Monday, April 20, 2015

Satin Blanket Binding Is Evil, and Pineapple Log Cabin Blocks Are Lonely

I think we are all sick and tired of looking at my Amish Baby 54-40 or Fight quilt, which I have been working on v-e-r-y s-l-o-w-l-y due to my temporary (but thoroughly annoying) disabilities.  So let's look at the pineapple log cabin blocks that are waiting patiently for me on my design wall instead:

I'm Coming Back, Pineapple Log Cabin Blocks!
If I knew ahead of time that I was going to have a bike accident that put my right arm in a sling and a splint on my left thumb, I could have planned all of this much better.  I would have finished quilting and binding the Amish Baby quilt PRIOR to injury, and I would have cut out lots of pieces of fabric ahead of time so I could piece them together by machine while I recovered instead of painfully wrestling with quilting and binding a heavy Minky-backed quilt with slippery, sadistic satin blanket binding.  But then again, had I known I was going to fall on the bike that day, I would have stayed home and spent the day quilting instead!

I have had it with this satin blanket binding, in case anyone is wondering.  Oh, it probably looks fine to other people, just like my other satin binding quilts looked fine, but it annoys me that I can't make it look BETTER than fine.  From the front of the quilt, it looks fantastic:

Satin Binding, Front of Quilt
And from the back, it looks great in some places:

Satin Binding, Back of Quilt
...But in other spots I have barely caught the edge of the satin binding in the stitching and I worry that it might come loose after the first or second time it's washed if I leave it that way.  Exasperating!!

Satin Binding from Back, Problem Spots
See what I mean?  I have scoured the web for tutorials in hopes that someone has figured out a more accurate way to sew this premade 2" blanket binding to a quilt, and most of the tutorials picture photos of binding that looks just like mine or even worse.  The best looking ones are where someone is using this satin binding on a much thinner and less bulky project than mine, like two layers of flannel or two layers of fleece.  Mine is a pieced quilt top, 80/20 polyester batting, and then the Minky fleece backing.  No matter what I try, I cannot get the inside edge of the satin binding to align precisely on the front and back side of the quilt so that the zigzag stitching line falls exactly where I want it on the front and back.  So, here's what I'm thinking.  Who says I have to use the single fold prepackaged satin binding in the first place?  If I want a 2" wide finished satin binding on a baby quilt. why can't I just buy yardage of a polyester satin fabric in the color I want, starch the snot out of it to make it behave like a cotton, and then cut and join strips that are 4x the finished width plus extra to wrap around the edge?  Why can't I sew a satin binding to the quilt using exactly the same method I would use to sew a regular cotton binding to a quilt?  I could fold the satin strips in half, serge the raw edges to the raw edges of the quilt from the back, then straight stitch 2" from the raw edge on the back, fold over to the front and pin along the stitching line, and THEN zigzag along the fold line from the front side.  It would be at least as durable a finish as the prepackaged satin binding, and would have the added advantage of giving me more options for finding the perfect color fabric.

Meanwhile, for the current project, I'm planning to stitch a second row of the triple zigzag just inside the first row of stitching.  That way I know the binding is securely attached on both sides, and it will look like I planned it to be two rows of stitching for decorative reasons from the front.  It looks okay on my sample:


Sample with Double Row of Zigzag Stitching
I'm linking up with Design Wall Monday at Patchwork Times, Main Crush Monday at Cooking Up Quilts,  Sew Cute Tuesday at Blossom Heart Quilts, WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced, and WIPs On Wednesdays at Esther's Quilt Blog.  Happy stitching!

19 comments:

~Kris~ said...

So very sorry about your accident. You are brave to try binding with a sling and a sore thumb. I am glad you are able to keep your sense of humor. I am sure Nancy Zieman has some slick way of sewing on satin binding as she seems to know exactly how to sew everything. I like the look of the double zigzag. Very clever.

Annie said...

You are brave! It's difficult to put a pre-made satin binding on a blanket. I don't know anyone who puts satin binding on quilts. Now I know why! I'll stick to my own double-fold cotton binding.

Dar said...

I love your pineapple blocks. They are looking so great together with the greens and blues. Sorry you had a bike accident. I am a bike rider too and thankfully have only had one accident that kept me off the bike for a spell, but I could still quilt and sew. Take it easy and let everything heal and you'll be good as new in no time.

Jenny K. Lyon said...

Just not a fan of machine applied binding for that very reason-the reality is that it will always be wonky from the back. So sorry-the quilt is so special!

SJSM said...

Hope you are healing well. It's tough to throttle back and give time up to allow your body to heal.
Regarding satinn binding. I made a blanket with purchased polyester that I cut into strips. I gave up on putting in a flat binding and ended up gathering it instead. Looking back I would have planned that all along. I ended up putting the satin edges on before putting on the backing. Both layers were Micky fabric so lots of stretch. I left a hole and pulled the blanket through. Ttop stitching from the front to hold the two layers together on the edges. I added more stitching throughout to hold the pieces together. It turned out great. The kid drags it around, it's been washed A LOT and the edges have not frayed at all. It is a very sturdy finish.

