Finishing your Quilt

Make Quilt Labels with Spoonflower

Recently I decided to try something new and print my own custom fabric labels using spoonflower.com.  I made some basic labels in four colors…

spoonflower quilt labels

You can write with a permanent fabric marker if you want to include your name/date/quilt title etc.

spoonflower quilt labels

I uploaded a simple design of four labels (one in each color) that I created in Adobe Illustrator.  When you upload to the spoonflower site, the pattern is automatically repeated.  Each label is 4.5″W x 3.5″H.  I ordered a fat quarter, printed on kona cotton, which gave me 24 labels in various colors.

spoonflower quilt labels

spoonflower quilt labelsThen I just cut them with my rotary cutter…

spoonflower quilt labels

If you like my iQuilt design you can order it yourself direct from spoonflower.com.    Since every order is custom printed expect to wait for your order.  I believe it took three weeks to receive my order, and you can view the order status right on the site.  So give yourself some time if you want to create some labels (or other fabric) and need your order by specific date.

You can go on their site and order yourself some design tools including a swatch kit for $1 and other tools like a color card and color map.

spoonflower quilt labels

The fabric swatch book includes a sample of each fabric which is handy when deciding what weight or type of fabric to print your design on. 

spoonflower quilt labels

I tried printing some with my name on them too… This time I printed on the Basic Combed Cotton.  It’s a bit stiffer than the Kona Cotton, but for labels it’s a bit easier to write on.

Here is one version with my name that I put on my Sampler Quilt…

spoonflower quilt labels

Another simple design with my name already printed.  I pieced this into a small block with scraps from the quilt top.

spoonflower quilt labels

I like to quilt the outline of the large letters with some perle cotton ~ like the Q for Quilt and here the S…

spoonflower quilt labels

It’s really fun to get your own custom labels printed ~ even if they are simple like mine.  Spoonflower has a great tutorial for creating your own design if your a little computer savy.  

Or you can check out the other quilt labels that have already been designed including my iQuilt design.

This wraps up Finishing your Quilt Sampler…

Complete the block patterns

Assemble/Sew blocks using block layout

Add a quilt border

How to make a quilt sandwich

Hand quilting tutorial √ 

Making bias binding

 Attaching the binding 

And finishing with a label 

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Tutorial ~ How to make quilt labels with Spoonflower

sherri

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Finishing ~ How to Bind a Quilt

If you are ready to attach your binding then you should have your quilt sandwich all quilted.  If you need to make binding, check out the tutorial on making bias binding.

For this demo I’ll be binding my quilt block from the quilt sandwich tutorial so it’s easier to photograph.

Optional ~ before trimming the batting / backing and squaring up the quilt top I like to topstitch using a 1/8″ seam around the perimeter of the quilt top.  This extra step holds everything together for the binding.  Use a walking foot to evenly move the three layers through the machine.

DSC_0006 600x logo

Trim away the excess batting and backing layers. (don’t sweat it if you trim into your top stitched edge a bit)

Lay prepared binding along edge of quilt top (raw edges together).

how to bind a quilt

Note ~ A 1/4″ seam allowance is most common but I will be using a 1/2″ seam allowance in this tutorial.  Read making binding for more info on seam allowances.

Leave a 10″ tail when you begin to allow for joining when you finish sewing around perimeter. 

how to bind a quilt

Begin sewing (backstitch to secure) and stop 1/4″ from edge of quilt top. Backstitch at stop.

how to bind a quilt

Fold binding to the right, finger press fold and place a pin to secure.  It is important that your edges align.  If your binding rests higher, you didn’t sew far enough, and if it rests lower, you stitched too far.  Adjust now to avoid wonky corners later. 

how to bind a quilt

Fold binding to left and align with raw edge of quilt top.  Make sure fold on right edge is aligned with side of quilt top.

how to bind a quilt

Turn your quilt and begin sewing at the edge.  Remember to backstitch to secure.  Repeat this process for each corner.

quilt binding tutorial

When you come to the end leave yourself some room to work the two ends together ~ I usually shoot for an aprox 12″ gap.  You should have two tail ends now.

In the next picture I’m back to the start.  You will notice my starting tail is on the left and ending tail is on the right. 

My binding strip is 3.25″ wide when unfolded.  I’m measuring that same measurement ( 3.25″) from the edge of my starting tail and I’ve placed a pin there to mark it. (note: if you have a 2.5″ binding, measure in 2.5″ and so forth)

how to bind a quilt

Overlap the starting tail with the end tail from the right and mark a cutting/trim line from where the pin is.

quilt binding tutorial

Trim end tail on line. (do NOT cut through starting tail!!!)

quilt binding tutorial

Gather your quilt top and clip or pin in place to give yourself some freedom to work the two ends together without tugging.

