ready to do a picture tutorial on how I attach my binding by machine. As I work through my 2021 UFOs, there will be lots of binding ahead!

I'd love to know your binding tricks and tools if you want to share.

Stay safe and take care ~ Marlene

602 views1 comment

Recent Posts

See All