Before I go bragging about this method I came up with after many, many miserable puff quilt binding experiences, I know I just have to say this:
If you are a ‘real’ quilter, an ‘authentic’ quilter, you will probably scoff at me. It seems like all quilters insist on hand stitching the binding to the back. They will usually machine-stitch it on the front but then hand stitch it to the back. When I first started getting into quilting, the whole ‘hand-stitching’ thing really turned me off. Me no likey hand stitching. It hurts my fingers, I have actually chipped a tooth from pulling a needle through, the quilt sitting on me makes me hot, it takes forever, and I just plain hate it.
So anytime I can find a way to sew something on the machine, I will do it. And binding a puff quilt on a machine is hard. And sewing the binding to the back is pretty much nearly impossible to do perfectly. I’m sure that all of you who have made a puff quilt with my tutorial are nodding in agreement.
Well this summer I sewed 10 puff quilts in two weeks and it was imperative to find a way to do a perfect binding using the machine. And I did it, folks. But it doesn’t mean you can’t see the seam. You can. But it is straight and pretty. So that, to me, is perfect.
This is a tutorial. To see the rest, follow the jump!
Step 1: The first part is to make the binding and iron it like bias tape. When I usually make binding, I iron it in half lengthwise and call it good. But with the new method, I iron it in half and then iron one side up and the other side back down in a tri-fold.
Fold and iron it up…
And then iron it back down on top like bias tape.
Step 2: Use your walking foot (you can probably get away without one if you are doing a regular quilt this way but I highly recommend the walking foot for puff quilts.) The top thread should be the color of the binding and the bottom should be the color of the back of the quilt. In this case, light blue and brown.
Step 3: Unfold your ‘bias’ binding tape and work it so that the raw edge is lined up with the edge of the quilt, and so that the folds of the binding are unfolded and open to you (I hope that makes sense.) You want it so that when you fold it over, the binding will naturally fold over to the back because of how you ironed it. Leave a tail of a few inches and then start sewing in the ditch of the first fold. Keep the raw edges lined up and continue sewing in the crease the whole time.
Sew the binding onto the top in the traditional way, mitering the corners. My pictures of this process were awful so I am going to refer you to this tutorial on binding from Lella Boutique, she does a great job explaining it.
Step 4: One you’ve sewn the binding completely to the top, flip over your quilt. My puff quilt here has a brown minky back. Note the seam that you just sewed. This will be your guide for putting the binding onto the back. Now take scissors and trim the edge of the quilt so that there is about a 1/2 inch or so between the edge of the quilt and that seam. Be careful to NOT cut your binding anywhere near the fold! (It’s okay to cut the raw edge)
Step 5: Bring your binding over to the back. You will be lining up the fold of the binding with the guide seam. This is why it is important to have an even trim around the whole quilt. If you have a pretty uneven trim (like if it’s 1″ in some spots and 2″ in others) then it won’t work. But since you sewed the binding on following that crease, that shouldn’t really be an issue. It’s still good to trim though.
I fold the binding up. See how I’m lining it up here? You can’t really see the seam anymore because the edge of the binding (the fold of the binding) is meeting up to the seam or slightly covering it.
Step 6: FIRST change your thread so that the bobbin is the same color as the top!! To sew the back of the binding on, I put my needle on the left setting and line up the edge of the binding with the inside edge of the walking foot. Study the picture carefully to see where my foot is because this is essential. Then I slowly start sewing. I do not bother pinning because I feel like pinning actually makes the process less precise. I go slowly and stop very frequently to let my fingers match the edge up to that seam. And I check the front to make sure it’s looking right. After doing this a little while you will get faster and it still goes much faster than hand-stitching.
Step 7: To do the corners, I usually just sew to the end and stop. I have clipped the quilt corner to reduce bulk. I take the quilt out completely, fold down the corner how I like, then continue sewing. I’ll clip all my threads at the end.
Step 7: This is how the back looks when I’m done! It may be visible, but dang it that is a near-perfectly straight line. And for all of you who have bound puff quilts, you will understand how hard it is to do that. The bulk makes a significant different in the level of difficulty.
And this is how it looks from the top. Yes, yes, you can see the stitch. And ‘real’ quilters will condemn me for that, I’m sure. But I think it looks nice and straight and secure. And when you have a baby quilt that’s going to be washed and worn out a million times, don’t you want it nice and secure?