Saturday, February 14, 2009

Single stitch throat plate

Sewing machines come with a standard throat plate with an oval opening to accommodate everyday sewing. A single stitch throat plate is an added accessory worth investing in. It garners excellent stitch quality for both piecing and quilting. Particularly with free motion quilting, there is a noticeable difference using the single stitch throat plate. One stitch at a time through the hole keeps the stitchline straight and even.

With a standard throat plate there is a greater possibility of fabric bunching up, even slightly. Some of the chronic problems with thread knots and skipped stitches can be remedied with the use of a single stitch throat plate. Just don't try to zig zag, satin stitch, decorative stitch, or shift the needle position with the single stitch throat plate on or you will break a needle!

Copyright ©2009, Sharon Baggs

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Binding Corners & Joining Ends

Instructions on how to make the binding and begin sewing it on the quilt was covered in the previous post so read that one first if you missed it. This is the conclusion on how to handle the corners and joining the beginning and ending strips.

As you are sewing the binding down using a 3/8" seam allowance, stop 3/8" from the bottom corner and pivot diagonally. Stitch to the corner and back stitch. Remove the quilt from the machine and clip the threads.

Bring your binding strip up to create a diagonal fold.

Fold back down. This creates a mitered fold after it is sewn. Pin to hold the fold in place.

Beginning at the top edge, continue sewing a 3/8" seam down to the next corner. When you push the sewn binding back at the corner, it will fold back into a mitered corner.

When you round the last of the four corners you will approach the beginning of the binding strip. The ends are joined by overlapping one of the ends over the other by 2". Trim the excess fabric from the ends so you just have the 2" of overlap as shown.

You should have 8-10" of 'loose' binding on both ends so you can easily join the ends and sew them together.

Join the ends using the same process described in joining all the binding strips (previous post). Lay the left strip right side up and the right strip right side down. Fold the top strip down and press to create a fold. Lay the corner back in place, pin, and sew along the diagonal fold line.

Trim the seam to 1/4" and press open.

Fold the binding strip in half, right sides out, press and sew into place.

Wrap the binding around to the back of the quilt. Hand sew in place. With the tip of the needle, catch the backing and batting, then point the needle diagonally into the binding edge. Continue sewing small stitches. This method is called 'blind stitching' and you want to use a thread color that will match or blend in with your binding fabric. At the corners, sew the mitered corner closed on both the back and front of the quilt.

Copyright ©2009, Sharon Baggs

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Straight Grain Binding

Binding widths vary but when I cut strips 2-1/2" I use the June Tailor Shape Cut Plus. The rotary cutter cuts through the open slots in the ruler to cut strips accurately and quickly. For the king size quilt I'm binding, I cut 10 strips which requires 3/4 yds. of fabric.

Trim off both ends of the selvedges. On an ironing surface, lay one strip right side up, another right side down.

Fold the top corner down to create a diagonal fold so the right side is showing; press.

Lay the pressed corner back and pin, making sure the folded line matches up at each point on the fabric underneath.

Pin in place. The folded line will be clearly visible. Continue the process of joining strips, paying attention to the direction of the print on the fabric. Here I made sure all the red circles pointed down, rather than being up on top. Just turn a strip around to keep the direction the same.

Load your machine with 100% cotton 50/3 thread (Presencia) and a microtex sharp machine needle (I used an Organ titanium tip 75/11). Use a normal or slightly shorter stitch length--this is sewing on the bias. Sew directly on the fold, taking care whilst going over the pins. Chain piece each pinned section.

Take the chain gang and clip the threads between each section. Remove the pins and trim each seam to 1/4" using a rotary cutter and an acrylic ruler. Press the seams open, then fold lengthwise with right sides out and press.

The binding is now double-folded and 1-1/4" wide. Use the walking foot to sew the binding to the quilt edge. Lay the raw edge of the binding (about 10" from the beginning) to the raw edge of the quilt (begin 1/4" distance in from a corner) and sew with a 3/8" seamline.

Check the seamline by folding the binding to the back and make sure the edge will cover the stitches. You may need to readjust your seamline. The binding should fill into the fold so if it's too loose, take a deeper seamline; if it's too tight and rolls, use a smaller seamline.

There are a couple more steps to handling corners and joining the beginning and end of the binding strips which I did not photograph. I'll include those and the instructions in my next post.

Copyright ©2009, Sharon Baggs