Tuesday, October 14, 2008

How To Sew Binding onto a Quilt - A Tutorial for Beginners

1. Wait until the last minute to acquire the fabric for binding your quilt. It is important to have already shown the almost-finished quilt to the child for whom it is intended, so that she will ask you every 5 minutes if it is ready. Realize you are broke and will have to use scraps to make the binding. Tell yourself it doesn't really matter - it's your quilt!

2. Consult a book written by a "professional" that has "pictures" and "tips." Read these directions once then close the book and put it somewhere where you will be sure to forget where it is. Don't be afraid to blame the children for moving it!

3. Cut strips of fabric to the proper width. What is the proper width? Consult the book. Go ahead - we'll wait while you look for it. Don't forget to close it and set it down again.

4. If the book says you can use strips from 2 inches wide to 2.5 inches, go with the smallest size recommended. That way, there'll be no room for error!

5. Lay the strips across each other perpendicularly, then sew from corner to corner. Trim seam to 1/4 inch and press open. Then drop a few f-bombs as you realize you sewed them right side to wrong side. Keep that seam ripper handy!

6. Once you have sewn all the strips together, fold the strip in half and press. Be sure to stand on some of the strip as you are ironing.

7. Pin the open edge of the strip to the raw edge of your quilt on one side. Where should you start? At the corner? In the middle? Consult the book. Wonder aloud why you don't just leave it open to the correct page so you can reference it when needed. When you cannot figure out what to do from the obtuse instructions, close the book and kick it across the room.

8. Start sewing any damn place. Struggle to keep the quilt moving through the machine in a straight line. Wonder if it's possible that the feed dogs on your machine actually move fabric in a circle. Wonder if quilts really need binding. Stop sewing 1/4 inch from the edge. Or less. Or more. Whatever you can manage. Backstitch and pour a cocktail.

9. To create the mitered corner, take the strip of fabric and flip it around aimlessly, trying to remember what you saw in that stupid book, because, god, you really don't want to have to crawl under the table where you kicked it to retrieve it. Look it up on the internet, only to be distracted by those godawful leggings Lindsay Lohan insists on wearing.

10. Get the damn book anyway and study the picture until you are sure you have the angle and flip and whatever thing down. End up with something that looks more like an origami swan. Tell yourself it doesn't matter - it's your quilt!

11. Continue to sew the binding in a meandering line. Pour yourself another cocktail. Since the damn thing looks like you were drunk while you did it, you might as well be drunk while you do it. Viva Cuervo!

12. When you get to the end of the strip, panic - because you have no idea how to join the end to the beginning. Consult the motherfucking book AGAIN. GOD, you hate that book. Read some nonsense about a "tail" and "tucking" and then start giggling as your mind comes up with some really lame dirty jokes. When your 5-year-old daughter asks what you are laughing about, just say "Underpants." It will be partially true and she will totally understand why you would be giggling about it.

13. Thread a really fat needle with some cheap thread. Make a knot at the end roughly as large as your own head. Slipstitch the remaining edge of the binding to the other side of the quilt.

14. What?

15. No, seriously. Slipstitch the binding to the quilt. Yes, by hand. Well, it's not my fault you are 39 and already need bifocals. And I don't EVEN want to hear about your "carpal tunnel" acting up today. Put on your big girl panties and DO IT!

16. Give up after several stitches that can't possibly be right. Consult internet one more time and discover a few helpful videos on You Tube. Realize that you have been straining so hard to see the quilt without proper eyewear, you now cannot see anything smaller than your husband. Ask husband to refresh your drinky-poo.

17. Tell yourself it doesn't matter. It's your quilt! Then topstitch that stupid fucking binding down, give it to your daughter, who is beyond thrilled, and revel in the glory of your first completed quilt!


jen said...

Right on! That is about how my first binding-my-own-quilt experience went...damn slipstiching! Yay for top stitching and sewing machines with fancy stitches!

~Michelle~ said...

OMG - I had to literally laugh out loud reading this... Now I know what it would have been like to bind the first quilt if I didn't have the crazy 80 year old woman with a broken wrist teaching me (I got yelled at for sticking pins in my mouth!)... And I vote for the top stitching - if you do it right in the ditch, it looks fantastic! :-D

Linda said...

Gee... now i know why I don't bind it! LOL *laughing so hard I coughed up a lung!*

Myra said...

Oh my God! I'm busting a gut here reading this Megan!!! LOL! Absolutely hilarious!!! 8-)
And now I'm thinking, "What? No photo of the completely finished quilt?" and wondering "Did she make a label of her wonderful fully finished quilt?"
Have another drink and be proud of yourself! 8-)
Happy stitchings!

Myra said...

