So, got those blocks all sewn together and quilted? Yep – I’m sure you do, heh! Time to finish this baby up.
This last part is one of those “favorite/not-favorite at all” parts for me. It’s my favorite because this is the home stretch which means I’m ALMOST DONE! And it’s my not-favorite because it requires bias binding and mitering corners. (Might be why most of my quilts have rounded edges – ha!) Okay, I’ll admit. I CAN miter corners and it’s NOT that hard. It’s just that I have to THINK about it while I do it. Yeah. On most days, that’s a problem, you hear me?
First thing you need to do is square up your quilted quilt top. Make sure the sides are true, straight and even. I like to do this by picking the longest, straightest looking side and lining it up on my big work table’s cutting mat. I pick a line on the mat and line the edge of my quilt with it. Then I trim away any bits that stray over the edge of the line with a ruler and rotary cutter. That side becomes my base from which I can make sure the other three edges are straight. All quilters have their own formula – I’m sure you do too, so go for it.
Next thing you need to do is cut the bias binding. I like to sew mine on single layer with a ½” seam allowance and I like my binding to be about ½” finished. So that means I cut my bias 2” wide plus a hair. Measure around your quilt and add about 12” to see how much you’ll need. Cut the bias and sew the strips together to make one long continuous piece.
If you have a smallish piece of fabric from which to cut the bias strips, you might consider cutting it like this:
Then place the triangle pieces next to each other like this and sew together on the straight grain edge:
You now have one larger piece from which to cut bias strips, which means you’ll have less bias strips to have to sew together.
Since I am using a ½” seam allowance, I measure down and over exactly ½” at each corner and make a dot with a water soluble marker. This is a great big help with those mitered corners – drat them.
I begin sewing the bias on somewhere toward one corner of the bottom of the quilt – not at a corner – a good foot at least away. Leave about a 12” or so bias tail free past where you begin sewing. Sew to one corner and stop exactly at the dot you marked there and back tack.
Turn the quilt so that the seam you just stitched is at the top as you are looking at it. (Like the photo below) Now fold up the bias so that it is heading straight up, vertically aligned with the right edge of the quilt. Make a triangle fold as shown in the photo below.
Next, fold the bias strip straight down, aligning it vertically with the right side of the quilt. Fold the bias at the top edge of the quilt, aligned horizontally as shown below. The fold should be just a hair past the actual edge of the quilt. (You might want to experiment with that until you find the right hair.) Stick a pin through the bias into the marked corner point.
Start sewing again right at the dot, where the pin is. Take two or three stitches and back tack a little bit then continue to sew to the next corner. Repeat the same steps as above for all four corners.
Don’t sew into the triangle fold of the bias. That is important. But do try to sew as close as you can to where the previous seam ended, right at the marked corner point.
When you are about 12” or so from where you began applying the bias, stop sewing. Take the quilt to your work table. Overlap the bias strips so that there is at least 3” of overlapping bias where they meet. Finger press or iron (over) a 3/8” seam allowance on the top bias piece as shown below. Then draw a line at the fold of the seam allowance onto the bias strip below it. Draw this immediately next to the seam allowance fold.
Trim away the excess bias strip underneath leaving 3/8” selvage past the line you just marked.
Pin the two bias pieces together and sew with a 3/8” seam allowance. Press the seam allowance open.
Voila! You have sewn the bias onto your quilt’s edge and it’s continuous! No weird bumps or unsightly lumps where the bias meets end to end. Smooth and pretty – isn’t that nice?
Now go eat a piece of chocolate and drink a cuppa tea.
Next, we are ready to fold, pin and hand sew the bias to the quilt back. (You might choose to sew it on with a sewing machine; I won’t judge you, ahem.)
Fold the bias over the corners. Your corners should look like the photo below on the right side of the quilt as you ease that extra bit over them. Remember that fold you made? This is where you’ll find out if you stitched into it or not. (Dread not the seam ripper – it’s your friend, really. REALLY!)
On the wrong side of the quilt you will need to create another miter. So this is what you do. Wrap the bias over the quilt edge, making the folded edge of the bias meet flush against the quilt’s raw edge on one side of the quilt up toward the corner. Flatten the bias open on the other side of the up toward the quilt corner. See the triangle it makes?
Fold under the raw edges of the bias ½” on the right (folded over the edge side) of the quilt. Carefully keep that triangle neat. Now fold down the left side of the bias over the raw edge of the quilt and fold under the selvage edge until the fold rests on the seam and pin in place. Your corner should now look like this:
Check out the front again. Does it still look like this?
Okay, now you are ready to, fold, tuck, corner and pin the bias all the way around.
Slip stitch the bias along the folded edge on the wrong side of the quilt. Your needle will be sliding through the quilt under the folded edge of the bias, picking up one tiny bit of the bias edge at the fold for one stitch. Then you put the needle back in the quilt right where it came out on the bias and slide the needle forward to take another tiny stitch on the bias. Slip and stitch! More chocolate and tea helps this process along.
When you get to the corner you can take a few close-together slip stitches along the mitered fold to keep it neat and tidy.
Bring the needle through to the right side of the quilt (and bias) and stitch the mitered fold there too.
Poke the needle back through to the wrong side right on the inside edge of the bias at the corner point.
Keep on going till you are finished.
Woot! You ARE DONE!!!! Do the happy dance and go show off your pretty new Scrappy Quilt!
P.S. I think my grandson will look absolutely adorable drooling on this, what say you?