Bindings are the fabric equivalent of the big-time movie musical finale: the loose ends get tied up, everything fits neatly into one little package, the boy finally gets the girl and everybody on the street, in the nightclub, or at the train station joins in dance and song to celebrate the unlikely coupling. I like to do a little fun dance of my own at binding time and I'd like to share that with you. On second thought, maybe I'll share some things I've learned about bindings along the way and save the dance for another time.
I always use 2 1/2" strips for my binding. I cut in the direction of the longest edge of the fabric. I've read a lot about warped bindings caused by cutting on the grain, but I've never experienced this. I tried to make a bias binding once by using the tube process, but I found it confusing, labor intensive and not very much fun.
Before I piece the binding strips together, I press them. This is w-a-y easier than pressing a strip of cloth that is 250" x 1.25" long.
I don't like to use the same fabric for an entire binding. It's just one of those things that I like to mix up. I have a stash of left-over bindings or 2.5" strips so when it's binding time, I have a nice selection from which to choose. Left-over tails make for very interesting scrappy bindings. There's also a good chance they've been ironed (I usually cut and sew the ends on a 45 degree angle but I forgot to do that here for some reason).
I use quite a few hair accessories during the process.
I use the (1) rib clip to hold excess binding as I sew my way around the quilt. Since I have to walk up and down stairs from the basement where I sew, to the dining room table where I pin, this reduces my risk of tripping on the binding and falling down (or up) the stairs.
Years ago, when I thought I was brilliant, I started using those flexible (2 and 3) hair clips to secure the binding edge. Hand-sewing pinned edges proved very painful as I kept jabbing myself but the clips completetly eliminated it. I guess I was brilliant enough to use them but not brilliant enough to market them as binding tools.
I actually use the (4) mini rib clip to hold back my bangs when my hair falls forward during intense bouts of stitching. Hair in my eyes puts me over the edge.
A few close cuts with my rotary cutter convinced me that I should never trim the edges of the quilt until the binding was attached. I like working with the backing still visible when I attach the strip, and trimming after attaching makes for a uniform edge.
Having a precise corner which lays flat is a big deal to me. I do some basic quilting in the corners before the binding goes on and add some later.
So hopefully sometime this week, I'll be doing my binding dance, and if it's binding time for you, let's do a virtual conga around our studios, workrooms, kitchens or wherever it is that you like to quilt. Please join me and Ricky Ricardo. Let's celebrate loudly. BABALUUUUUUUUUU!