Perhaps you can extrapolate from this to allow a gathered edge that is sandwiched between the front and a portion of binding that will be on the back. Allow an extra wide binding for the back to hold the stitched edges between the layers. Place the gathered seam of polyester between to the front with the seam edges even and the gathers facing the center of the quilt. Top with your back binding edges being ironed similar to bias tape and as deep as the seam edge for your gathered polyester. . Open up one edge lay it right side down with edges even with your quilt and polyester edges. Sew. Flip the binding edge to the back, overlapping slightly with the quilted back and top stitch in place. You could then add a fancy stitch from your sewing machine to quilt over the seam edges from the front to blend with the rest of your quilt and flatten out the polyester.

Just a thought.

Maggie said...

For the pesky slippery binding, use some wash away tape, it is sticky on both sides. stick it to your quilt first.Then when you are ready, peel the paper off the tape, position your binding in place, do top and the bottom.Then stitch the binding.The tape disappear when the quilt is washed.

Georgi said...

OMG ~ those pineapple blocks are G O R G E O U S!! I took a class in making those about a year ago and did one block. I really need to get more of those done!!

Barbara Sindlinger said...

Loving the pineapple quilt. Can't wait for you to feel better so you can work on it again. Hope your recovery is coming along well. The x-ray looks amazing. (Oh and I would never even attempt a binding like what you're doing on the baby quilt.)

Plum Cox said...

Wow! You have really high standards for yourself! I think that your binding looks fine (although I do take your point that you are worried about it not lasting as well when washed, surely either the sewing must snap or the binding fray for that to happen, and there is no reason to think that that is going to happen).
What you have achieved whilst temporarily below par is wonderful! Perhaps you can co-opt some help with the cutting so that you can get on with the piecing that you can manage more easily?
Wishing you a speedy recovery!

Val's Quilting Studio said...

Oh Your pineapples are just wonderful!!! Your color comibination is just perfect! Feel better soon...darn it! (I hate being laid up)

Lisa said...

I am so sorry about your accident! I hope you heal quickly.

The Pineapple blocks look super complicated! I am impressed!

Rebecca Grace said...

The pineapple log cabin blocks are actually pretty good-proof, paper pieced with strips.

Micki @ 2 Dogs Studio said...

Your pineapple quilt blocks are awesome. mick@2dogsstudio.us

stitch quilt knit said...

your pineapple blocks are the best looking ones I've seen. Love it!!

the zen quilter said...

Those pineapple blocks are fantastic! And I have to laugh - even an injury won't stop us from trying to quilt - we quilters are a rather obsessed lot, aren't we? You go, girl!

Wendy @ Wendysquiltsandmore said...

I love your thinking regarding your accident. I have rheumatoid arthritis and it flares up in different places. When it's my foot, I wish it was my arm. When it's my hand I wish it was my knee. There's never a convenient place to get injured or hurt, is there. Anyway, I see that you are struggling on as all good quilters do. I hope your injuries heal quickly. Thank you for linking up with Sew Cute Tuesday.

Zelda15 said...

I have a hard enough time with 2 good arms, so congratulations on the completion of your quilt. I would think yardage might be better for the binding, but a lot more work also. The prepackaged binding of today seems so stiff and the edges are almost sharp enough to slice your finger on. I found a few packaged of 2" satin binding at an estate sale of a sewer last summer, so I grabbed it up. I could not believe how much softer the binding of the past is compared to the stuff they are making today. So how did you make it look ruffled is my question? It turned out simply beautiful. And don't forget that old saying that we are our own worst critics. Sending you healing prayers.

Rebecca Grace said...

Hi, Zelda15. You asked how I got the satin binding to look "ruffled." If you look at the first picture in this post, you can see that the binding was smooth and flat when I sewed it on. The second row of zigzag stitching drew it in and gathered it a little on my little scrap test piece. For the real quilt I ended up with a slightly gathered effect to the satin binding once it was finished, though. Although I had prewashed and preshrunk my cotton fabrics prior to cutting them for the quilt top, there was some additional shrinkage as usual when I laundered the finished quilt. The cotton fabrics in the quilt top shrank slightly but the polyester satin binding (which did start out stiff) does not shrink at all -- it just softens up and crinkles a little, creating that gentle ruffled effect that you see in the final photo. I'm thinking there is probably starch or sizing on the satin binding to stabilize it and make it easier to apply that washes out of the finished project. The satin binding on this baby quilt is VERY soft now that I washed the quilt.

Beth @ Cooking Up Quilts said...

So sorry about your accident! I really like your pineapple blocks, they will make such a pretty quilt. I have no experience working with satin so I'm no help there, but I agree that you should be able to purchase satin and make your own binding. I hope you find a way to make it work that you like. The double row of stitching looks really good! Thanks for linking up to Main Crush Monday!

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