Note ~ I’m using these  wonder clips that are fantastic!  Get yourself some, they are well worth the money!

how to bind a quilt
Without twisting,  place your two ends right sides together in an “L” shape.  Mark outside corner to outside corner and stitch together.
how to bind a quilt

Trim excess leaving 1/4″ below stitch line.

quilt binding tutorial

Remove clip holding quilt top and press binding seam open.

quilt binding tutorial

Binding should lay flat and fit perfect.  Notice diagonal seam distributes bulk nicely.  Finish stitching down binding. 

how to bind a quilt

Fold binding to back of quilt and notice the corners miter without fussing. 

quilt binding tutorial

The binding should extend to back of quilt and cover stitches nicely.  I’m using those fabulous wonder clips again…

how to bind a quilt

When I adjust the mitered corners on the backside of my quilt I face the little slit ‘opening’ in the opposite direction, which distributes any bulk more evenly.  In this next picture the ‘opening’ on the top side faces me.

how to bind a quilt

And here in the next picture the ‘opening’ on the back faces away.  Make sense?  ok :)

how to bind a quilt

Rather than clip the binding in place around the entire perimeter I usually just use a few clips to hold my binding in place to get going and then I move them ahead of my stitching as I go. 

I’m going to hand stitch the binding to the back. 

Choose a thread that matches your binding.  (mine is dark so you can see my stitches)

I’m using the knotless start method… 

Cut a length of thread.  Fold it in half and feed the loop through your needle.

knotless start sewing

Slide needle to other end.

knotless start sewing

Begin sewing your binding to the back along any side you choose.  Insert your needle right next to the binding and into the backing and batting only (not through quilt top) and then on your way up pick up the edge of the binding.

how to bind a quilt

Pull thread through until loop is close.  Feed needle (and thread) through loop.

how to bind a quilt
Pull tight to secure.

how to bind a quilt

Insert needle (into quilt back and batting only) right next to where thread comes out of binding.  Bring needle out aprox 1/4″ away, just catching the edge of the binding.

how to bind a quilt

Continue this same stitch all the way around the perimeter until your finished!  Admire your hand work!
how to bind a quilt

Admire your binding from the front too!

DSC_0136 600x400

And THAT is how you bind your quilt! :)

If you are binding around curved edges you start and end with the same method but you will simply curve your bias binding around the corners, pin in place, and stitch away.   DSC_0155 600x400

Piece of cake!

sherri

Craftsy

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Finishing ~ How to make Bias Binding

Want to learn how to make Bias Binding for your quilt?

You might need to grab a cup of tea or coffee for this post.  It involves math… need I say more?

You may call me crazy but the binding is really a favorite part of the quilt making process for me… It’s the home stretch after all, and you get to see everything come together… I just love it!!!  And I want you to love it too! 

Although bias binding is stronger (wears better) than straight grain binding, you really only need to use bias binding if your quilt (or other project) has curved edges.   Bias binding strips are cut on the 45 degree angle of the fabric, and therefore stretch easily around curves. There are several methods of making bias binding and I’m going to show you how I make it.  I typically purchase my binding fabric right off the bolt so I like to calculate how much I will need based on a yardage cut rather than a square cut of fabric as some tutorials demonstrate.   We will assume that your standard off the bolt fabric is aprox 42″ wide with selvages removed. So, let’s get started…

how to make bias binding

bias binding ~ 1/2″ seam allowance

I’m using my Sampler quilt as the ‘math’ demo, and since it has rounded corners I needed to make bias binding.  You will need to know your quilt top dimensions and the desired width of your binding strips before you begin.

BINDING WIDTH The key to how wide to cut your binding strips is in your desired binding width or binding seam allowance.    The following chart helps to demonstrate what strip width to cut based on the binding seam allowance you are using.  When piecing your quilt top the standard seam allowance is 1/4″, therefore if your pattern extends to the edge of the quilt or you have points on the edge (no border) then you may need to go with a 1/4″ binding seam.  This ensures that your finished results (quilt top) will be correct (and you won’t sew into your points).  Still with me? Here is a chart showing typical seam allowances and possible strip widths:

Seam allowance

Cut binding strip width to:

¼”

2”, 2 ¼” or  2 ½”

3/8”

2 ¼” or 2 ½”

½”

2 ½”, 3” or 3 ¼”

You might be wondering… Why the variations in widths? If your using a low loft batting and quilting cotton (like my example) then you will go with a narrower width.  But if you are using a high loft batting and perhaps flannel or a heavier weight fabric then go with a wider width strip even though you are using the same seam allowance.  This will give you a little extra binding to accommodate the thickness of your quilt. 

