Wednesday, March 28, 2018

A binding shortcut tip


It's "Tips, Tutes, and Tasty Things" week over on Sarah's blog. She has this link up every year as part of Hands2Help. So today I'm sharing my little binding short cut. In a nutshell: you don't have to trim off the selvedges after cutting your WOF strips. 


Instead, leave them in place while you sew together the strips at a 45 degree angle. Just make sure to place the strips as shown in this photo, with the selvedges hanging over past where the strips cross each other.


I have pieces of blue painter's tape on the bed of my machine that mark various seam allowances. The right edge of the longer piece of tape is aligned with the needle.


I don't mark the 45 degree line to be sewn. I put the needle down right in the corner where the two strips meet, then line up the other intersection point with that edge of the tape. My index finger is pointing to that spot. (When did I get old lady hands? Sigh.)


Then I sew from intersection to intersection, gently holding the two strips at right angles the whole time. You see the selvedges still well past the seam.


Without cutting thread, I then grab the free end of the top strip, flip it so it is right sides up, and place another strip on it, right side down. Again, I hang the selvedges past the cut sides.


Keep adding another strip to the end of the top one you just finished until you have the length of binding you need. At this point, they are all attached to each other from chain stitching.


With your scissors, carefully clip the chain stitching between just the last two sets. 


Then trim the 45 degree seam approximately a quarter inch. It's not important that it be exact because it will be hidden inside your binding. This removes most of the selvedge in one fell swoop!


What's left behind are the tiny "dog ears." Trim those with your scissors parallel with the length of the strips. Snip, snip!


Now your diagonal seam is neat and tidy. Clip the next chain stitching and repeat for each seam.


All the triangle trimmings and selvedges and dog ears end up in a little pile, easy to clean up. Don't feel guilty about tossing those right in the trash.


Next, I lay out the strips on my ironing board, sort of snaking them back and forth so that the seams are all roughly next to each other, with wrong side of the fabric up.


This makes it easy to press the seams open. Because I trimmed the dog ears, the pressed seams are pretty clean on the binding edges. Please don't look too closely at how stained my ironing board cover is getting. I'm going to miss those bright birds when I replace the cover. And yes, those are fried eggs on the binding fabric!


Finally, press your binding in half lengthwise as usual. Easy peasy! I'm all about reducing the number of steps in a process, and find this method to work well for me. I hope you find it useful, too. Don't forget to head over to the link up to read more handy hints.


Oh, and here's a sneak peek of my next project. I pulled fabrics inspired by the wonderful colors surrounding us here in the Bahamas...

17 comments:

Debbie said...

Sea glass colors! Love them, and it will be a beauty.

Paige said...

Great tip! I'm fond of your new fabric pull too!

Vicki in MN said...

Well geesh why didn't I think about leaving the selvedges while sewing it, great idea! I wholeheartedly approve of your new fabric pull:)

piecefulwendy said...

I do that too, but I haven't tried the chain sewing part of the binding strips, so I need to give that a go. That fabric pull is really nice!

KaHolly said...

Pretty clever, and well written explanation with lots of good photos.

Needled Mom said...

Brilliant! I love the new colors you're using too.

Janice Holton said...

Great tutorial! I do all the steps like you except for the laying out the seams together to be ironed open. Great idea! And we are now also ugly ironing board cover sisters too. Mine is horrendous! I desperately want a new one but am not motivated to make it. One of these days it will drive me nuts enough to do it though.

Nancy @ Grace and Peace Quilting said...

I like that you gave us permission to not feel guilty for throwing away those binding triangles that get trimmed off!!! I've got a hint of that guilt when tossing them. My ironing board needs a new cover, too--I'm in the club! It must be beautiful where you are.

Mystic Quilter said...

An excellent tutorial Louise, thanks for sharing with us. Your colours taken from your surroundings in the Bahamas are perfect - now waiting to see where you go with these.

Fiona said...

It seems ironing board covers is a common problem.... this is how i like to do my binding too but I haven't got tape on my machine... I must do that...
Hugz

Kate said...

Well that would definitely make quick work of any binding. Thanks for sharing your tips and tricks.

Nicki said...

What a great tutorial on how to "chain piece" binding strips. I'm off to get my painter's tape & mark my machine.

Sandy said...

Excellent tutorial! And those fabrics are gorgeous. Can't wait to see what you do.

JanineMarie said...

I have to make a binding tomorrow. I’m going to do it with this post by my side. Maybe I’ll get all my seams on the same side of the binding. I have never thought to put a piece of tape on my machine for those angled seams. Can’t wait to try this! Thanks, Louise!

June D said...

Great ideas! Thanks for sharing!

Sandra Walker said...

I didn’t know that could be a tip about the sellvages! I’ve just done that for years and nobody taught or showed me. Who knew. Great minds as they say! Absolutely ADORE -drooling- over your blues and greens fabric pull.

grammajudyb said...

I'm with everyone else. I do binding this way, but don't have tape on my machine. Bought a plastic square tool thingy years ago, but don't take the time to find it and attach it anymore. Tape will be so much easier. Thanks!