Monday, March 2, 2015

My Favorite Machine Binding Method

Up front, this method is not for show or competition quilts.  This new binding method is for cuddle up on the couch and toss in the washer 500 times quilts, drag around the house quilts, Superman cape quilts, and let's not forget the classic Fort Quilt which we all know is susceptible to clothes pins and chair backs.  Basically, this is a quilt for real life.

I've been using Steam-a-Seam for zipper insertion for a long time.  Sunni Standing demonstrated this technique in her Craftsy class, Mastering Zipper Techniques.  If you haven't taken this class you absolutely should.  It will change your world about zippers and it's free.  Now what's better than that - besides the binding method I'm fixing to show you?  (Yes, I'm from Texas - deal with the lingo).  Once I tried using SAS vs. pins, I never went back.  The other day a light bulb went off in my head.  "Hey, what if I used SAS to hold my binding in place instead of clips or pins?"  Hmmmm  And more than just the superior SAS method, there's a Magic Sewing Surprise included in this post too!  The images below are from a FMQ sample I've been using to practice on my Lizzie so please ignore the wonky designs.  It's not her, it's me.  And I apologize right off that the front and back of this sample quilt sandwich are the same fabric.  I hope it's not too confusing and I'll try to let you know which side is which along the way.

First, iron your binding strip in half; mine is 2.5" so it's 1 3/4" folded.  On the right side of the quilt, place the raw edge of the binding strip against the raw edge of the quilt with the folded edge toward the middle of the quilt.
Then stitch the binding to the top of the quilt using your favorite seam allowance.  I used a 1/4" seam here.

I like to press my binding to the outside after sewing so I get a nice clean seam on the front side of the quilt.  Do you love my ironing board cover?  I totally made that. 

I used Steam-a-Seam Light.  Cut strips of the SAS the same width of your seam allowance that you used to sew on the binding.

I like to cut a bunch of strips ahead of time so it's quicker to place them.

Then following the SAS directions, carefully pull off the outer paper, and on the backside of the quilt, place the SAS in the seam allowance being careful not to extend the product outside the stitch line.  Press it on with your fingers.

And pull off the outer paper strip.

Now, VERY CAREFULLY fold the binding over so it lands just outside the stitching line by no more than 1/8".  I like to follow my fingers with the iron.  Don't burn yourself!

And TA-DA!!  Look at this perfectly "bound" binding!  Y'all, this is the BACK of the binding where I just used SAS.  It's totally flat and you can easily make pretty precise mitered corners.

Now for the Sewing Magic surprise I promised.  I have to admit, I didn't think of this.  I took a Craftsy class for The Machine Embroidered Quilt by Eileen Roche (can you tell I'm addicted to Craftsy just a tiny bit?) and she mentioned doing passing.  Seriously, she mentioned it in passing.  Like it was no big deal and blah blah whatever.  But when she said it, I was like DING!

What you need is the Blindstitch Foot for your machine and you need the kind that has a little flange fin thingy on the bottom of it.  I have a Brother machine but this foot will fit any low shank machine with a drop foot feature.  (They just don't advertise it that way so sellers are not liable, but my friends with a Singer and Janome use it too).  If you don't have this foot, or can't use it, you can still stitch-in- the-ditch (STID) without it.

Inside of this foot is a little piece of metal that has a groove in it that bumps out to the right. 

On the front of the quilt, you want to position the lower fin of the foot exactly on the seam and start your needle on the left (inside) side of the little groove.  This groove will push the binding over just a hair and consequently will produce a beautiful stitch-in-the-ditch.

Go slowly to make sure the needle doesn't decide to take a detour to the right of the groove.  If it does, no biggie, just give the quilt a tiny tug to the right and the needle will go back to the left of the groove.  When you're finished, here's what the front of the binding will look like.  Seriously, is that perfect or what?  Yes, I mean the binding, not my FMQ with a flat (or two).

And here's the back.  Can you believe this???

This was my first attempt on a real quilt.  Below, the purple/pink/purple is the front of the quilt.

Here's the back.

Here's a mitered corner and you can tell I should have taken another stitch or two toward the join. Oh well, live and learn.  You can see over on the right side of the image where I wasn't paying attention and the fin drifted off to the right a bit while I was STID.  But even so, it's really no big deal for a quilt that will probably be used to tote dolls or drag the dog around.  Pay no attention to my crappy  FMQ in the purple border.  Me and Lizzie are still getting acquainted.  Again, it's me, not her.

Well there it is!  Hope you try this and I hope you are like me and make it your new favorite machine binding method.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

A New Blog Post Three Years Later

Holy moly, where did the time years go?  I've been beyond MIA and have wanted to get back to blogging forever.  My day job took off and went in a whole 'nother direction that has me learning new things every day and has become a true challenge.  And well... I love it.  Not as much as sewing of course!  Here's what's been going on in my sewing world since 2012.

The "little bug" (my grandson) in my first post back in 2012 is now almost 4 and has a baby sister who is 14 months.  Of course, I had to make her nursery and birthday banner.

My Grandbabies
My grandbaby girl is a Christmas Baby so I made her birthday banner from Sugar Rush by Dan Morris for RJR Fabrics.  I thought this darling fabric would not only capture the season but it's also not so kiddy-Christmas that it will be perfect to put up for her teen birthdays as well.
My quilting skills have broken the boundaries and I'm nearly finished with my first commissioned quilt.  I'm working on a Crown Royal quilt (more on that in another post) that is at the quilter's now for long-arming.  It took 113 large CR bags and was an albatross.  I sewed everywhere I could - even with hubs and his buddies on a dove hunt.  Yes, I drink and sew simultaneously.  It's called being a multi-tasker.  Hey, don't judge.  If you had any idea about my day job...

