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How to face a quilt in 12 easy steps

 

Once the quilting is done the next step is to finish the edges. I could use the traditional method of binding a quilt to finish this piece but I have run out of the brown fabric. I could use one of the printed fabrics but I don’t really want to frame the piece, I just want it to run off the page so to say and it needs either brown binding to do that or another method of finishing. Instead of binding I’m going to face my quilt which will give me that run off the page look I want. Follow along with me and learn how to face a quilt in 12 easy steps.

And the other reason I’m facing this quilt is because I have ‘jut outs’ on the border. I couldn’t just do the quilt with simple straight borders, oh no they had to be fancy and artistic. Makes life interesting. If I did want to bind this quilt I would definitely have to use bias binding to get around all the corners.

For the purpose of this post I’m facing a small piece so you can see the steps and finished project easily. This piece was originally on a frame which I took it off of and now need to finish the edges. Aren’t the colors wonderful – spring has sprung in my studio!

 

Facing complete on pink dahlia quilt - a dash of spring color
Facing complete on pink dahlia quilt – a dash of spring color

 

Facing a quilt

I do suggest using a fabric close to the same color as the edge of the quilt so that the facing blends in with the front of the quilt. I usually try and have a backing that matches the front as well but not this time.

Step 1 Square off all edges of excess batting and backing.

Step 2 Measure all the vertical sides of the quilt. Cut each piece 4″ by the vertical measurement.

 

Measuring the vertical edge before cutting
Measuring the vertical edge before cutting

 

Step 3 Measure all the horizontal sides of the quilt. Cut each piece 4″ by the horizontal measurement plus 3″. The reason this piece is cut longer is because the ends are tucked under for the final finishing and stitching on the back.

Step 4 Fold all pieces in half with the wrong sides together and press. I use steam when pressing these pieces to get a nice crisp fold line. By the way, this mini travel GO IRON is deceivingly powerful!

 

Press in half - wrong sides together
Press in half – wrong sides together

 

Step 5 Place the vertical pieces along the vertical edges of the front side of the quilt with the raw edges meeting. I pin these in place with flower head pins.

 

Facing pieces pinned to front of quilt
Facing pieces pinned to front of quilt

 

Step 6 Sew the strips in place with a ¼″ seam allowance. Make sure to use matching thread to the fabric in the top and bobbin. You will see why in Step 8.

 

Facing pieces attached with a ¼″ seam in matching thread
Facing pieces attached with a ¼″ seam in matching thread

 

Step 7 Press the facing strips towards the edge of the quilt so that they hang over.

 

Press facing pieces over edge of quilt
Press facing pieces over edge of quilt

 

Step 8 Turn the quilt over and from the back sew an ⅛″ seam between the edge of the quilt and the ¼″ seam just sewn. This is the stay stitching and will help create an edge to the quilt as the facing is pressed to the back of the quilt. The stitching will be seen on the back of the quilt so this is why you want the thread to match the fabric.

 

Sewing the stay stitch
Sewing the stay stitch

 

Step 9 Press the facing to the back of the quilt. Use a hot steam iron for a nice smooth edge.

 

Press facing to back of quilt
Press facing to back of quilt

 

Step 10 Hand sew the facing to the back of the quilt. The vertical facing needs to be sewn down prior to the horizontal facing being attached.

 

Hand sew facing to back of quilt
Hand sew facing to back of quilt

 

Step 11 Repeat steps 5 – 9 for the horizontal facing strips. Make sure to center the facing strip on the horizontal edges so there is equal amounts hanging over each end.

 

Horizontal pieces pinned to quilt
Horizontal pieces pinned to quilt

 

Step 12 Hand sew the facing in place and fold the extra fabric under to create a finished edge with no raw edges showing. If the piece is small I don’t sew this folded edge to the quilt rather I leave it open so I can put a hanging rod in through the opening. But if it’s a larger quilt I’ll put a proper hanging sleeve on with a pleat.

 

Facing sewn in place on back
Facing sewn in place on back

 

My piece is going to take a little bit longer to do the facing than this one did because I have a few more edges with all the jut outs but at least those jut out pieces are small so won’t take long to sew in place. All in all, my piece will have 10 vertical facings and 10 horizontal facings. This piece will definitely need a hanging sleeve if it’s to go on a wall. I think it would make a nice table cloth.

There you have it, facing a quilt in 12 easy steps which is just as easy as binding but the facing gives the piece a totally different finish and look.

Happy Quilting

This is part 3 of 5 in this series.
Go back to part 2:  7 critical questions before quilting a quilt
Go to part 4:  Fabric Fun markers improve your 5 quilt label essentials

 

Jennifer runs Quilts by Jen, a fantastic educational resource for quilters with many great free tutorials ranging from how to choose fabrics, understanding the value of fabrics, pressing, building Bargello runs, pinning, binding, sandwiching, couching, quilting, and much more. Check them out!

7 Comments

  1. Karen

    Thanks for the tutorial. I have been wanting to try a wall hanging and never thought of finishing this way.

  2. Kathy E.

    Thank you for this tutorial and especially, the photos to match. I’d never thought of facing a small quilt this way. Very clever!

  3. Pauline Perry

    Thanks for the tutorial on facing a quilt – I like the clean edge and will try it on my next wall hanging.
    Pauline

  4. Oh WOW…I never knew there was such a thing as “facing” a quilt! Thank you so much for the tutorial on how to do it. I will be printing this out and adding it to my “techniques” folder as I am sure I will be using it soon!

    • You are most welcome Linda. Facing a quilt gives it a totally different look and is perfect for art quilts. Happy Quilting Jen

  5. Frani

    Nice way to finish a quilt, thanks for the tips! I will try it for my wall hanging quilt

    • Great Frani, it is a perfect way to finish a wall hanging. Happy Quilting Jen

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