Another thing to think about (as if that wasn’t enough) is if you like your binding tight, so when you fold it over to the back side it just covers your stitches or maybe you like it a little looser so it extends beyond your back stitches more.  If you’re a beginner, go with a wider binding that corresponds to your desired seam allowance, it might be the easiest option.  All these things factor into your width choice. Make sense? 

bias binding math

BINDING MATH:

example: 

Math for a 60″ x 74″ quilt top. 

I want to use a 1/2″ seam allowance

My batting is low loft but I have lots of seams along the edge of my quilt top so I’m going a little wider than usual to accommodate a little more bulk ~  3 1/4″ binding strips.

math:

60 + 60 + 74 + 74 = 268″  perimeter

add 12″ extra (for piecing the strips, corners, finishing etc) = 280″ adjusted perimeter#

Now divide 280″ by 42 (useable width of fabric) = 6.6 and round this number up to 7 (next whole number)

Multiply 7 x the 3.25 (width of binding strips) = 22.75″

I WILL NEED 22.75″ OF FABRIC OFF THE BOLT FOR MY BINDING!

DONE! 

Does your head hurt now? I don’t want your head to hurt, so to make this easier, print off this EASY binding yardage worksheet to figure it out ~ just write in your numbers!   :)

Phew! Ok, so how do you cut your bias strips? I’m starting with my 22.75 width of fabric off the bolt and first I like to cut my selvages off ~ and I always cut 1″ off my selvage edge.

how to make bias binding

As a side note I save all my selvages for a future project… so throw them in a vase or other fun container in your sewing space… you never know when you may want to make a fun selvage project…

how to make bias binding

Now that your fabric selvages are trimmed off, open your fabric up.

how to make bias binding

fabric is right side down

Fold down top left corner to meet bottom edge.

how to make bias bindingPlace your ruler along the fold edge and cut the edge of the fold off.

how to make bias binding

trim aprox 1/8″ from fold edge

Remove the cut triangle without turning.

how to make bias binding

cut piece is right side up

Important ~ rotate the cut triangle counter clockwise so the bottom edge of the triangle (shown in picture above) is now the right edge of the triangle (see picture below).  Move the rotated triangle over to the right.

place RSD piece on top of RSU piece (now right sides together)and align right edges

place RSD piece on top of RSU piece (now right sides together)and align right edges

Slide the triangle under the larger cut of fabric so they are right sides together and align the right side edges.  Pin and sew the right edge.

triangle on bottom RST with right edges aligned

triangle on bottom RST with right edges aligned ~ sew right edge

Open seamed unit and you should have a parallelogram.  Press seam open.

how to make bias binding

seam and press open

Bias strips will now be cut along bias (45 degree) edge. 

how to make bias bindingIf your ruler isn’t long enough to cover length of the bias edge, you can move it as you cut or you can fold your fabric keeping the bias edge aligned.

how to make bias bindingPlace your ruler along the bias edge and cut your desired strip width ~ for the example I’m cutting 3.25″ strips.

how to make bias binding

cut strips on bias edge

The ends of your strips will be ready to piece together to form your continuous bias binding.

how to make bias binding

Place two ends right sides together ~ notice ends are offset slightly ~ sew 1/4″ seam.

how to make bias binding

Press the seam open and trim off ‘dog ears’.

how to make bias binding

Note: If you are piecing together straight grain binding or bias binding with a straight end on your strip,  overlap your ends an sew on a diagonal from outside edge to outside edge.  Trim excess and press seam open

how to make bias binding

Sew all strips together and press all seams open. Take this long piece to the ironing board, fold and press in half on the length to finish making your binding.  I like to use best press, which is a starch alternative, to make my binding nice and crisp.  I’m addicted to the Caribbean Beach scent, but it also comes in other scents or scent free.

how to make bias binding

Now Your DONE with making your bias binding!!!

sherri
Craftsy

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Finishing ~ Hand Quilting

We all have our favorite part of putting together a quilt.  For some it’s the piecing, or maybe you love the binding (I do!) or perhaps it’s the quilting?  Free motion quilting is definitely fun but if you don’t have all the right equipment, getting a large quilt through a domestic machine can be daunting! 

