|Because a Needle and Thread Feel Good, and Sticky Glue All Over a Hot Iron Feels Bad|
|Look How It Glows In the Late Afternoon Sun!|
|Green Spool Aurifil, 40 weight 2-ply, Stronger than Orange Spool 50 weight 2-ply|
Updated 6/4/2018: Note to Self -- Don't use the 50/2 weight Aurifil for hand stitching binding next time! It's too fine and it kept breaking. The 40/2 weight Aurifil on the GREEN spools is a much better choice, or else a 50/3 cotton thread like Gutterman or Mettler would be a good choice.
Well, in all fairness, what I was really trying to do was my own mash-up of a couple of different machine binding tutorials. I started with Hayley Grzych's Master Machine Binding tutorial from Bernina's We All Sew education blog.
My thinking was that I own the Bernina machine with the features and accessories used in this tutorial so I might as well take advantage of them, right? So, as per this Bernina tutorial, I cut my binding strips 2 1/2" wide (rather than 2 1/8" or 2 1/4" as I've done in the past). This was a mistake, as I'll explain in a moment.
|Walking Foot #50, Needle +5 (All the Way to the Farthest Right Position)|
|Stitching Binding to Front of Quilt With Walking Foot and Seam Guide|
|Sewing Binding to Front of Quilt|
|Pressing the Binding Away From the Quilt Top|
|Nice, Straight Binding! Looking Good!|
|Buh-Bye, Triangle Points!|
|Exactly 1/8" Chopped Off Every Point|
|Every Precise Little Point Along the Top and Bottom Edges Is GONE.|
I decided NOT to remove my binding, trim 1/8" off the width, and resew it. It is what it is.
Now, Hayley's binding tutorial on the Bernina blog tells me to just wrap the folded binding edge around to the back of the quilt, make sure it covers the previous stitching line, and just pin it in place before stitching in the ditch from the front side of the quilt. But when you put stick pins through thick, puffy quilt layers, you get a little wobble where each pin compressed the layers. I didn't want to risk those wobbles. So I decided to switch to one of the glue basted machine sewn binding tutorials at this point, the most famous being Sharon Schambers' painstaking technique for show quilts. Sharon is an Elmer's School Glue junkie who even glues her binding to the FRONT of her quilt before doing any stitching at all, and then she glues the folded edge of her binding to the BACK of her quilt even if she is going to be finishing her binding by hand, heat setting the glue with a hot iron as she goes along. And her finished bindings look AMAZING.
Well, I have never even pinned my binding to my quilts before I start sewing it on, and I have never had any problem with shifting or puckering. I suspect that's because I'm always using my Bernina's Dual Feed and/or using a walking foot to ensure that my unpinned layers of fabrics and batting are all feeding through my machine without shifting. Maybe the extra step of gluing would make a difference if I didn't have the options of using a walking foot or Dual Feed, and I'll certainly keep it in mind if I ever need to sew binding on with one of my vintage Featherweight machines, but for now, my motto is "If It Ain't Broke, We Ain't Gonna Try to Fix It."
But my friend Susan over at Quilt Fabrication has a great tutorial showing how, after sewing her binding to the front of her quilted placemats by machine the way I did on this quilt, she used Elmer's School Glue (heat set by ironing) to secure the folded edge of her binding on the back of her placemats before stitching in the ditch from the right side. She said it was easy to do and her placemats came out great, so I decided to give it a try.
|Machine Binding Sample|
I lowered my needle tension to 2.25 for the monofilament thread, and decided that I liked a stitch length of 2.25 as well. As per the Bernina binding tutorial, I used Edge Stitch Foot #10D with Dual Feed engaged to stitch in the ditch from the front of the quilt, keeping my eye on the needle as I was stitching rather than watching the blade of the guide on the presser foot. (I had a 75/11 Quilting needle in the machine and could have switched to a smaller size 60/8 needle with the monofilament to leave smaller holes in the fabric, but I didn't bother because I know the holes will close up when I launder the quilt anyway. Also, occasionally I am lazy).
