17 April 2009

A very narrow binding - with no hand sewing

I stumbled on this quick binding technique while seeking to "rein in" an edge that was obviously longer than it should be. Thinking of some way to gently gather in that bit of extra, and not wanting to use up any good perle thread or cord, I remembered all those selvedges torn off fabric that were rolled up, waiting for a purpose in life (maybe something like this?) - but what better use than to stabilise and firm up the edges of some Little Gems? (You might recognise this as one from my leaf panel here.)
First step is to cut or tear the selvedge to a 1/4" strip. (Or you could use 1/4" ribbon.)
The quiltlet is already trimmed to size. As this will be an A4-sized quilt, an A4 piece of paper is handy for getting the exactsize of the strips. Cut a separate one for each side.
Sew 1/8" from the edge, ie, down the middle of the strip. After you've done the first few stitches to hold the strip in place, position the other end and hold it there firmly - maybe even use a pin? - and make sure any fullness in the quilt gets taken up as you sew to the end of the strip.
At the end, lift the presser foot to insert the next strip (no need to cut the thread). Fold the strip you've just sewn (on the left in this dark, fuzzy photo) before you put the next strip on top.
Repeat these steps all round the quiltlet.
Next step is to zigzag round all the edges. The default zigzag setting is perfect for this width - no fiddling around with pushing those little buttons a zillion times, hurrah. Also I used an open zigzag, but if you want satin stitch, go for it!
I found that sometimes the edge of the selvedge would rise nicely into the middle of the presser foot, but this elegant manoeuvre isn't essential to the success of the technique -
If you've torn the strip, you'll find some fuzzy bits round the edges - simply trim those carefully.
And the results, with the open zigzag (and imperfect tension, and a black bobbin thread, yes I know - the Quilt Police would call this sloppy, but us artists simply say "it adds interest") -
The edge is nice and firm - and the perfectionists will want to satin stitch over it, or make a nice binding in a toning fabric. But I'd rather leave it at that and get on with making another Little Gem - so many ideas, so little time...

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