Sunday, March 19, 2017

Nine Patched: Trimmed and Bound

Last time I wrote about my Cardinal Nine Patch, it was quilted and waiting to be trimmed. I was looking for a place to do it because you really do need to layout the whole quilt. Right now I have no space in my house where I could do that.

I debated bringing it to my church which has rooms I could use, but it's too far away to just run there for an evening if I don't have to.

And then I thought about my local library, which seems to do a lot more than lend books. (I've noticed they have a lot of local groups that meet there regularly and it was there I participated in a free exercise program. It was the one that convinced me I am never going to do an exercise class again. I truly hate it.)

Back to the quilt...I called them up and explained that I was hoping to use a large room to do this one step on my quilt. She checked the calendar and told me they had a room free for me to use. Hot dog. So that night, I packed up the quilt (I had to use my largest rolling suitcase), my cutting mat and cutter and whatever else I thought I needed. What I did not bring was my camera so these pictures from my phone may not display very well.

The room did give me space to layout the quilt when I moved a few chairs out of the way:
I measured it in three places in both directions to see if it was mostly even. I think neither side was more than a half inch difference. Over 90-100", I thought that was ok. (The diagonal measurements checking for square were further off, but there's less I could do about that.)

Once I decided where to cut, I then crawled along on the floor with my cutting mat, ruler, and cutter trying to cut a straight edge on all four sides that was square with all the other sides.
In theory, I should be able to follow the edge of the quilt but real life is not that simple. Some places stretch out, some are pulled in, and so it goes. If you have a solid border of any width, you can even it out pretty easily. But I didn't want to cut into my squares very much because the difference in size would have been very obvious. (And for the hand sewn squares, it would have made the seams become unstitched!)  I made compromises and did the best I could.

Then it was time to think about the binding. I told you I had a great innovative idea and now I would see if it would work.

First I took extra 2.5" squares that I had from the quilt and pieced them into long rows, alternating lights and darks.
I also cut long strips of a solid fabric, wide enough to give me a final binding of 2.5"

I cut the long strip of squares in half and then sewed them to a strip of solid fabrci:
Here is a shot of the back after I stitched the seam:
The seams were pressed to the side so they would nest with the seams on the quilt.

After pressing the long seam toward the solid fabric, I had some 2.5" binding ready to go...
The great advantage of sewing a solid piece of fabric to the squares is that I wouldn't be sewing through the multiple layers of the seams when I sewed the binding to the back. The solid piece was wider than the squares and would carry past the fold. Oh, and it meant I didn't have to sew as many squares together!

Now that the binding was ready, I needed more space again. I would be sewing along all four sides of the quilt and there was no way I was going to be able to handle that in the space I have. Fortunately, a couple events came up so I was busy in town for the morning and evening of the same day, but had all afternoon to kill.

I brought everything I needed to the church and set myself up with four long tables. Yes, it took that many to be able to move this quilt around without it wanting to pull itself to the floor.

Then I started on the work, first pinning the binding to the quilt, one strip for each side. I was so eager to try out the binding and see if all my squares would line up, I forgot to fold the binding in half!
Fortunately I noticed before I sewed the seam. In the above picture, the solid fabric was folded up so the raw edge met the top edge, yielding a double binding strip. Then I could sew it.

Since I wanted all the checkerboard squares to line up, I didn't think I could do a continuous binding. I just didn't think I could figure out the exact length I would need to turn the corner and match the next intersection.

So I sewed a separate strip to each side and then did something I've never done before--sewed a mitered corner. I sewed a "V" shaped seam on the wrong side so that when I turned the corner right side out, I had a nice sewn mitered seam:
(I may or may not have used the hashtag "micdrop" when I posted this on Instagram. I was excited...)

Although it's pretty slick and I get the impression that it's what the judges want in juried shows, I'll stick to my folded continuous binding method. Since I have to trim the seam so close to the stitching line to reduce bulk, I think this method is actually less durable that the unsewn corner.

I managed to finish sewing all of the binding and corners in the time that I had that afternoon. When I left, all I had to do was sew the binding down on the backside. It was a long process, so it made it to a couple IG posts:
When I just started and had 382 more inches to go.

Nearing the end and on the home stretch...

But finally, last night, at well past my bedtime, it was done!!

I couldn't imagine a better binding for this quilt:
I love it.


  1. Wow! Very inventive and clever! I love how it turned out. Most of us just want to "get it done", so you get credit for slowly working through to the end.

    1. Thanks, Nancy! It helped to prepare the binding while I was waiting for space to be able to trim the quilt. :)

  2. My gosh, what you did with the binding has me floored! This turned out so wonderful, and I'll never complain about binding again as long as I live! GORGEOUS quilt!

    1. Thanks, Snowcatcher. Like it or not, sometimes you just have to do what the quilt tells you! :)


Comments are moderated so you will not see yours post right away. Thank you for leaving a comment; I enjoy reading each one!

May I suggest?

I Say! or at least I did once...