BTW, your award went over very well with the 5 gals I awarded...
I love your blog also! I love the way you relay things in a no nonsense, straight up kind of way... and OH so truly!!! 8-)
Keep up the great posts...?...of course you will!!! It's part of your personality, how could it go any differently!?! 8-)

Anonymous said...

YEAY - I have been on a fab trip but was without my 'puter. Finally got to the computer and LAUGH OUT LOUD. Sounds EXACTLY like my first binding... :) well done!
*passes Megan another drinky-poo*

Anonymous said...

YEAY - I have been on a fab trip but was without my 'puter. Finally got to the computer and LAUGH OUT LOUD. Sounds EXACTLY like my first binding... :) well done!
*passes Megan another drinky-poo*

Anonymous said...

Should I post my comment once more, just for "good luck"? SORRY!

Anonymous said...

BINGO! You've just hit it on the head. LOL, you've just reminded me I've been meaning to post my own little note on a Quilt of Shame I constantly berate myself with! :D

Cheers! Beck

Cathy said...

Every quilt I make I promise myself that I will hand stitch the binding. Well I never have and I probably never will. I hate hand stitching. My sister-in-law loves it. I don't get it.

I have being reading thru your blog and love it. Love your humor.

Megan said...

What amazes me right now is that apparently LOTS of people machine stitch the whole binding, but that is never presented as an option in any book or on any how-to site that I have found.

If I can figure out a good method for topstitching that is fairly attractive, maybe I'll make a real tutorial. One that's more PG :)

Anonymous said...

Love your blog. You have a great sense of humor. I can't wait to read back through older posts.

Karen in IN


Hanne said...

thanks for the laugh - hehehehehe

May Britt said...

LOL.....love what you are writing. It is soooooooo tru. And I just HATE bindings. Some time ago I brought all my quilts that needed bindings to my mother and she did it. But now she is not sewing anymore and I have to do it myself.

Lynn E said...

OMG your too funny . My binding on my quilt is 1/2 hand stitched down and its been that way for 3 weeks. Maybe I should follow your directions and grab a glass or two and it will get done.
I am going to post a link to this post on my blog.

Anonymous said...

OMG .. you're killing me .. just to funny .. is that what I've been doing wrong all these years???



Anonymous said...

just when I vowed I wasnt going to add one more blog to googlereader and I find this. too funny. I havent made proper binding cause it sounds too hard- i always fold the backing over to the front and stitch it down - this tutorial hasnt encouraged me to try. Thanks for the laugh - i hadnt realised there were other people as bad at quilting as me who were willing to admit it in public. i thought my jackass quilt was an alltime quilting low - i think you may give me a run for my money. grin. looking forward to seeing more

Sherry said...

Just found your blog & so glad I did...this post had me cracking up! Love your sense of humor.

sunflowerkat said...

I'm not sure what path I took to land here, but I'll certainly be back. Thank you for starting my day with a good laugh. Obviously, my issue is...not enough alcohol.

Carol said...

Well I guess I could say I love the binding part of the process more than any other part of quilting just to be different but I would be lieing through my teeth. I always machine stitch the binding when giving the quilt to a kid as I don't think they notice a think about the quilt other than the designs (tinkerbell, thomas the tank, etc.)

I can always count on you to get me out of any depressive state I may be in with your posts.

Your better than prozac and cheaper also.

Mary said...

I just wanted to say...I was sent here from one of your newer posts...the knot the size of my head LOL...what a picture. Thanks for the laugh, I'll be reading more.

Helen said...

Ohhhhhhh, I'd love to see this tute on Utube!!

Patty said...


I just found your blog today and LOVE IT!

bingo~bonnie said...

I don't even remember from whoms blog I came from to discover yours tonight - but I did and I found a post about how you may soon be published and you shared the link ot this post... and I have never laughed "out loud" at my computer before tonight!!! but your Binding Tutorial is HA-lar-ious!

la,la,LOVED it and am cutting and pasting the link to this entry to at least a dozen of my firneds right now and also on the quilting forum I love so much!!! :)

Hope to read you in Quilter's Home soon!!! :) and I'll be visiting your blog often now that I've found it ;) I gotcha bookmarked;)

Love from Texas! ~bonnie

Joyce said...

Loved the binding tutorial!! My husband is looking at me strangely (not that that is unusal) guess he thinks there's not anything that funny on the internet. I'm not sharing this site with him! Will be adding you to my blog list. Can't wait to read your next post. Good luck with Mark.

Dionne said...

Absolutely hilarious, and totally worth the hassel of having to look through every single post on your blog because you didn't reference WHERE on your blog it was published AND now I can't just be lazy and wait for it to come in my mailbox a la Mark!
His loss for sure ~ this was seriously funny!

Anonymous said...

Oi. Parabéns pelo seu excelente blog. Gostaria de lhe convidar para visitar meu blog e conhecer alguma coisa sobre o Brasil. Abração