When I was deciding on how to quilt my sampler I changed my mind more than once (shocker!) I debated, and thought, and finally decided to hand quilt.  After all, I had the time… (right?) 

how to hand quilt

I have hand quilted smaller projects but this was my first large hand quilting project.  I loved the freedom of being able to quilt one block at a time.  It was fun to finish one block and then move to the next one and decide on how to quilt just that block.  I could multi task, watch Netflix (who got me hooked on fringe and mad men?) and quilt at the same time!  And I don’t think I used my seam ripper once!  BONUS!

Spooky thought it was a good idea too… she’s such a big help…

hand quilting tutorial

I used DMC Perle Cotton #8  for my quilting~ SO YUMMY!  It comes in tons of colors, is easy to work with and shows off your hard work with it’s pretty shine.

hand quilting with perle cotton

Here are the colors I used:

purple 554, blue 519, yellow 725, green 3348, ecru, orange 947

I have this great DMC Color chart for choosing colors!

hand-quilting

If you’re looking for a color chart you can also download this DMC Thread Color Card PDF or purchase a DMC Thread Printed Color Card.

hand-quilting with perle cotton

Gather your Supplies:

Here are some general supplies you’ll want before you get started.

Quilters Hoop ~ I’m using a 14″  Dritz 14-Inch Quilting No-Slip Hoop  

Thimble ~ I use this one  Clover Metal Open-Sided Thimble

Perle Cotton #8

Scissors ~ small pair

Needle ~ recommendations from DMC here

Needle Threader ~ optional but I couldn’t have done without one

Painters Tape ~ for help keeping stitches straight

Basted Quilt Sandwich

This is the type of needle threader I used.  It has a hook on each end that slides through needle eye to grab the floss and pull through.  Made threading SO much easier!  This needle threader from DMC would also work.  You’ll just need to be sure your needle eye can accommodate the hook.

hand quilting tutorial

Getting Started:

It’s best to work from the quilt center out toward the edges, so position your hoop closest to the center of your quilt and secure.  I started my quilting on the center block of my quilt and worked my way around and out to the sides.  It worked out beautifully.  It’s a little more cumbersome when you’re working in the middle of the quilt, since there’s more quilt to wrap your arms around, but just adjust everything until you’ve got a comfortable set up.

Cut yourself a piece of perle cotton no longer than 30″ (manageable length).  Any longer and it will be awkward to work with and it will get fuzzy when you pull it through the quilt sandwich too many times.

Thread your needle and tie a simple overhand knot in the end of the cotton.

hand quilt tutorial

Start by inserting the needle aprox 1/2 inch from where you wish to begin quilting.  Push your needle through the top and batting only and travel through quilt.  Bring your needle up at your starting point. 

hand quilt with perle cotton

Pull the thread until the knot reaches the quilt top and give it a sharp tug ~ it will pop through the quilt top and embed itself in the batting.  You will get the hang of this after a few tries.

how to hand quilt

Let’s get quilting.  I quilt toward myself at a slight diagonal, (rather than right to left) and I find it the easiest way for me.  Do what feels comfortable for you.  Start a stitch with the needle sticking straight down through the quilt.  I’m right handed and I have my right hand on top of the quilt making the stitch, and my left hand guiding the needle on the back of my quilt.  In the next picture my left hand is under the quilt sandwich and the needle is just poking through the other side resting on my finger tip.  (yes, this finger tip will get a little sore… occupational hazzard)

big stitch quilting tutorial

When I feel the point of the needle come through the back of the quilt with my finger tip, I tilt the needle backward away from me.   Now, push that back finger up, creating a small bump on the quilt top where your needle is.  With your right hand thumb, push down on the quilt top in front of the needle, making the bump more defined, and now you can push the needle through that bump. 

hand quilting big stitch tutorialReview steps:

  • needle straight up and down just through quilt sandwich touching left hand finger tip

  • tilt needle back

  • push up with left finger from under quilt

  • push down with right thumb in front of needle to make the defined bump

  • push needle through bump

big stitch hand quilting

Your thimble may feel unnatural on your finger, and you may struggle through the first several stitches but it will quickly get easier.  Stick with it!  Your left finger tips will get sore and there are some products you can use like another thimble or little ‘dots’ to stick on your finger to protect it but I couldn’t get the same results using anything on those left hand fingers.  I needed to be able to feel the needle.

big stitch quilting

When you are ready for another length of perle cotton or done your quilting, you will need to tie off and embed the end in the batting.  Start by tying another overhand knot in the end of your perle cotton. 

