I just finished a quilt that I made just to try machine binding. It’s a quilt-as-you-go strip quilt, which means it’s quick and simple.
I’m loving the aqua, red and white color scheme with tons of polka dots. Those three colors (and the dots) are among my favorite things right now. I’m calling it my Aqua Dots Strip quilt.
I found the binding tutorial on a great quilting blog, Red Pepper Quilts. The tutorial is here. Four years ago when I started quilting, I took a class on binding and I’ve been finishing my bindings by hand ever since. I usually cut my binding only 2 inches wide because I like a really tight, neat binding with no gaps inside it. I enjoy this process, but it takes many hours and thousands of stitches (think 8-10 stitches per inch around a 400 inch perimeter). I strained my elbow a little carrying my baby’s car seat, so stitching by hand has been irritating it some lately. I’ve also found that sitting down to do some hand sewing is much harder when you have 3 or 4 children dive into your lap every time you sit down (not to mention the fact that there’s so much cleaning to do that you don’t feel like you CAN sit down). So this tutorial got me excited, because I’m at a point right now when I’d LOVE to be able to fully finish a quilt on my machine.
Here’s a peek at one of the nicer spots on my binding after reading the tutorial.
Don’t worry, there were other spots (several of them) when I completely missed the binding and had to go back and fix it. All in all, I’m pleased. This is definitely harder than it seems, because you stitch from the top but the binding you’re stitching is on the bottom so you can’t see it at all. I pinned pretty well and had my machine on the slowest setting. This method will take some practice, but I think it’s worth getting good at.
The fabrics I used in this quilt actually came from a little quilt kit I purchased a long time ago when I thought that our last baby would be a boy. For some reason, for years I really felt like we’d end up even. Well, that didn’t happen, and these fun fabrics were still in their bag. The binding was a great excuse to whip it up, especially since it’s a pretty small quilt (baby size).
I taught myself a great lesson in this quilt, which is that haste does NOT produce quality. The strips weren’t cut perfectly when someone assembled the kit, and I didn’t bother to fix them. I also was so intent on finishing it quickly that I didn’t stop and rip out a couple of mistakes… which means that the stripes in the quilt aren’t completely straight and that there’s some curve to one end of the quilt. Oh well. I think the quilt is still cute, and it’s certainly going to be used, but I won’t be giving it away as a gift or anything like that. I really don’t feel like it’s a reflection of the work I’m capable of, or of the attention to detail that I usually have when I’m sewing. Good reminder, since I’ve got like 10 quilts I’m really anxious to start!
That said, the purpose of this quilt really was the binding. I’m definitely going to work at mastering this one! Here’s one last look at the quilt after it had been through a rinse cycle and then the dryer. I do like it! I love the happy colors and the dots.
What do you think?