Happy new year! Let’s start it out with some tips for finishing a quilt. From borders and labels to figuring yardage for binding, these tips will hopefully inspire you to tackle that stack of UFOs!
Do you have fabric left over after making your blocks and you want to make your quilt a little bigger? Consider using that leftover fabric to make a border! One of my favorites is a piano key border.
It’s simple but it’s colorful and adds a striking frame around your quilt. Other easy pieced borders are checkerboard style and just strips of all the colors used in the quilt.
Use your imagination and use up that fabric!
Labels are something that we should all add to the back of our quilts. Not only to write your name as the maker, but to record the special occasion that the quilt was made for, the receiver of the quilt and the date it was made. If you read some antique quilt books, you will see the phrase “maker unknown” in many of the captions. We don’t want that to happen to our quilts, do we?
On the subject of labels, I like to secure mine by placing two sides of the label on the edge of the quilt so when the binding is attached on the front, the label is also attached.
By doing this, you then only have to hand stitch two sides of the label to complete it. You can also do a folded piece of fabric for the label. This will create a little pocket in the back.
As you can see from the photos I folded a square of fabric into a triangle. The the two raw edge sides can be stitched down when the binding is attached to the front of the quilt. That makes the little “pocket” (where my finger is pointing in the last photo).
Finally, I’ve talked about binding in past blog posts, but one thing I have not covered is how to accurately figure how much yardage you need to make your quilt binding. Here’s how I do it:
- Figure the perimeter of the quilt by adding up the length of all the sides. For example for a quilt that is 60 x 72″ here is the calculation: 60 + 60 + 72 + 72 = 264
- Add 2″ to that measurement to account for the length of the binding used on the corners (I figure in 1/2″ per corner): 264 + 2 = 266
- Then divide that measurement by the width of fabric to determine how many strips I need. I use 40″ for my usable width: 266/40 = 6.65. I always round up, so I need 7 strips for this quilt’s binding.
- Multiply the strip amount by the size of the strips needed. If I am making double-fold binding, I use 2 1/4″ strips so: 7 x 2 1/4″ = 15 3/4″. I round up to the nearest common cut of fabric, so I will need 1/2 yard to make the binding for this quilt. If I was only doing single-fold binding, I use 1 1/2″ strips so: 7 x 1 1/2″ = 10 1/2, rounding up, I would use 1/3 yard of fabric here.
I hope these quick New Year’s tips are something that will motivate you to get those quilts done! It’s a new year and I will have lots of new stuff to share with you!
jean fletcher says
I always prewash my fabrics to get any “loose chemicals” off the fabric. I machine dry, then iron and if it is fabric in the que for one of my ongoing projects, with the fabric folded right sides out, selvages lined up, I use a long ruler and cut the selvage loose along the edges, leaving attached beyond the ruler to the rest of the fabric that I purchased, usually a 1 yard cut. Eventually I will use up that piece of fabric, and the selvage will be available for tying to a pair of scissors to hang around my neck. Or I may use the selvage pieces as ribbon on gift packages, or to hold small boxes closed that hold fabrics selected for a project, wrapped in a clean new white dish cloth to keep the fabrics from touching the raw cardboard of the box. At one time I helped stuff envelopes for an organization, and I was able to get many of the boxes the envelopes came in as well as the boxes the printed letter we were stuffing into them had come in. Each lid got wrapped with wrapping paper and if needed for a gift giving, my quilt parts would be emptied till the gift was given, then I’d get the box back and once again my project box was ready to be put away. (my grandmother ironed used gift wrap and used it over again. this is what I do to keep unnecessary stuff out of the landfills)
I like the idea of using the selvage pieces as ribbon on gift packages, especially if it’s a gift to another quilter!