2 questions before you sew binding by machine

Welcome back to my FIVE bobbin sewing challenge. I’m using the Husqvarna Viking Opal 690Q to see how much sewing I can get done with five bobbins. Yesterday it was all about making binding – I made five bindings. Today it’s about sewing the bindings to the quilts and sewing on a hanging sleeve.

I can’t wait to show you so let’s get started!

If you want to preview the other posts I did a while back – check out A is for Applique and also this post on Decorative Stitches on the Opal 690Q

Husqvarna Viking Opal 690Q

As you saw in yesterday’s post, I’ve assembled all my tools and supplies that I’m going to need. I sorted out the projects, prepped the Opal 690Q and wound five bobbins. After making the five bindings, I wasn’t anywhere near using up one bobbin. I did cheat a bit by using a black bobbin to sew that black binding onto the fleece quilt.

Today, I’m cheating a little bit again as I need to use brown thread to sew on the brown binding. I’m OK with that. I set this challenge for myself and I was on a roll, it meant a little extra sewing but got a project finished, all the better!

The binding for this next project was made yesterday and I just happened to have the quilt sitting here, trimmed and ready for the binding.

I normally make my bindings when I finish the quilt top and way before it gets quilted. Sometimes, deadlines don’t always allow everything to be completed when I would like them to be. In this case, I serged the edge of the quilt so it wouldn’t get ragged while it waited for the binding. Normally a quilt wouldn’t get a ragged edge while sitting in the studio, but this quilt has traveled and the edges needed to be neat for the show n tell.

I’m going to chat about that serged edge later in this post. The big question is, “does it make a difference in applying the binding?”

Next project – sew the binding onto this quilt

Making a hanging sleeve

The quilt is actually a wall hanging and I want to put a hanging sleeve on it. Since I’ll be machine stitching the binding on, I need to put the hanging sleeve on before I sew the binding on.

The first step in making a hanging sleeve is to measure the width of the quilt. Then I subtract 2″ and divide the remainder by 2. i.e. The quilt is 40″ wide, subtract 2″ to get 38″, divide that by 2 to get 19″. Each half of the quilt sleeve is cut to 19″.

I split my hanging sleeve into two parts so the center is open. If I’m using one hook on the wall or I need a support if the quilt is large, I can easily get to the hanging rod without dealing with the hanging sleeve.

Unless the quilt is small, I cut my strips 8½” wide. The strips get folded in half and this width provides a nice sized hanging sleeve to accommodate most sizes of poles used at quilt shows or the curtain rod that I use to hang my quilts.

Hem the short ends of both hanging sleeves. I press under ¼” first and then stitch – with my gray thread!

Hem the short ends of both sections of the hanging sleeve

Fold the hanging sleeve in half along the long edge. Note that I don’t have the two raw edges even. One side is shorter than the other by about ½”. Make this edge fairly straight. If you’re having trouble gauging the distance, use a piece of card stock and draw a line for a guide. Insert the card stock between the two layers and use it as a template. Label that piece of card stock so you know what it’s for and since I make all my hanging sleeves the same width, you can reuse it over and over again as a guide. Personally, I judge the ½” by eye.

Press the fold with the iron to get a nice crease. If you’re working with a directional print, make sure when you do the step above that when you flip the sleeve over, the images are running right side up. It’ll become clearer as we move on, but the shorter side of the sleeve is the back of the sleeve.

Fold the sleeve in half, leaving the long raw edges offset by ½”.

Next, take the two long raw edges and line them up with the top of the quilt. Center the two sleeves leaving about 1″ on either side at the edges. The shorter side of the sleeve will be next to the quilt backing. The longer side will be facing out. What happens to that longer edge? Notice the bump that’s created (see where the arrow is pointing?)  That allows for the thickness of the hanging pole and helps to eliminate a bump from forming on the front of the quilt. If you look at quilts hanging in a show, you should be able to tell those that have this extra space in the hanging sleeve and those that don’t!

The “bump” in the hanging sleeve faces OUT to accommodate the hanging pole

Below, you can see that the hanging sleeve is positioned about 1″ from the edge of the quilt.

