Archive for the ‘Tutorials’ Category



November 20, 2006


I’ve been playing around with different techniques that add a third dimesion to quilts. Here is one that I was working on yesterday. I’m calling it crumpling. I don’t know if there is an “official” term for it. I’d like to know if you know of another name for it.


It was very simple to do. I cut out a circle of fabric about twice the size that I wanted the finished circle to be. I gathered the edge of the circle by my favorite method which is by zig-zagging over a thread which can then be pulled to gather.


I gathered the edge in until it was the size I wanted it to be and sewed it in place on my foundation fabric. This left a puffy dome in the middle.


I crumpled the dome down in the middle and hand tacked it in place. Then I went around the circle, pushing an area down and tacking in place and then on to another area and tacking it down in place. I was able to rearrange the valleys and hills as I wanted before tacking them.


As you can see from this photo, I should have turned under, or finished in some way the edges of the circle before I sewed it in place. But it worked OK for this experiment.

I imagine that this would work for other shapes as well; squares, triangles or even organic shapes. It adds some dimension to the fabric along with shadows, highlights and interesting texture.


A New Trick

September 15, 2006

Don’t let them tell you that an old dog can’t learn a new trick. Because I did just that this week; I learned a new trick. Look at this:


One bias strip about 2 inches wide, one piece of cording. The cord is about twice as long as the bias strip.


Wrap the bias strip around one end of the cord with the right sides together.


Sew across the end of the bias strip near the center of the cord and sew down the length of the bias strip. Don’t snug the needle tight against the cord. Leave about 1/4 inch space. Trim the seam allowance to about 1/4 inch.


Push the bias strip toward the opposite end of the cord, turning the strip right side out.


Viola, piping with no seam allowance!


It can now be knotted, twisted, turned or laid straight and stitched in place. How cool is that?!

Have a great weekend!


Piped Binding- How I Did It, Part 3

August 8, 2006

Note: This series on piped bindings begins on August 4.


The next step, joining the ends in a mitered corner, looked tricky but was fairly easy. Working with the beginning tail of the piping/binding combo, I folded it to the front of the quilt and finger pressed the fold into the binding. I opened the binding again and folded the quilt on a 45 degree triangle and lined up the raw edges of the quilt and binding. In the picture above the fold is in the blue binding right next to the red piping. Also note how the quilt sandwich is folded in a triangle.


I used a 45 degree triangle to mark the miters on the binding. A ruler with 45 degree markings would also work. The first line was from the last stitch in the corner to the fold. The second line was from the fold to the finished edge of the piping.


I stitched these lines making sure that the finished edges lined up. I backstitched at each end to secure and trimmed the seam allowances.


I turned the binding to the front and Viola! I had a mitered corner. How cool!


I turned the remainder of the binding to the front of the quilt and pinned it carefully in place. I found that taking the time to pin everything precisely saved time in the long run.



I used the pin-tuck foot again to guide the piping through the machine. The stitching line goes through the piping, in the ditch next to the binding on the front


and through the backing in the ditch next to the binding on the back. On these samples I used a white thread so it would be easy to see the stitching lines. On the real quilt, my piping was red and my backing was blue so I used a red thread in the needle and a blue thread in the bobbin.


So that is how I did it. I would love to hear how others do a piped binding also. We can never have too many tricks in our bags!!


Piped Binding- How I Did It, Part 2

August 7, 2006

Note: I edited Friday’s post; Piped Binding- How I did It, Part 1; adding that I trimmed the piping seam allowance to 1/4 inch before sewing the piping to the binding. 🙂


Once the piping was sewn on to the binding I folded the binding in half, wrong sides together and pressed, being careful not to stretch the bias edges.


I placed the binding/piping on the wrong side of the quilt lining up the raw edges with the binding extending at least 2 inches beyond the edge of the quilt. Stitching started at the point where the stitching lines cross, which I marked earlier. I used a pin through the quilt to show where that point was on the binding. I backstitched to secure and then stitched about a 6 inch section along the edge of the quilt. At this point I checked to see if the binding wrapped around the edge of the quilt as I wanted it to. It should wrap around, cover the stitching lilne and the piping should extend beyond the stitching line. This was the tricky part because different thicknesses of fabrics and battings will make the binding wrap around the edge differently. I found I had to rip out the stitching and move it over a hair’s width to get it right. So this is where patience and persistance come in handy!


After I got the seam allowance width right I stitched the entire length of that side of the quilt. I stopped stitching at the point where the stitching lines crossed in the next corner. I backstitched and removed the quilt from the machine.

Before starting the next edge, I folded a miter in the corner:


fold binding diagonally off the edge of the quilt,


then fold it back onto the quilt even with the next quilt edge. The next line of stitching began at the edge of the quilt and continues down the next side. I continued stitching around the quilt, making miters at each corner.


At the final corner, I folded back the beginning side of the binding so as not to stitch through it. I sewed to the point where the stitching lines cross and backstitched to secure.


Part 3 will detail how I joined the two ends into a mitered corner…


Piped Binding- How I Did It, Part 1

August 4, 2006


When I posted a picture of my first piped binding there were some questions about how I did it. I’m sure there are different ways of sewing piping on a binding. Quilting is versatile like that. I learned this method from Debra Wagner’s book Traditional Quilts, Today’s Techniques. I like this method because it is sewn completely by machine. It took some practice on sample pieces first, to learn how to line everything up for that final line of stitching. But it was worth the effort as the final look is so professional.


To prepare the quilt sandwich, I went through 3 steps. I trimmed the quilt to size. I zig-zagged the edges to ensure the top and backing would lie flat and smooth. And I marked the stitching lines on the corners. As my binding was to be 1/2″ wide I marked the stitching lines at a little less than 1/2″ from the edge. These lines will be used later as the binding is attached to the quilt sandwich.


To prepare the piping I used 1 1/2″ wide strips cut on the bias and cut to the desired length plus 10″. I would suggest a good solid cord be used as a filler. I pressed the bias strips in half lengthwise, wrong sides together, being careful not to stretch the bias edges. I inserted the cord snuggly into the fold and stitched along the edge of the cord but not through the cord. I found a pintuck foot helpful in guiding the cord precisely through the machine next to the needle. A piping foot could also be used, maybe even a blind hem foot; any foot with a slot to guide the cording straight under the foot at a consistent distance from the needle. After it was sewn I trimmed the seam allowance to 1/4″.


After the piping was finished, I prepared the binding. I used 3″ wide bias strips (6 times the finished width of the binding). The strips were the desired length plus 10″ also. The piping was then stitched along the center of the binding. To set up the machine I measured 1 1/2″ (1/2 the width of my binding) to the right of the needle and marked it with tape so I could stitch exactly down the center of the binding. Again, I used the pintuck foot to guide the piping through the machine.

To be continued…


Piped Binding

July 30, 2006


How cool. The piped binding turned out to be pretty easy to do. I think it lends a sharp finish to the quilt. And I am thinking of a hundred other ways to use piping too.