This beast is king size:  104" x 104"
This is actually my 2nd CR quilt - my first being a lap size for a co-worker and it was a gift since I wasn't sure what I was doing.  It fell apart on the long arm from miniscule seams, it required tucks in the inner border because it wasn't square and rippled like crazy on the long arm frame.  I mis-measured my fabric so the horizontal sashing is narrower than the vertical sashing.  In short, it was a disaster.  And he loved it.  I warned him not to wash it and added a hanging sleeve to the back.

This time around, I used a Quilt in a Day Flying Geese Ruler which was a total game changer.  The lady who is quilting it said it lays perfectly on the frame without any ripples.  Excuse me, are those PERFECT points on those blocks?  Why yes, yes they are thank you very much.  The sashing is a discontinued RJR print I had to scrounge from multi quilt shops across two states and the backing is a Hoffman batik called Vegas Purple.
My sewing room blew up and gave birth to an embroidery machine.  It went from this:

To this.  Gad, I've GOT to lose that horrible swag over the window and replace it with the cute sewing room fabric I bought.  Don't you L-O-V-E that hanging ruler stand hubs made for me?  He thought it was so big that I'd have lots of spaces left to fill it up.  Ha...silly man.
I'm currently on a quest to successfully embroider a quilt so that it looks like it was done on a professional long arm.  This was done on my Brother PE770 Embroidery Machine using the End-to-end quilting technique by Amelie Scott Designs.  I'll do another post on that technique soon.

While not sewing related, this my new Sewing Retreat.  Hubs and I bought our own 4 bedroom/2 bath "wheel-estate" on a quarter acre on the Texas Gulf Coast and we spent the summer of '14 gutting and remodeling the interior.  I'm a tile-setter!  Who knew?  (YouTube is a wonderful thing...You can learn anything on YouTube).  That's our RV behind it where we stayed during the remodel.  Of course I put a sewing machine down there immediately.  He bay fishes and I sew in peace.  The previous owner's business sign is now gone from the fence and the place is receiving fresh exterior paint this week - a soft yellow with dark blue/gray shutters.  The project this spring will be to put an awning over the deck.  We broke into our retirement plans to purchase this outright.  I actually own this little piece of Texas.  Paid.  In.  Full.  It's right across the street from a neighborhood full of half million dollar homes with wet slips.  Location, location, location.  Maybe one day Valero will buy it to put up a gas station and I can retire and sew full time.  A girl can dream!

I went to the 2014 Houston Quilt Fest and met my quilting and sewing heroes.  I had to get pics and autographs like the dork I am.  This wonderful lady, Jenny Doan from Missouri Star Quilt Company, unknowingly taught me how to quilt starting back in 2011 with her online videos.  She changed my world and has cost me an ENORMOUS amount of money.  Ha!  But hey, you can't take it with you right?
And if Angela Wolf is teaching a Craftsy class, I'm enrolled.  I just love her teaching style.   I've bought her jeans pattern too so they are in my sewing queue.
And while I was at the show, I bought a Tin Lizzie long arm sit down machine that I'm just now beginning to get the hang of.  When they say "Practice, practice" it's the truth.  Right now I'm still learning to draw with thread and attempting stippling and pantographs.  I'm bound and determined to finish my own quilts but not having an artistic bone in my body makes it tough.  Being more analytical than artistic (left brained), I don't possess the ability to visualize a design from nothing to something, but I sure can follow a pattern, copy, and trace!  My mom kept all the artsy-fartsy genes for herself and passed none of them down to me.  So I spend a lot of time with practice quilt sandwiches just doodling and attempting to follow drawn lines.  Discovering the loop-de-loop method was heaven sent!

So that's it!  You're all caught up.  I plan to post regularly now and add my sewing adventures to the blog world.  Thanks for spending the time!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Football Season!

One of my best friends, Dana, has a daughter, Michelle, and both Michelle and her husband went to Texas A&M (gag - I'm a UT Longhorn).  Well they bought season tickets for all the home games (waste of money ha ha) and Michelle absolutely must deck her Little Miss out in total A&M garb.  Of course, I'm more than happy to oblige any opportunity to sew...even if my machine nearly died with that maroon fabric in it.  I've purchased some additional fabric that's in the wash right now to pre-shrink that will be an adorable dress.  Can't wait to knock that out this weekend!

Here she is modeling the Simple Skirt from  This was SO easy and it turned out perfect.

My first attempt at the bloomers had them too small so I had to make another set.  This time I borrowed a pair of Little Miss's bloomers that did fit for a pattern.  You know it's such a scandal to have your diaper show out from under your skirt!
A friend mentioned that I might make the sides of the bloomer deeper from above the ruffle to the waist to cover the entire diaper because the diapers are so tall.  Never thought of that and I'll have to play around with the pattern to see if I can make it work.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Giving this a go!

Okie, dokie.  I'm a blogger!  WooHoo! enough of that.

I'm not real sure why people have a propensity to put parts of their lives out on the web but they do - I do - and so here I go.

I love to sew, addicted to it really.  I really enjoy home dec and making baby clothes because babies don't care if the seams look wonky.  (Yes, that's a word).  I'm pretty good at repairing things like zippers, buttons, hems, etc. and after 20 years in the Air Force, I'm a master at sewing on patches! 

So people look at blogs to see pictures, right?  This is the Pinwheel Baby Quilt from Moda Bake Shop and I made it for my grandson this summer using "I Spy 10 Little Things" from Moda Fabrics.  Adorable if I do say so myself and my little bug seemed to love it too!  I chose a brown for the backing and binding so it could stand up to being drug around and survive the grunge.  This little quilt could only be so lucky as to be drug around by a toddler.  What love!  I quilted using an echo and SITD.  I'm about ready to begin trying to free-motion, but I'm not quite brave enough yet.