Hanging sleeve is positioned about 1″ from the edge of the quilt

My normal piecing stitch length is 2.0, but now I’m going through a lot of layers; quilt top, quilt backing, two layers of quilt sleeve and the batting. I use the Sewing Advisor on the Opal 690Q to select WOVEN HEAVY sewing and it’s recommending I use a stitch length of 3.0. I’m good with that as I really just need to baste that sleeve in place.

Choose WOVEN HEAVY from the Sewing Advisor and get a longer stitch length

I use my Dual Feed foot (the walking foot) to attach bindings. I find that I get a smoother feed, with less work on my part. Plus the last thing I want is a wonky binding. The walking foot helps to feed the quilt and the binding through at an even pace.

Walking foot is used to sew on the binding

The walking foot also helps to ensure that those two layers of the hanging sleeve don’t get stretched. It’s always nice to have the two edges line up perfectly when you get to the end of the seam.

The walking foot prevents the two layers of hanging sleeve from stretching

Use a narrow (a scant ¼”) seam allowance

Hanging sleeve is sewn on with a narrow seam allowance

Now it’s time to actually sew on the binding. The initial step of sewing the binding onto the quilt top is the same, except that you sew the binding onto the BACK of the quilt, not the front. At least that’s how I’ve been able to get it to look acceptable.

Sew the binding onto the BACK of the quilt top

I use a very generous ¼” for this step. The seam is more like ⅜”. This seam allowance is totally dependent on the width of the binding strips that you started with. The key here is to sew about 6″.

Remove the quilt from the sewing machine and pull that binding over to the front. Does it cover the seam line stitching on the front and is the binding full of the quilt? If yes to both questions, continue with that seam allowance. If not, then you have to make the seam allowance wider or narrower. Test again until you get it right! That is one of the key steps to making the binding look amazing. There shall be no limp or empty bindings in my house!

I’m very particular about my bindings and YES, I do check this on other people’s quilts. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

Binding is sewn on the quilt with a generous seam allowance

We talked about that serged edge. Did it help? It was nice to have all three layers secured together so no danger of any shifting which sometimes occurs at the corners. I was more afraid that the serged seam would show to the front, but you can see above that my generous seam allowance took care of that and the entire serged edge was encased within the binding.

As for thread color, I did switch to brown for the bobbin and the top when I sewed the binding on, but when I went to sew the next step, I put my gray back in the bobbin.

Here’s another tip – if you have put a hanging sleeve on your quilt, there will be that extra fullness at the top. Not a bad idea to pin that fullness away from the binding.  Look what happened as I merrily stitched the next step. Yep – goog thing that seam ripper was close at hand.

The fullness of the hanging sleeve got caught in the binding stitching

Once that binding is on the back of the quilt, I flip the quilt over and start to stitch the binding in place in the front. This can be tricky and I don’t have it perfected. I do use a matching thread (more or less in the bobbin). In this case, I used gray thread in the bobbin and brown on top.

You can see that I still need some practice in perfecting that stitch as some of the stitching went onto the binding and not on the backing. I need to pull that binding over a bit more on the top as I’m stitching. You can feel that edge on the front of the quilt.

This is where it’s important to keep those seams STRAIGHT when sewing on the binding.

I remember sewing this thinking how valuable the sense of touch is when sewing. We don’t realize it, but I use touch all the time when I sew. Are my seams nested? I touch to find out. Is the binding full? Touch to find out. I hadn’t thought of that before.

Binding is now sewn on by machine – a few wonky spots

An observation about the Opal 690Q. The feed dog mechanism is amazing. I normally have to put on quilting gloves to give me extra grip when sewing the binding to a quilt, but I had no issues with this quilt. Even when I put the binding on that huge fleece quilt from yesterday, I didn’t need gloves. That was an unexpected bonus. The Opal 690Q just fed that quilt through the sewing machine like it was tissue paper.

As we get older, that’s a very important feature!

In the pile of projects, I had a couple of small wall hangings that needed a bit of quilting and the bindings put on.

I cheated again on the bobbin thread by using a prewound bobbin which worked like a charm in the Opal 690Q. I used a lightweight thread for the top so the quilting stitches wouldn’t be visible. I did put a size 60/8 needle in the sewing machine as I try to match the needle size to the thread size.

