Dawn Marie reminded me that I have been neglectful in getting the rest of the bias binding directions complete.
I press the seam open (which I didn’t mention on the previous blog post). I do this for two reasons: 1) bulk is not a quilters friend and 2) the fabric will lay flat on the mat when I’m drawing lines and cutting later.
I use three things when marking the lines on the back of the fabric
a) the grid on my cutting mat
b) a sharpie (yes, you read that correctly)
c) a 6 x 24″ gridded ruler
I make my bias binding either 1 7/8″ or 2″. Yeah, it’s just about the same thing but sometimes that extra 1/8th inch makes all the difference in the binding laying flat.
Using the ruler as both a measuring tool and a straight edge, I draw lines every two inches. This particular binding will be used for a messenger bag and a baby quilt so two inches works great for me. I’m not quite sure if you can see, but the little dots on the half inch line are on the seam line here. This is one of the ways I know that I’m keeping the binding and my lines straight.
The other check I have is the 45 degree mark on my ruler. I check this frequently for straight lines and to make sure I’m not twisting or stretching the fabric. Once I finish drawing all the lines up and down I draw one line on the diagonal.
Once I have the entire piece marked I pin. Keeping the drawn diagonal line closest to me I take one of the 45 degree points near me. I hold the second line that I’ve drawn and bring that up to the first line on the same side so that the there is about 2 inches off to the side. I pin every 2 inches. I use the line that I drew on the diagonal to make sure that I’m pinning at 1/4 inch and that the lines are meeting up correctly so when I cut the long, long, long strip of binding it’s straight. There’s nothing worse than wonky binding. Well, there are worse things, even in the amazing world of quilting. When you want to get a quilt or something out the door and the binding is just a wee bit off…pictures of walls and heads meeting is just not quite a pretty site.
Next the machine and I meet for the second time in the process. Stitch slowly and carefully, on the drawn line (diagonal line) . Check between pins to make sure the fabric hasn’t shifted underneath…Every once in a while the fabric and the presser foot will look like this:
this is fine, this is good. Just keep moving slowly and you’ll get there. This seam is one long curve and if you do it right when the tube is folded in half later the seam will look like this:
Now for the cutting. This takes patience and care. There will be one spot that sticks out:
Take the good fabric scissors and start cutting on the line that goes around
and around again.
And you’ll end up with a pile that
looks something like this, except it’s a lot longer. When you get to the end (or perhaps at the beginning depending on how you pinned) there will be a stretch of binding that isn’t as wide as the rest. People who applique love this kind of thing, put it in a box, when the box gets full….or find an old Mason Jar and put the scraps in there, for something pretty in your sewing space.