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Quilting options for a Banyan Classics rail fence quilt

by Michael Smith

Yesterday, I cut and sewed the rail fence blocks and placed them on the design wall so I could see the quilt come to life. The Banyan Classics fabrics make a very striking quilt, don’t you think? I just love the color palette!

Whether you finish your quilt yourself on your domestic sewing machine or have it professionally quilted on a longarm quilting machine, you have many options for the quilting design which will hold the three layers of the quilt sandwich together. Here is my design thought process.

Choosing a design

When choosing a quilting design, I generally like to juxtapose the piecing in the quilt top. For example, since this quilt top is pieced with straight lines, I auditioned quilting designs which were curvy; circular, or, think of a vine or wave. What I wanted to avoid was a design which was angular and may have competed with the piecing. I didn’t want to quilt a series of parallel lines, for example, as that may have drawn attention to some less-than-straight piecing in my strips. You realize this is for example only. I always sew my seams perfectly straight. (ahem!)

As well, since I wanted to showcase the gorgeous Banyan Classics fabrics, I chose a big, open design; something not too intricate or dense to steal the spotlight. The focus was on the fabric, not the quilting.

I also wanted to keep the feel of the quilt more masculine, so I avoided anything too flowery or dainty. To me, the prints and color palette have a modern feel to them, so I kept the quilting design simple; more graphic, less busy.

Curvy, fluid quilting designs soften the linear peicing. The quilting is spread further apart to showcase the beautiful fabrics from the NEW Banyan Batiks Banyan Classics Collections. Free rail fence quil

Big, curvy quilting design complements the rigid geometry of the piecing.

Lastly, I personally like quilts with very little quilting on it; they just feel more-cuddly to me. I know, that sounds weird given I have a longarm quilting business and quilt for a living, but the type of quilting I do for my clients isn’t always the type of quilting I do for myself. It depends. Ultimately, it’s your quilt, so you quilt it, or have it quilted however you like.

The same goes for thread color. Because of the color palette of the Banyan Classics Collection, you might choose to quilt your quilt with black or white thread. That was my first thought, too, but, after I auditioned each, I thought each a bit too stark; they stuck out too much, for my liking. You may feel differently, and that’s totally okay.

Another thought is to add a splash of colorful thread; perhaps a fiery red, my favorite color! Again, I thought that would stand out more than I wanted because, again, my focus was to highlight the fabric, not the quilting. Instead, I choose to use a neutral, soft off-white, 60wt thread, which meant it practically disappeared into the fabric. Perfect!


Binding is one of my favorite parts of the quilt-making process because it means I’m in the home stretch; my quilt is almost done and ready to enjoy.

You have a few options for binding:

Option 1: cut strips from the leftover fabric you cut off from around your quilt when you square it up, OR Option 2: cut strips from the assortment of fabrics leftover from cutting your strips and piece them together for a scrappy binding.

Initially, I had planned to do Option 1 but changed my mind last minute and decided to do Option 2 instead. Isn’t it wonderful? It’s your quilt so YOU have the power to do as you choose.

Place strips right sides together and

Every bit of the beautiful Banyan Batiks Banyan Classics Collections is used in this classic rail fence quilt. Leftover strips are pieced together for a scrappy binding. Free rail fence quilt pattern

Place strips right sides together and sew a diagonal seam to piece binding together.

Trim seam allowances to ¼" and trim off corners for a Banyan Classics Collection scrappy binding.

Trim seam allowance to approximately ¼”, trim off corners.

Regardless of which option you choose, your next decision will be HOW to bind your quilt. There are loads of good suggestions in Elaine’s article, Binding a quilt, and many YouTube videos on the subject, but, basically, you’ll decide if you’ll finish your binding by hand or machine.

I have a very slick, nifty attachment for my brand of the sewing machine which allows me to finish my bindings very quickly in one step, so ask your brand’s dealer what they may have available to help make the process quicker and easier. In my case, I cut my strips 2″ wide, but typical binding is usually 2¼” to 2½”  wide. However, some quilters prefer to cut their binding strips 3″ wide, so again, the choice is yours.

We're in the home stretch using the sewing machine to bind this quick and easy rail fence quilt from the beautiful NEW Banyan Classics Collection.

Binding a quilt is quick and easy when done by machine.

There’s nothing better on a cool fall evening, or, when you’re stuck on the sofa sick with the flu than snuggling up with a quilt you made yourself or by someone who loves you.

Done! Now, wasn’t that easy!?

Enjoy your beautiful rail fence quilt. It’ll surely become a classic in your collection, especially when using the beautiful NEW Banyan Batiks Banyan Classics Collection

The finished rail fence quilt using Banyan Batiks Banyan Classics Collection - free pattern!

The finished rail fence quilt using Banyan Batiks Banyan Classics Collection

This is part 5 of 5 in this series.
Go back to part 4: It’s hip to be square! Cutting and sewing rail fence blocks

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Leslie S Kelly February 23, 2019 - 5:15 pm

This is a great rail fence! It almost looks like shadows or frames. I really love the look. And great choice to use the leftover fabric for the binding. It really adds to the design. I will keep this in mind when I need to make a quick gift. It really is beautiful in these colors.

Michael Smith February 25, 2019 - 1:09 pm

Thank you “sew” much, Leslie! I’m glad you liked the quilt. The Banyan Classics collection really is quite beautiful, isn’t it. I loved making the quilt and want to sew another one, especially with the weather so nasty outside today. Stay warm!

Rhona February 23, 2019 - 3:16 pm

I love the white and white and black with this fabric, just makes the quilt!

Michael Smith February 25, 2019 - 1:13 pm

Thanks for your feedback, Rhona. Yes, aren’t these Banyan Classics fabrics beautiful!? So striking!

Heather Sundstrom February 23, 2019 - 10:39 am

I love this. Okie combination.

Michael Smith February 25, 2019 - 1:14 pm

Thank you, Heather!


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