|Quilt Wars Episode 5: The Puffy Batting Strikes Back|
Then I remembered the 1/4" wide washaway fusible "Wonder Tape" that I use for securing knit garment hems in place prior to coverstitching them on my serger. There are several brands of this stuff -- Dritz and Collins are the most commonly available. They are like a very thin, double-sided sticky tape that fuses in place with ironing and completely washes out of the finished project when it's laundered. Lightbulb moment! I started putting it along the edge of my binding, although now that I'm thinking about it, it would be even better to apply the tape directly to the back of the quilt, right along the stitching line.
|Washaway Fusible Tape for Mess-Free Glue Basting!|
Obviously, I survived my latest opportunity to make a fool of myself in church yesterday, because I'm still here to tell you about it. And my quilt is still not done, because hand stitched binding takes forever. I don't care; I'm recuperating today.
|Monday Lisa and I Both Had Rough Weekends|
Here are my takeaways from this aborted machine binding attempt:
- Unless my quilt has a plain outer border, the binding width must be dictated by the 1/4" seam allowances along the outside edge of the quilt top. That means binding strips are cut at either 2 1/8" for thinner cotton batting or 2 1/4" for a thicker, fluffier batting, and the binding gets sewn to the quilt with a 1/4" seam allowance!
- Regardless of whether I'm going to finish the binding by hand or by machine, I need a 50 weight cotton thread that is an exact match to my binding fabric. I had to make a separate trip back to my Bernina shop for the purple Aurifil thread because I didn't remember that when I was shopping for the binding fabric, and my stash of 50 weight cotton thread is primarily neutral blender colors that I use for piecing.
- I should at least try using Wonder Clips (rather than glue or pins) to hold the binding in place for machine stitching. The Wonder Clips have the advantage of less distortion where the 1 cm wide clamp compresses the fabric compared to pinning, and they also won't stab me or catch on the quilt, snagging the fabric as I'm wrestling with the big, bulky quilt under the sewing machine, and using the clips to secure the binding edge would be faster than any glue or fusible method.
- If, after trying the Wonder Clips, I'm still not happy with how the binding comes out, then using a fusible washaway Wonder Tape along the stitching line is probably the way to go over glue. Not saying there's anything wrong with glue for those who use it successfully, but I was getting glue all over myself like I was a kindergartener struggling with arts and crafts -- I'm pretty sure I even had glue in my HAIR. So, Wonder Tape is my friend.
- As for the Dilemma of the Puffy Batting Edges: I think that, if I was using a cotton batting or even an 80/20 cotton/poly blend, the batting at the edge of the quilt would have been easily smashed down into submission just with the iron. Alternatively, I could have run a line of basting stitches right inside of the trimmed edge of the quilt to compress and secure the quilt layers before attempting to bind it. Or I could have compressed and secured the edges of the quilt with my serger before binding it, the way I do with my Minky backed quilts before I apply prepackaged satin binding. But again, the more additional steps involved with machine binding, the less attractive it is as an alternative to hand stitched binding. Now I'm going to be basting, serging, pressing, gluing and fusing before I can even start stitching the binding down?
- One more thing I want to remember: Since I did glue down a good 12-14" of binding before I threw in the towel, I was able to discover that I do NOT like trying to push my needle through the stiff, glued fabric layers when I'm hand stitching binding! Susan Schamber says she feels that Elmer's School Glue is basically like a starch product that helps to "stabilize" fabric for stitching, but I found the glue VERY difficult to stitch through. Maybe I used more glue than she uses, and I'm sure it wouldn't pose a problem for the sewing machine, but for hand stitching binding, I have no problem wrapping the binding around the edge of the quilt as I go along, so the time I wasted spent gluing and fusing the binding edge in place was really a total waste. Having the binding edge already sewn down all the way around the quilt would also make it difficult to hide the knots and thread tails when I'm hand stitching and need a new length of thread.
But for now, the binding of this quilt and any others will have to wait. My kids get home from school soon and, before they burst through the door with their whooping and hollering, I need to review jazz music for tonight's VOX rehearsal.
Have a great week, everyone!