Machine Quilting And Binding

Finishing Your Quilt

Part 1

This month we show you how to quilt simple straight lines to keep all the layers of the quilt together. It’s a simple but effective way of quilting and it’s easily done on a domestic sewing machine. 

You can choose any colour to quilt but I find keeping to a similar colour to the overall colour shows less imperfections, (it’s a bit like topstitching on a garment). 

Our sample is quilted in ‘off white’ in rows every ½ inch, however we started by quilting it every 1 inch. You can then decide if you want to add more rows after (you may find you’ve had enough after 1 inch!) You could also quilt using horizontal and vertical rows creating squares which look great too.

Tips For Machine Quilting:

Use good quality poly/ cotton or cotton thread. I like to use a 40wt or 50wt Aurifil Cotton thread but there are loads of others, Mettler, Madeira, Coats etc

Use a walking foot to help prevent the layers from slipping. You can also decrease the pressure on the presser foot, as too much pressure put on the layers can mean puckers in your quilting, especially when crossing a previously stitched line of quilting. Practice on a test piece first.

Use a quilting bar to help keep the lines straight. Set your bar 1 inch away from the needle. 

Roll the quilt up so that it fits through the arm of your machine and start by sewing a row in the middle of the quilt first and work your way to the outer edges. 

Load up your bobbin and try not to run out of bobbin thread mid way through a row, if you do I like to unpick the row and start again. 

Stitch length should be slightly bigger to accommodate the thick layers.

Place your hands either side of the foot spreading the fabric as wide/ flat as you can. 

You can get quilting gloves which helps to get a firm grip on the fabric, useful if you are going to be doing lots of quilting.

Squaring Up Your Quilt:

Use a rotary cutter, a long quilting ruler and cutting mat to help you square the quilt up. Use the lines on your mat and the straighter lines in your quilt to cut the first straight edge. Try not to cut too much of the border down. 

Use this straight edge and your ruler to trim the other 3 edges. 

You may find that your quilting lines distorted the straight lines of your block, never-mind too much, just square the edge up. Once the edge is bound you won’t notice it much. 

To Make Your Binding:

You will need 0.5m of fabric to make your own binding. 

Cut strips of 2.5 inches across the width of your fabric. Depending on the width of your fabric, will depend on how many strips you will need. You will need enough strips to make 6- 6.5m of binding. Please note that you do not need to cut this binding on the bias as we don’t need to bind around curves. 

To Join The Strips

Lay one strip down horizontally facing up, lay the second strip vertically facing down. Draw a line and pin across from one corner to the opposite and stitch.

Trim the seam allowance to 0.5cm and press the seams open. 

Fold the binding in half lengthwise to the wrong side and press.


To Bind Your Quilt And Mitre The Corners:

Lay your quilt facing up. Starting in the middle of one edge of your quilt and leaving a tail end of binding (approx 20cm/ 8 inches), line up the raw edges of the binding along the raw edge of the quilt. Stitch using a slightly larger stitch length (to accommodate the thickness of the layers) and using the edge of the foot as a seam allowance guide. 

To Mitre The Corners Of Your Quilt:

Stitch until you come up to the corner but stop stitching approx 1 cm (⅜ inch) from the end. 

With the needle in the fabric, lift the presser foot and pivot the quilt 45 degrees so that you can stitch into the corner of the quilt. With the presser foot down, stitch into the corner of the quilt.

Fold the binding back on itself at this 45 degree angle.

Fold the binding again back along the next edge to be sewn. 

Start stitching the next edge as before, mitring the 3 other corners. 

On the last edge stop stitching approx 25 cm (10 inches) before the start of your binding. 

To Join The Binding Ends Together:

Overlap the binding ends by 2.5 inches. 

Join the two ends as you did when joining the binding strips- from corner to opposite corner along the 45 degree angle. 

Trim the seam allowance back to 0.5cm, press the seam open and fold the binding back to lie flat on the quilt.

Finish stitching the binding to the quilt edge.

To Hand Finish The Binding:

Fold the neat folded edge of the binding to the wrong side of the quilt and hand stitch. From the edge of the binding make a stitch directly across to the quilt back and along through the layers (but not through the front), bring the needle up approx 1cm away through the back of the quilt and the binding edge. 

Carry on stitching along the edge. When you get to the corner, flatten the binding so you can stitch right to the edge. 

Fold the next edge of the binding over and carry on stitching (you can stitch the angled part to secure also).

That’s it! Finished at last!! 

In part 2 we will show you how to hand quilt your quilt.