Bobbin weight thread used in the top and bobbin for invisible quilting

Again, I chose WOVEN HEAVY for the fabric type, but I did decrease the stitch length to 2.5. I didn’t want the stitches too large and my thread was very fine. I could easily get away with a stitch length of 2.5.

You can tell from the photo below that I’m off the default setting as the box surrounding the stitch length number is highlighted. The stitch width of 0.0 is not highlighted. I love knowing that.

Stitch length set to 2.5

I did a little bit of stitch in the ditch with the Interchangeable Dual Feed foot. There are several different styles of presser feet that you can use. In this instance, I was using the open foot which allows me to clearly see where I need to stitch.

Stitch in the ditch with the Interchangeable Dual Feed Foot

What I LOVE are those perfectly formed stitches on the back. There’s nothing like sitting down at the sewing machine and have such beautiful stitches without changing a bunch of settings. I don’t mind ripping out if I made a mistake, but if I have to rip because the tension was off – well that’s not pretty!

Beautifully formed quilting stitches using bobbin weight thread top and bobbin

Time to put on the binding. OK – I cheated a bit again as I needed red thread to sew on the binding. I found a couple of partially wound bobbins in my bobbin case so I used those.

Two red bobbins to stitch down the binding

I even used one of the bobbins as my top thread. I used a spool cap to secure it in place and it worked like a regular spool of thread.

Using a bobbin on the top instead of a spool of thread

I want to mention how handy all the functions are on the Opal 690Q. They’re at your finger tips, there’s the Needle Up/Down, the Fix, the Scissors, and so much more. All you have to do is raise your hand to operate the function. It doesn’t get any handier than this. I use the FIX to anchor my stitches when I get to the corner of the binding.

Remember to check out all these features and functions from my earlier post on the Opal 690Q.

And here’s another post all about applique on the Opal 690Q. I was really going to do some applique this time, but I just didn’t have time during the 5 bobbin challenge.

Function panel is very handy when you’re sewing

Now here’s a situation where that quilter’s awl comes in very handy. You see how that corner of the binding is bunching up?

The corner of the binding is bunching up

I can raise the presser foot to its highest position, then use the quilter’s awl to control that seam in the corner. Once I fold that binding and it’s where I want it to be, I hold everything in place with the quilter’s awl. Only once in almost 20 years of sewing have I broken a needle by hitting the quilter’s awl. This tool is INVALUABLE.

Another tip that works great for the corners. Once the needle goes through the binding that is folded up for the corner, I pivot the work which is very easy since my presser foot lifts when I stop because I’ve engaged the Needle Stop Up/Down and using the sensor foot technology. So while I’m holding my work in place, the machine is helping me by raising the presser foot.

Once the work is pivoted, I take an extra stitch in place (easy to do – just hold onto the work to prevent it from moving.) This helps to form a nice stitch in the corner. Then I continue on sewing the binding down.

Use the quilter’s awl to hold the work in place while you stitch

Changing the bobbin thread on this one to cream as the backing is cream.

Red thread for the top and cream for the bobbin

Beautifully stitched corner

Beautifully stitched back side

I was on a roll. As much as I hate to admit it, putting the binding on by machine isn’t so bad after all. But you really need to play around as there are so many ways to do it. It has taken a bit of experimenting with different stitches in order to find something that worked for me.

And just when I thought I had everything down perfect, look what I did. On the second small piece, I sewed the binding to the FRONT, not the back. Oh well, that one will have to be hand stitched down. I wasn’t ripping it out!

Oh I sewed the binding to the front, not the back

That wraps up another fun day with the Husqvarna Viking Opal 690Q and the FIVE bobbin sewing challenge.

Come back tomorrow where I’ll continue to work through that stack of projects with the Opal 690Q. I’m really liking this challenge and can’t wait to see what gets sewn next.

And dare I ask how your challenge is coming along?

Have a great day!


This is part 2 of 5 in this series.
Go back to part 1:  The FIVE bobbin sewing challenge

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1 comment

jeannie zimmerman April 3, 2017 - 3:48 pm
Thanks for the great photos. This is the method I use to machine bind my quilts, but the corners still bother me at times. This helps me!
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