Welcome back to another super exciting week of tips to make your sewing and quilting easier and better! Let’s not forget that I’ve got an awesome sewing machine to demonstrate all those tips and tricks with.
This week, I’m having fun with the Husqvarna Viking Designer EPIC, a sewing and embroidery machine. I’ll show you some interesting things from both a sewing perspective and I’m going to play around with some embroidery as well. Really, it’s all about playing and having fun!
I start the week off with another type of binding. This is a great technique if you’re in the habit of sewing your bindings on by machine. Today, it’s all about a binding with the added pop of a little flange.
Let’s jump in and see what it’s all about.
By the way, the quilt that I’m putting this binding on has a lot of green background in it. The binding is the same color as the background and I thought the flange would be a perfect way to pop out the colors in the blocks of the quilt. You’ll see the quilt at the end of the post.
Step 1 – Cut the binding strips
After you’ve chosen your binding fabric and the accent (flange) fabric, you’re ready to cut the binding strips.
To calculate the number of strips required, I’ve outlined here THE formula for calculating the necessary yardage for binding your quilt so please pop over there to work out the numbers.
The flange (red) fabric is cut 1½” wide by the width of fabric (WOF) and the binding (green) is cut 1¼” by WOF.
Notice there is ¼” difference between the two strip widths. This will produce a flange that’s ⅛” wide. You can easily change the width of your binding (this formula will produce a binding that is 2¼” wide), just keep the flange ¼” larger than the binding fabric. If you want a smaller (or larger) flange, then adjust the difference between the two strip widths.
That’ll make a whole lot more sense when you see how the binding is created so bear with me.
Step 2 – Join the strips
Now that all the strips are cut, it’s time to join them together. You need to join all the flange strips together to create one long strip. I like to use a diagonal seam as that reduces bulk in the binding.
I don’t bother to cut off the selvages before I join the strips, and you can see that I’ve overlapped the ends. I have two reasons for that overlap. When I trim the seam, the selvages will be trimmed off, but more importantly, those overlaps allow me to more easily see where to stop and start my diagonal seam.
I’ve covered joining the seams in a bit more detail in my post, Binding a Quilt. Let’s just say that I’ve written a lot about bindings!
I used a ruler to draw a line and I pin the strips together. If you don’t want to, you don’t have to. I know lots of people eyeball this seam as those strips are only 1½” wide. It’s just that I like to be consistent so I always do it this way. Call me ‘set in my ways’!
Then I sewed those diagonal seams together on the Designer EPIC. Notice that the embroidery unit is still attached to the machine. I was doing some embroidery, but I needed to stitch these seams together. I love the fact that we don’t have to take off the embroidery unit to sew. Now if I were sewing something large, I would remove the embroidery unit as I don’t want to damage it.
Once the seams are sewn on the diagonal, trim away the excess leaving a ¼” seam allowance. You’ll be trimming the selvages away at the same time.
Press the seams open to reduce bulk. I don’t bother to trim off the dog ears.
Once you’re done with the flange strips, repeat the process with the 1¼” binding strips.
When you’re done, you’ll have two long skinny strips of fabric – one that’ll become the flange and the other is the binding.
Step 3 – Sew the flange to the binding
It’s time to sew the two long strips together. My two strips (I’m using Northcott Banyan Batiks in my example) happen to be the same length. I don’t want the two joins to fall in the exact same place where they’ll create unnecessary bulk so I’m going to offset the end of the strips by about 2”.
Sew the two long strips together using an accurate and consistent ¼” seam allowance.
You can see in the photo below that the seams of the two strips are offset so they don’t create unnecessary bulk when the binding is attached to the quilt.
Step 4 – Pressing the binding
Carefully press the seam towards the binding fabric. It’s best to do this from the FRONT of the binding to prevent tucks from occurring along the seam. Make sure you don’t distort the binding – in other words, try to keep the seam straight as you press the length of the binding.
Then you’re going to press the binding in half with wrong sides together. Keep those long raw edges even. See how that flange just peaks over the edge of the binding? My flange measures about ⅛” but as I mentioned, if you want that flange a wee bit narrower, then reduce the difference between the two strip widths to perhaps 3/16″.
Do some experimenting and see what you come up with.
In the photo below, you can see how both ends of my binding were offset to prevent the diagonal seams of the joins from sitting beside each other.
Wind the binding strip. If you want to see how to wind your binding like this figure eight, you can check it out in my earlier blog post, Binding a Quilt.
