Category Archives: single-fold binding

Winterwood: Almost a Wrap

With the holidays fast approaching, I decided it was time to finish the winter version of seasonal wall hangings based on my pattern Season to Taste. This is Winterwood:

I finished the top in June and wrote about the making of it here. If you’re curious about where the name Winterwood came from, you’ll find the explanation in that June post.

Winterwood is quilted very simply with horizontal lines. Unfortunately, I forgot to extend the stitching lines across the borders, and now that the binding is on I’m not entirely happy with the result. I’m going to give it a good press and then decide if I need to add some after-the-fact quilting in the borders.

Winterwood was made to be a wall hanging but I decided to piece the back in such a way that it could double as a holiday table runner:

That’s a 7″ inset circle in the middle. I’m going to make a label using a compact disc as a pattern and put the label on the circle, figuring that I can put a candle or plate on top of the label to hide it. Because the tree fabric is directional, I deliberately arranged it so that the trees go in both directions.

Once this winter version is finished, I’ll show you how it looks with the spring, summer, and fall versions. Do I have a favorite? Why yes, I do. Perhaps you will, too!

 

 

 

Posted in home dec, kaleidoscope quilts, quilt labels, single-fold binding, table runner, update, wall hanging | 1 Comment

In Praise of Single-Fold Binding (A Tutorial of Sorts)

Double-fold quilt binding (also known as French binding) is clearly the standard in quiltmaking. I’m here today to sing the praises of single-fold binding, an option you may not have considered before. Most quilt reference books don’t spend a lot of time on single-fold binding other than to point out its recommended use on quilts with curved or scalloped edges where the goal is less bulk in the binding.

And that’s the one huge advantage of single-fold binding: it’s less bulky, meaning it lies flatter, and that’s especially noticeable on mitered corners. Here’s a look at mitered corners on my latest quilt, Tea Time on High Street:

Nice and flat, right? That makes it a terrific option for art quilts and wall hangings.

It’s also a good choice for quilts that will be gently used or not handled frequently. Think about quilts that come out for display at certain times of the year, usually for special holidays, such as the Fourth of July, Halloween, or Christmas. I used single-fold binding for the first time on my recent quilt ‘Tis the Season, which you can tell by the name is tied to the holiday season:

Are there any disadvantages to single-fold binding? Well, yes. It isn’t as durable, as there are fewer layers of fabric wrapping around the outer edges of the quilt. With double-fold binding, there are four layers of binding on the front of the quilt and two on the back. With single-fold binding, there are two layers of binding fabric on the front and two on the back. That may not seem terribly different but consider that there is only one layer of fabric going around the outside edge of a quilt with single-fold binding whereas with double-fold binding there are two layers.

Another possible disadvantage is that if you were to use light colored binding on a dark quilt or use dark batting, there’s a chance of shadowing on the outside edge of the quilt.

You have to think about how a quilt will be used before deciding on whether to use single-fold or double-fold binding. I would definitely put double-fold binding on a baby quilt, for example, as I would want that quilt to be loved, used, and dragged around by the recipient until it was completely worn out. I would also use double-fold binding on a bed quilt or lap quilt that was going to be laundered frequently. For almost any other quilt, I would consider single-fold binding. If you decide to try single-fold binding on one of your next quilts, I predict you will like it.

The first question you might ask is: what’s the formula for determining the width of binding strips? I consulted three reference books, each of which had a different formula! I think this one is the best:

finished width of binding x 4 + ¼”

— for ¼” finished binding:  cut strips 1¼” (¼” x 4 + ¼”)

— for ⅜” finished binding, cut strips 1¾” (⅜” x 4 + ¼”)

— for ½” finished binding:  cut strips 2¼” (½” x 4 + ¼”)

Caveat:  the loft of the batting can affect this formula so be sure to test on a quilt sandwich made from layered scraps and your batting before cutting binding strips.

The procedure for applying single-fold binding is quite similar to double-fold but there are a few differences. I’m going to walk you through the steps using Tea Time on High Street as an example.

Having decided on ½”-wide binding, I tested on scraps. Much to my surprise, I found that cutting my strips 2″ wide instead of 2¼” and sewing a scant half-inch seam gave me the ½” finished width I wanted. (On a subsequent test using 1¼”-wide strips for a ¼” finished binding, my results were spot on.)

In the photo below, my 2″ wide binding strip is aligned with the raw edges of the quilt, right sides together. I’m using my walking foot, which feeds the layers evenly and allows me to see the needle going in and out of the fabric. I stop stitching about 3″ from the bottom edge of the quilt. . .

. . . and fold the binding strip to the right at a 45˚ angle, making sure the bottom edge of the binding strip is even with the bottom edge of the quilt before finger pressing the crease:

When I open up the binding strip I can see where I finger pressed it. Using a sharp #2 pencil or a removable marking pen, I make a small dot on my stitching line just above the pressed crease:

Then I sew down to that dot, knowing I can go absolutely no farther than the dot before backstitching a few stitches. I can even stop a half-stitch before the dot. I do that to make sure that when I start stitching down the second side, there’s no chance my sewing lines will intersect. If they cross each other by even one stitch, I won’t get a properly mitered corner.

Next I fold the binding strip straight up, just as you would for double-fold binding . . .

. . . and then straight down, also just as you would for double-fold:

Did you notice that pin on the left edge of the binding where two layers of fabric must be perfectly aligned? I keep that pin in when I sew the next seam because it holds all of the layers in place to prevent shifting and it’s not in the way of any foot I might have on my sewing machine. (In fact, I leave that pin in until I am ready to form the miter and pin the binding in place.)

