Perhaps you recall the post “My tribe lifts up my daughter through quilting.” I can’t read that post without tearing up…and I wrote it. How sad is that…?  On second thought, don’t answer that!

Well, the grandson arrived and the quilt sat unfinished on the Handi Quilter for several months.  Thanksgiving was fast approaching and Grandma, who generously donated her dining room for the project months before, was getting antsy to get her dining room back.  So I asked my Daughter if I could finish the quilt for her.  She was sleep deprived and agreed! Yay!

I finished up the quilting (took about 30 minutes since we were so close to being done).  Then I brought the quilt back to my house (disassembled the handi quilter so mom could host Thanksgiving!), and got to work on finishing the quilt.

The first thing you do is square off the corners and trim the edges.  I did this with my rotary cutter and a square ruler.

The second thing you do is measure the perimeter to know how much binding you need.  Then you create the binding.  Usually bias tape is used.  Bias tape is simply strips of fabric that are cut diagonal (45 degrees) to the grain of the fabric.  I didn’t take a picture of making the strips, but the fourth step is to sew the strips into one big long  strip like so:

Notice how the strips are perpendicular. This is for pattern continuity.


The next step is to iron all of the long strip into what’s called TRI-FOLD bias tape. First fold the strip in half lengthwise, then iron this crease.  Then open up the strip, and fold in each side until the sides touch the long crease. Like so:


A trick is to use a pin on the iron board to make a little bar the strip has to go under, then put the iron just over this. Pull the tape out the end slowly.


Notice my adorable little iron. I can’t remember where I got it, but this thing is invaluable.  When I sew, I iron everything. In fact, I would go so far as to say that IRONING is the key to good sewing. (It’s the only time I use an iron, to be fair…)  When you follow pattern directions, they will say “Press the seams” in one direction or the other.  Do not skip this step.  In quilting…the key to perfect pinwheels…Ironing!  Really perfect sewing requires ironing. Period.  This little iron means I don’t have to heat up a big iron for small seams. I don’t risk burning myself trying to navigate 1/4″ seams either.  Pick one up if you can. It cost all of like $10 if memory serves. Definitely worth the investment!


So where was I…ok, yes…the next step once you have your Tri-Fold Bias tape is to pin the binding to the quilt.  There’s some choice here.  I start on the front.  Here’s why.  The side you start on will have the cleaner look.  That’s just my opinion.  Also, I hand sew the second side. Some people machine sew the second side, which then shows up on the first side.  If you are going to machine sew, then make the back your first side. You don’t want the thread showing up on your front.

Just my $0.02.

I think hand sewing the back is the proper way to do it, even if it takes a bit longer.

The right sides together, pin the binding around the quilt.

Looks like a really ugly tie from the 70’s does it?


Now. I’ve debated whether or not to have the discussion about “perfectly mitered corners or not.  I don’t think I will. Instead, here are some links that are helpful:


This post is awesome.  Has great pictures, etc.  I didn’t take the dozens of pictures necessary to really convey the process, and since someone already has…voila.  Go read that then come back here :D.

The next step is to sew the binding on, following the crease made by the first fold going right to left.

You will see this clearly when you place your quilt and binding on the sewing machine and are ready to start sewing

Follow the crease.


See how obvious the crease is?  I would say, don’t sew directly on the crease, but one or two threads INSIDE the crease.  That way, when you fold it over, your threads are kind of hidden.


Ok, so we are cooking with gas now!  Follow the tutorial above when you get to the corners, but sew all the way around the quilt.  Then take out all your pins (unless you did when you were sewing, I’m not a fan of sewing over pins – have broken too many needles that way), flip the binding over and IRON your binding down.

You’ll then bend the binding over to the other side and pin all the way around the quilt.





Here’s the back binding being hand sewn. Notice how the thread disappears? This is called a whip stitch.  I just got lucky and my thread matches.  You could do a blind stitch here if you didn’t have thread that matched as well.


And finally, here are the awesome corners:

Pretty good corners if I do say so myself!



This is the binding fabric that came in the kit. I’m not sure I would have picked it myself.  It was hard to keep the pattern going in the same direction. I miss-sewed a couple of times and had to pick out the stitches. But in the end it came out pretty good.  Here’s the finished thing.  And the backing we just happened to get lucky and found matching caterpillar fabric at a totally different store:


So that’s that.  I bought this kit when my son was like 2.  Now it was made for my GRANDSON.  We started making it when my daughter was about 6 months pregnant, and finished when the baby was about 4 months old.  So, to be honest, one of the fastest quilts I’ve made.  The quilting has words hidden like “Teddy,” “Mommy loves you” and numbers.  My daughter was so proud at how good it came out. And I’m proud of her first quilt!  I’m thrilled with all my wonderful friends and family that helped in making this quilt as well.  Feels like an old fashioned quilting-bee kind of quilt.

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