First of all, thanks to everyone that visited my Facebook page and took part in the virtual Great Wisconsin Quilt Show this past weekend. I still have my tutorial videos up on my Facebook Page if you’d like to look at them. One of the videos is a tour of a virtual quilt booth showcasing all my new patterns. Just scroll through my timeline to see the videos.
Last week we covered storing quilts. This week I will talk about some finishing tips once the quilt it pieced and quilted. Things like rod pockets, labels and preparing binding to name a few. There is also time to enter the drawing for my quilt pattern Rail Fence Blooms! So let’s get started on this week’s topic.
Tip #1 – Rod Pockets or Hanging Sleeves
Adding a rod pocket or a hanging sleeve to the back of a wall hanging is the best way to easily display it. I think the sleeve also helps hang the quilt smoothly and helps to avoid stressing any one side of the quilt. Once the sleeve is there, you can use about any item to hang your quilt like curtain rods, wire quilt hangers and even yardsticks!
How do I make these rod pockets or hanging sleeves you ask? Here are some simple steps. I think the best way to put a sleeve on a quilt is to do it at the same time as when you attach the binding like I did on this quilt below:
Step 1: Cut a strip of fabric 2 1/2″ wide and 2″ shorter than the width of the wall hanging. This quilt is 24″ wide, so I cut the strip 2 1/2 x 22″.
Then, hem the short ends of the strip by folding in about 1/4″ on each side (towards the wrong side of the fabric) and stitching.
Step 2: Lay the strip on the back of the quilted item aligning it with the top edge and pin in place. So, when you attach the binding to the front, the top of the sleeve will be stitched to the back.
Step 3: Turn under the bottom edge of the strip and pin in place so you can hand stitch this while hand stitching your binding to the back.
Tip #2 – Label the Quilt!
This is something that is often neglected. You don’t want your quilt to be one of those “maker unknown” quilts in the future, do you? Also, adding a label is a good way to personalize the quilt for the recipient.
The label can also be attached partly when attaching the binding. I like doing this because it adds a little extra security to the label. Here is an example of a flat fabric label attached on two sides while binding is attached:
I’ve also labeled quilts by writing with a fabric safe pen directly on the back. This is something you can do when you have a light fabric backing. Be sure not to press too hard so your writing does not bleed through to the front.
I’ve also used fabric labels that are run through my ink jet printer to personalize them even more. I have used these to write poems to the recipient, list high school accomplishments, gather signatures of friends and even reprint birth announcements to add to the back of the quilt.
Even if you just use the label for the date and your name, make a label!
Tip #3 – Binding
The final touch! Often quilters rush this part of the quilt because they just want to be done with the quilt. I like to put thought into my binding by considering it “the frame” for my piece of art. So here’s a few things to consider.
The color you choose for the binding depends on whether you want it to stand out or to fade into the background. Like I said above, I consider the binding as a frame for my design and want it to help the design to stand out. Here’s an example of that:
I used a dark binding because I liked how it accentuated the applique but did not detract from the design in the center of the quilt.
I wanted to keep the binding on this quilt the same color as the background. I generally do this on quilts with a dark background. Although I did add a little “pizzazz” by choosing a black fabric with a bit more larger print than the background. You can also choose to use the same fabric as the background fabric for your binding to have it completely disappear.
Finally, to use up fabric, consider a scrappy binding. Cut strips from all the leftover color prints used in the quilt top and make your binding from that! This is something I like to do mostly on table runners and wall hangings.
This is a great way to use up all the scraps generated when you cut out the project!
What type of binding I use for a quilt project is based on the usage the quilt will get. For wall hangings and decorative table runners, I will use single-fold binding. For large quilts and quilt items that may be used more, I use double-fold binding. Did you know there are 2 ways you can make double-fold binding?
The first way is by cutting strips the width you want, I usually use 2 1/4″ strips, and then folding them over and pressing:
Then you align the raw edge of the the binding with the raw edge of the quilt top on the front and stitch down. To finish, turn it to the back and stitch by hand.
Here’s an alternative way to make double-fold binding. Fold both sides of the strip in to meet in the center. Then there are no raw edges to your binding. Some quilters like this because they feel it’s more secure. It’s a personal choice. You can make this binding by hand or by using a binding tool.
And then you would attach it like this on the front side of the quilt with the bottom fold of the strip lining up with the raw edges of the quilt top:
- Use a walking foot to attach the binding if your machine does not have a dual feed option. You will be stitching through a lot of layers and you want them all feed and to move smoothly as you are attaching the binding.
- Use old hair clips to secure your folded over binding as you stitch the binding to the back of the quilt. I knew I’d find a good use for these left-over hair clips once my daughter stopped using them!
- Use a blind stitch to attach your binding and use a color of thread that either matches the color of your binding or is a neutral thread that will blend in with any color.
So that’s it for this week. Leave a comment below to enter the drawing for my quilt pattern, Rail Fence Blooms!
The drawing will be on Monday, September 21st. ***We have a winner! Congrats, Brenda in Iowa!***
Jean Beinemann says
Gorgeous items! Glad I found your patterns during virtual quilt show!
Karen H says
I really like your Rail Fence Blooms quilt- thanks for the finishing tips- there is always something new to learn!!
I always put a hanging sleeve (and label) on my quilts, and want to add one observation. I submitted a quilt to a show and the requirement was for a hanging ‘tube’–that way the rod/pole never touches the back of the quilt. And for some shows, they request a 4-inch deep sleeve/tube. And I encourage everyone to enter the shows–if you like looking at other peoples work, they will like looking at yours!!
Good point. If the quilt you are making is for a show, definitely check their requirements before making the sleeve. I have also attached tube sleeves this way also.
I have never put a hanging sleeve on a quilt, so this a useful tutorial for me! Thanks!!
Sandra Richardson says
I had never thought about pressing the raw edges of a binding strip to the middle. Your pattern Rail Fence Blooms is very attractive and lovely.
Eugenia Read says
Thank you so much for sharing your tips and tricks for finishing. I prefer to fold binding to the middle as I think it is much neater. Seeing your Rail Fence Blooms has my mind wandering through my stash without even going to the cupboard. I would love to have the pattern.