Be careful when you wind the binding as you want to have the appropriate end ready to start sewing. With regular binding, it doesn’t matter which end you start with, but with the flange, it’s important which end you start with. You’ll see what I mean in a minute.
Step 5 – Sew the binding to the quilt
The process of sewing a binding with a flange to a quilt is the same as if you were sewing a regular binding to a quilt. There is ONE exception and that is which end of the binding strip to start with. To review the process of starting, turning corners, etc. I’ll refer you once again to my post, Binding a Quilt for more details.
Remember we’ll be stitching this binding to the front of the quilt with the Designer EPIC, therefore we’ll start by sewing the binding to the back of the quilt. This is the same way we would sew a regular binding to a quilt if both sides will be sewn by sewing machine.
So which end of the binding do you start with? In the photo below, you can see that I start with the end where the binding (green) will be touching the back of the quilt. If I started with the other end, I would only be able to see the flange fabric when I flipped the binding to the front of the quilt. Don’t believe me? Try it!
A note of CAUTION. This binding with the flange measures 2¼” wide. The binding that I normally make is 2½” wide. I had to adjust my seam allowance to compensate for the difference in width. This is CRITICAL. If you’re not sure what seam allowance to use, make a sample or play around until you know that the width is correct. Stitch a few inches and remove the quilt from under the presser foot and test the width. Is it OK? If so, keep going. If not – adjust it!
I used my Quilter’s ¼” Piecing Foot to stitch both sides of the binding and it worked like a charm. Remember to put a little bit of tension on the binding as you’re sewing it. That helps to prevent a wavy edge to your quilt. Notice that I was sewing slight larger than a ¼” seam allowance but not by much.
I should mention that I removed the embroidery unit from the Designer EPIC. I didn’t want that quilt falling onto the embroidery arm and potentially damaging it. I put the extension table onto the sewing machine and I LOVE how the quilt just glides over that beautifully curved edge.
Notice that the figure eight of binding just sits right there on the edge of the table. No twisted binding and no gadget to remember to use (or find). I’ve used this method for countless bindings and I just love easy and simple it is to bind a quilt.
Now that the binding is sewn to the back of the quilt, it’s time to stitch it onto the front of the quilt. This is where the flange does its second job (the first is to add a pop of color to the front of the quilt). Essentially, I’m stitching in the ditch between the flange and the binding.
Set up the sewing machine with a thread that matches the quilt backing in the bobbin. And for the top thread, you want one that matches the flange.
Carefully stitch in the ditch between the flange and the binding. I covered in detail how to get those mitered corners just right.
When you pull that binding to the front of the quilt, make sure that you pull it over so that the stitching in the ditch will cover the existing line of stitching that was created when you sewed the binding to the back of the quilt. No one wants to peek under your flange and see a line of stitching there.
Now we have a gorgeous binding with a pop of color in the flange to accent the fish in the quilt.
Doing a binding this way takes a bit more time in the prep work, but the end result is so worth it.
Having a fast sewing machine like the Husqvarna Viking Designer EPIC makes this job a whole lot easier and faster. Not only the speed but the penetration power of the Designer EPIC makes quick work of stitching that binding in place. I had barely started and I was DONE!
A note about the quilt – it is NOT my design. I was asked to test a pattern for a designer. This is the finished product. I was waiting for this moment to add that flanged binding. Now to hand-stitch the sleeve and it’s done!
I wanted to say something about thread color. Don’t drive yourself crazy to find a thread that exactly matches your fabrics. I have a drawer of mostly small spools of thread that have collected over the years. Most likely because I was topstitching something or I just liked the color. Who knows how one collects this stuff. Anyway, all the colored spools of thread are in one spot. When I need to choose the thread for the backing or the binding, I open up this drawer and I find the BEST match, not the EXACT match. I’m much more likely to have a BEST match than I am to have an EXACT match. I certainly don’t have time to run to the store each time I need a bit of thread to bind a quilt.
As an example, here’s the color of thread that I used for the bobbin in the final step of the attaching the binding. That is nowhere near an exact match to that backing, but when you run a single strand across the backing, the thread pretty much disappears.
For the remainder of the week, I’ll show you various ways of working with WORDS on your quilts. I’ll be using some of the awesome features of the Husqvarna Viking Designer EPIC. I’ve got some exciting ideas so be sure to come back to see what I’ve got up my sleeve.
Have a great day!
This is part 1 of 5 in this series.
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