Saturday, May 19, 2012

Tutorial: How to press your binding in half really fast

When you make a traditional double-fold binding it takes a while to fold your binding in half and press it.  It takes a really long time if your quilt is very large.   Enter shortcut.  I'd seen a version of this before, and used it a few times, but at HMQS last weekend Suzanne Michelle Hyland demonstrated this easy technique, improved over the one I knew, and I doubt I will ever go back.

Materials needed: ironing board and iron, cross-grain binding strips (sorry, this won't work with bias binding), and three LONG pins, such as corsage pins.  If you have joined your binding strips on the bias to reduce bulk, be sure to trim off your dog ears left behind at the seams before continuing.

I've had these corsage pins since high school--I'm glad I could find them.  Apparently I got them for 40% off. =)
 The first step is to fold and press the first 10 or so inches of your binding the old-fashioned way.
Next take a corsage pin, poke it through your ironing board cover and back out, over the end of your binding, and back into the cover on the other side.  You want a snug fit, but don't actually go through your binding.
 Next leave a space about 6" wide and do this again twice.  I'm right handed so I did the two pins to the right.  For you southpaws out there, it would probably be easier to do it the other way. Having two pins on the right side helps add stability, but it would probably work if you only had one.
 This is the fun part.  Lay your iron on your binding between the pins.  Using your left hand, pull the binding through under the iron.
 Use your right hand to help feed the strip through evenly.  You will use both hands at the same time, I couldn't do that and take pictures.  This is why you need to trim off your dog ears--they would get caught going through the pins.
 If you are doing a very long binding, it seems like a good idea to pause every little while and lift up your iron so your board doesn't get too hot.  We don't want any fires here.  My iron has an automatic shutoff if it is left in the down position for more than 10 or 15 seconds, so I used that as my cue to take a quick pause.  Lifting the iron also reset the safety feature and turned it back on.
 And there you have it!  You can fold and press your entire binding in a matter of just a few minutes.  Remember, this only works for cross-grain binding.  This method would stretch bias binding out of shape.

Now here's another tip I recently learned.  I used to just leave my binding in a pile next to me and sew it on.  It was constantly getting tangled around itself and I'd have to pause and straighten it out.  Rolling it this way will keep it neat and organized, and it will also unroll evenly without even twisting!  It is also a convenient way to store your binding if you aren't going to use it right away.

First, hold the end of your binding in the crook of your thumb and forefinger, as shown, leaving a small tail.
 Wind your binding around your finger, then over the center again, making a loop.
 Next wind it around your thumb and back over the center again.  Make sure that the same side of your strip stays down the whole time.  If it twists, it will twist when you unroll it.
 Keep winding around your finger and thumb until all of it is wound up.  Remove it from your hand and turn over.  The tail sticking out from inside is what you will start with.  As you sew it onto your quilt it will come out easily and evenly.  I did mine pretty loosely, and then put the binding bundle in my lap.  As I was sewing it on I almost forgot about where the binding was coming from, it was so easy.
I hope these were helpful ideas!  They sure make binding easier for me.


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