Here I am, working at my usual snail's pace, doing the hand-stitching on the binding of a table runner.
There's been a lot of chatter around the blogosphere lately about binding--tutorials and lots of opinions. I'm opinionated about quilt binding too.
I will admit it. I'm a fool for bias. I love bias-cut fabric in all its sewing applications, but especially in quilt binding.
I almost always use bias strips to bind my quilts. The only time straight-grain strips enter the picture is to take advantage of the design of the binding fabric. Hmm. That would be a grand total of ONE quilt in my career. Otherwise, it's bias for me, hands-down, all the way.
There are fancy ways to cut bias strips but I don't use them. Re-inventing the wheel doesn't interest me. I start with a bit less than half a yard of fabric, maybe 15 or 16 inches (any longer and I have to butt one ruler up against another to cut the strips, which requires a third hand. Note to the quilt notion people: I would buy a 3 inch wide yardstick).
I cut the bias strips and seam the strips together.
The seams are pressed open, then the bias strip is folded in half the long way, and pressed. (I always make my binding so that it's doubled when sewn onto the quilt.) Then the folded bias is stitched to the quilt top, keeping all the raw edges even.
What's left is to wrap the binding around to the back side of the quilt and hand-stitch the folded edge along the machine stitching line. With a project like this, I'm good to go for a couple evening's TV movie viewing. I stitch as I go--there's no need to pin or clip down the binding in advance of the stitching.
I like narrow quilt binding. I almost always cut my strips 2 inches wide.
If I hadn't outed myself as a total needlework dork before, here is proof positive: what I love most about bias binding is the subtle rounded-ness of the finished binding as it lays on the quilt.
And binding cut on the bias is supple and yielding. It's simple to ease around curves or other shapes.
The look of quilt binding is a small detail for sure, but sewing is full of tiny details that give great pleasure. And this is one of my favorite tiny details. I especially love to use striped fabric to bind my quilts and I'm always on the lookout for interesting stripes.
Bias cut binding should wear better on a quilt too, as the straight fabric weave isn't receiving constant direct abrasion. That's something to think about, for sure, on a quilt that will get heavy wear.
Bias strips take no more work to make than straight-grain strips and the finished product is a small thing of beauty.
Off to finish this little table runner...