hand quilt with perle cotton

Pull the end of the perle cotton, sliding the knot down near the quilt top. 

hand quilting with perle cotton

Knot should be right at the top of the quilt.

hand quilting with perle cotton

Insert needle back into hole that the perle cotton is coming out of and travel through the batting only, then back out of top about a 1/2″ away. 

hand quilting tutorial

Pull needle through and give perle cotton a tug to embed knot in batting and carefully snip off the tail.

big stitch hand quilting tutorial

If you are quilting a long straight line and need a ‘guide’ try using painters tape and just stitch along side of it!  It helps and the tape pulls right off and you can use it a couple more times before the ‘stick’ is worn out.  big stitch hand quilting tutorial

That’s it!  If your new to hand quilting start on small projects like I did, then when your comfortable, move your way up to a large project…

Sampler Quilt – details and quilted blocks

Find the Scrap Happy Sampler Quilt pattern

 in My Shop AND on Craftsy.

sampler block of the month

I also hand quilted Modern Love if you want to go check out that quilt… And Warm Wishes is also hand quilted and includes a pdf pattern download.

I have a

Hand Quilting Bundle available in my shop

if you want to give it a go!  

Pearl Cotton Hand Quilting Bundle

I found these video tutorials very helpful:

This is another EXCELLENT free video tutorial if you want to get into hand quilting feathers:    how to hand quilt feathers video tutorial

If you are hard core into quilting ~ this looks FUN!   hand quilting motifs video tutorial

hand quilting tutorial

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how to hand quilt with perle cotton

sherri

Craftsy

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Finishing ~ Quilt Sandwich

After your quilt top layout is pieced and you’ve added a border (if you choose to) it’s time to plan out your quilt back and make your ‘Quilt Sandwich’.  My quilt top is scrappy, and I’m determined to use up ‘stash’ (even the big pieces)  so I decided to go with a scrappy back as well.

quilt sandwich tutorial

QUILT BACK

Remember that your backing will always need to be larger than the top (add 6″ to width and length.)  If your going to make it scrappy, you need to plan where your seams fall.  You don’t want them close to the edges of the final quilt.  The excess backing that extends beyond the quilt top is cut away after quilting so your seams will need to be well inside the ‘quilt top’ parameters.

quilt sandwich backing tutorial

QUILT SANDWICH Supplies:

quilt top

backing

batting ~ I’m using warm and natural cotton batting (love cotton!)

painters tape ~ if your pin basting on a surface or floor

quilting pins ~ the bent ones

quilt sandwich tutorial

Your ‘Quilt Sandwich’ consists of three parts:

QUILT TOP 

BATTING ~ I want my batting to extend 2″ all the way around my quilt so I will add 4″ to the length and width of the quilt top.

BACKING ~ I want my backing to be just slightly larger than my batting.  I want it to extend 1″ beyond my batting.  To accomplish this I will add 2 inches to my batting length and width.

QUILT TOP

 

Why do you need to extend the batting and backing?  During quilting there can be some shifting of the layers.  Extending the batting and backing will ensure this isn’t a problem, your quilt back will be large enough and you’re not quilting tiny bits lined up at the edge.  Some quilters are more generous with their extended measurements, so do what suits you and your quilting needs.  If you are sending your quilt to a longarmer they may have specific requirements so be sure to check in advance. 

Making a Quilt Sandwich

(I’m cheating and using a quilt block for my demo so it’s easier to photograph!)

Lay out your batting on a large surface or the floor. Layer your quilt top over the batting so batting extends at least two inches around.  Trim batting to size.

quilt sandwich tutorial

Roll up batting and quilt top together and set aside while you lay out backing. DSC_0030 700x logoPress quilt back and smooth out on floor/surface with right side down.  Using painters tape (girls best friend) generously tape backing to surface.quilt sandwich tutorial Move your quilt top / batting ‘roll’ on top of quilt back.DSC_0049 700x logo Center, unroll and smooth out batting / quilt top.  This is your quilt sandwich.  quilt sandwich tutorialNow, pin the heck out of it!  Be sure to put a few pins the batting area that isn’t covered by the quilt top.quilt sandwich tutorial Also be sure to fill the pins up.  If they are not ‘full’ they will slide and all that work will be for nothing! (boo)quilt sandwich tutorial

There are other methods of basting your quilt sandwich ~ if you try spray basting be sure to spray outside.

Now Your Ready to Quilt!

Find the Scrap Happy Sampler Quilt pattern

 in My Shop AND on Craftsy.

 

sherri
Craftsy

 

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