Making Miles of Binding


I found a 100% cotton, dark blue, twin size, fitted sheet at my local Value Village for $4.  I cut off the elastic, washed, dried, starched, then ironed it flat. I now had a ~64”x72” piece of fabric.  I carefully folded it in half lengthwise and ironed the fold.  It was still wider than my 24” ruler, so I again carefully folded and ironed it.

I then cut 3” strips to yield a 3/8” finished binding.  I ironed the folds out of the strips and stacked ‘em right side up.

I used a ruler to see the line of the needle. binding30

  • I marked it with tape on my kenmore binding15 binding41

and a sharpie on my bernina. 

I used my walking foot and the guide to sew the strips together. I simply kept the angles in the two opposing corners on the guide.

binding7  I set the stack of strips on my lap  right side up.

I put the first 2 strips right sides together at about a 90 degree angle.  I lined up the 2 opposite outside corners with the marked line and stitched, keeping it lined up.   I put  strip 2’s unsewn end face up and put strip 3 face down repeating the process of sewing the 2 strips together.  I continued in this fashion until the strips were sewn together, being careful to not get the binding twisted.  I snipped them apart and fed the now really long strip into a basket, checking as I went to be sure my seams all ended up on one side. They did. Yay!

binding39 As I fed the strip into another basket, with a rotary cutter and no ruler, I carefully cut off excess seam allowance.binding31binding24 

I then fed the strip back onto the first basket, ironing the seam allowance open as I went.

binding33 binding11 binding19

I ended up with about 1300 inches – slightly more than 100 feet. 



Binding a Quilt Part 1

My cat Luna got me out of bed at 4 am, so I thought I’d use the time to research quilt binding online.  Previous to now, I have been making my own straight grain binding using a bias tape maker.  The result is a single fold binding I attached to the quilt by machine in one step.  The problems with this method are

  • difficult to attach front and back at same time, sometimes requiring me to re-sew parts,
  • single fold means a single layer of fabric means not as durable.

The traditional method is to machine sew the binding to one side and hand sew the other side. These links illustrate that:

I went looking for a 100% machine sewn binding. This is what I found:

These are miscellaneous links:

Sewing Machine Acquisition

We went to Fenton, MO today.  There is a feed store where we can get  50 pounds of sunflower seeds for $18.  The birds are happy now.  While there, we stopped in the local thrift store, Value Village.  For $21 I got a 1974 Kenmore 158.14301 sewing machine. It was bone dry. I oiled it up.  BrianSews’ Oil it up! is a good link for oiling vintage machines. kenmore 158.143016
Quilting example 14301 At left is a sample of quilting done on the new machine.  A few tension issues, but overall, good.  This machine is 3 years younger than my other 158.  It is a little different, but a lot is interchangeable.  It came with the table, which is larger than what I had been using. What a lucky find!

Review: bobbin washers, needles, and gloves

A few weeks ago I bought a package of Little Genie Magic Bobbin Washers™, a pair of Machingers™ Quilting Gloves, and a package of easy threading needles.

The bobbin washers have improved my stitch quality and the machine seems to run better with it.  Since putting one in my free motion machine (a kenmore from the 1970s), I have sewn thru 5 full bobbins with no problems whatsoever.  They are little Teflon washers that sit between the bobbin case and the bobbin.  They may seem expensive, but they are worth it.

The quilting gloves have greatly improved my control when free motion quilting.  The gloves make moving the quilt around much easier.  I thought I would loath wearing gloves, but they are comfortable and I was able to thread my machine while wearing them.

The needles are to sew in my starts and stops on the quilts.  These needles have a groove at the thread end thru which the thread snaps and is threaded. Works great. Now I can sew my ends in neatly.

All 3 of the products performed as expected or better and I highly recommend these items to improve your own quilting.

Quilting Suppies

I ordered

  • 1    Little Genie Magic Bobbin Washers  $9.79
  • 1    Machingers Gloves – Medium/Large     $7.79
  • 3    Insul-Bright™ Insulated Lining from The Warm Company 22.5″ wide x 1 yard, continuous cut  $8.97

from Sew Thankful.  I had previously got my water dissolving thread from them.  The order shipped promptly.

I am trying the bobbin washers, because I do have the problems they are supposed to fix.  The gloves are also new to me.  I don’t know if I’ll be able to stand wearing them to quilt.  If they really help, I guess I will get used to them. And the Insul-Bright is to make some potholders.

I found out about the bobbin washers and gloves from Leah Day’s blog.  I love her site and she uses and recommends these items, so I thought I would try them as well.  I will post a review of the products later.

Experiment In Basting

Up to this point in my quilting, I have pin basted all my quilts.  I think thread basting takes just as long to do as pin basting.  I work on my quilt in sections lugging it about and patting it smooth.  It takes hours and it isn’t pleasant.  Then the pins get caught on my machine and other things.  Once a quilt is pin basted, it can’t really be folded up and put away because those pins are stressing the fabric, plus they might rust in the long term.  Safest is to quilt it as quickly as is reasonable, removing the pins as you go.

Recently, I googled quilt basting and found this video by Sharon Schamber.  It is in 2 parts and takes about 18 minutes.  She changed the way I baste quilts.  In a nutshell, her method involves rolling the top and back up each on a separate board and unrolling in sections to baste.  She thread bastes with a tatting thread.  Her method of rolling would work for pin basting as well.

Her video is not as clear as possible. For the demonstration, she used the same magenta batik for the top and back and it was difficult to tell what she was doing, although she explains clearly.

A while ago I discovered there were such things as fusible thread and dissolving thread.  I wondered if one could baste with the dissolving thread and that is what this experiment is going to answer.

The thread I am using to baste my waterwheel quilt is Superior Threads’ Vanish light weight water soluble thread. I bought a 2000 yard cone from Sew Thankful for about $27, making it the most expensive thread I own.  Incidentally, I am storing this thread in a Ziploc bag and a few of those silica packs that absorb moisture.

For basic basting direction go here.

For commentary on the basting go here

Bernina So Far

I have sewn on the Bernina now for about 5 hours and I am very happy with its performance.  Overall, it is better than my Kenmore for piecing.  It stitches more evenly and straighter than the Kenmore.  Once the piece is started under the needle, I barely have to guide it; it seems to just go straight thru – no wobbling, no veering off course. Perfect.

The feed isn’t as smooth as the Kenmore’s.  Fabric sometimes wants to snag up just at the needle.  But, I am learning the machine, so it might be user error.

And there is the foot pedal issue. I can live with it for piecing and regular sewing, but I couldn’t quilt with it. I am happy with the machine as is; I could be happier, but I would need to spend money on it and I want to wait to see its performance over months.  If it is consistently good, I’ll but another foot pedal.

I wish I could quilt with the Bernina, because the stitch itself looks really good.  Someday, I will do a comparison with pictures to show you.