I work my way around the quilt, forming the other three miters, and finish the fourth side of the binding by sewing the beginning and ending tails together with an angled seam and finishing the seam between the two lines of stitching. (There are several ways to finish the tails of quilt binding so I’m not going into that here.)

From the right side of the quilt I press the seam toward the outer edges, avoiding the corners:


Starting about 2″ from a corner, I bring the raw edge of the binding up to the edges of the quilt, forming the first fold . . .

. . . and then fold it once again so that the folded edge covers the line of stitching. Then I put a pin in to hold the binding in place:

I rotate the quilt and do the same thing on the second side:

With the raw edge turned under, you can see how the corner is getting ready to be mitered:

You can form the miter from either side. I usually try it both ways and pick the one that looks best:


On this corner I tried it both ways and neither side lined up just right. See how the right side overlaps the left side by a couple of stitches?


It was an easy fix, though. I just opened up the corner and adjusted the fold a tiny bit:


This time the miter came together perfectly:

And now I’m reading to tack the binding down:

Some people don’t enjoy this aspect of quiltmaking but I find it both relaxing and satisfying.

Please let me know if you have any questions about single-fold binding. And if you do give this method a try, I would love to hear about your experience.

I’m ending this post with a shoutout to my friend Pam Raby of lovedtopieces.com who first brought single-fold binding to my attention. As I told Pam after trying it out with ‘Tis the Season, “It’s a game changer!”

 

 

 

Posted in single-fold binding, update | 6 Comments

Oven Mitt Breakthrough

For those of you wondering whatever happened to that oven mitt tutorial I promised a couple of months ago, I have an update for you. I actually started working on a tutorial back in January but got hung up working on instructions for applying the binding.

Each set of oven mitts I’ve made since making my own pattern in December has been nicely finished but applying the binding has been a process best described as “fiddly.” My goal has been to figure out a way to apply the binding for a neat finish that can be effectively illustrated in a picture-heavy tutorial and be easy enough for a confident beginner to follow.

To that end I’ve been experimenting with different widths and different ways of joining the ends. I’ve tinkered with single-fold and double-fold binding. The results have been acceptable. But ease of construction? Not so much. “There has to be a better way,” I kept thinking.

The other day I had a “what if?” moment. Yesterday I tried out my idea. I was on the right track but took one wrong turn. I tried again today — and it worked! The result is the set of oven mitts you see above.

Isn’t that fabric cute? It reminds me of a Valentine card I received as a kid that had peas on the outside. Inside was the message “Peas be my pod-ner.”

I have the perfect person in mind for these oven mitts. She’s Irish and loves the color green as much as I do. She reads my blog so I’m betting she’ll figure out these are for her. I’m planning to visit her next month but don’t want to wait that long to give them to her. If I get them in the mail tomorrow, she might get them by St. Patrick’s Day.

 

 

 

Posted in family, oven mitts, single-fold binding, tutorial, update | 7 Comments

It’s a Wrap: Tea Time on High Street

Here it is! Tea Time on High Street is officially finished — pieced, quilted, bound, and labeled. Today was an absolutely beautiful day in Portland, with the temperature almost reaching 60. I took some photos outside late this afternoon, hoping to capture the true colors in the quilt. It’s amazing how the colors shift depending on the time of day and the amount of light hitting the surfaces. The gray may look cooler in some photos as a result.

Here’s the back of the quilt:

In this next shot the binding appears to be fuchsia but in reality it’s a vibrant coral . . .


. . . and here’s a shot of the back where the binding looks a little orange-y:

For the label I made an inset circle using the dotted fabric of the binding as my background and then enclosed it in a larger circle:

Did you notice that the ring around the label is the same width as the accent strip and binding? All part of the plan.

To sum up:

Tea Time on High Street measures 55″ square.

It’s based on the pattern Tea Time in Bali by Larene Smith but doesn’t follow it exactly.

The pattern calls for strip sets to be sewn into tubes, then cut into triangles that open up to form bias-edged squares.

I started with a Jelly Roll: 40 2½” strips of fabric from “High Street,” a line of fabrics designed by Lily Ashbury for Moda Fabrics.

Karlee Sandell of SewInspired2Day quilted it with an edge-to-edge design by Urban Elementz called “Soho.”

I’m really happy with the way this quilted turned out!

 

 

 

Posted in single-fold binding, update | 4 Comments

First Finish of 2021

First things first: Happy New Year, friends! May 2021 exceed your expectations in every way.

Now on to the next good thing: ‘Tis the Season, my quilt made with the Missouri Star Quilt Company’s Quatrefoil pattern, is a wrap! Take a look:

The quilt was officially completed on New Year’s Day but it was dark by the time I’d stitched the label on so I had to wait till today to take photos. Indoor shots only, I’m afraid; it’s January in Portland (need I say more?).

There was never a doubt in my mind what fabric I would use to bind this quilt: it absolutely had to be the green diagonal stripe in Corey Yoder’s “Holliberry” line. I tried a new-to-me way of applying the binding: it’s single-fold rather than the traditional double-fold. I’ve been wanting to try this method since hearing my friend Pam Raby of Loved to Pieces sing its praises when she was on the Quilt Show with Ricky Tims and Alex Anderson last July.

Oh my. Mitering the corners was a breeze! There’s much less bulk, and the corners lie nice and flat. Feel free to inspect mine:

For the label I made an inset circle and then enclosed it in another circle:

Here’s a look at the back of the quilt:


Since I love the crinkly look and feel of a laundered quilt, ‘Tis the Season went into the washer and dryer after these pictures were taken. Now here it is, still warm from the dryer, on the back of the couch, where it will take up residence for the time being:

‘Tis still the season as far as I’m concerned!

 

 

 

Posted in mitered corners, Quatrefoil, quilt labels, single-fold binding, stitch-and-flip corners, update | 12 Comments