How To Make A Quilt With Floating Bias Binding


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Sewing Bee Fabrics Tutorial

How To Make A Quilt With Floating Bias Binding

Free sewing tutorial - How to make a quilt with floating binding

When I was small, I had a quilt with a silky edge. It was such a nice feeling rubbing the 2 pieces of silk together that even after the blanket had fallen to pieces, I kept the edge until probably my mum decided it was time for it to go. So this may not been the typical binding you are used to on a baby quilt, but I had to recreate the floating empty silky bias binding for the quilts I made for both my children. I'm going to show you how I made the quilt and binding for my daughter's.

What You Will Need:

Lots of cotton scraps or at least a few different patterns to put together. You can make your quilt to any size, so however much covers the size you want.

Cuddle Fleece for the backing - have a piece a little bigger than you want your quilt. It's much easier to trim it to size after quilting your cotton onto it.

Thread

Wide Satin Ribbon - you can use single faced where only 1 side is silky, but it is FAR FAR better from a tactile point of view to use ribbon that is silky on both sides.

How To Make It:

I don't have enough sleep or patience at the moment for a lot of the amazing designs that take extreme precision to cut out, but if you do, brilliant... make any quilt top you like! My cheats way of doing it quickly is just to keep either the width or height a standard amount then chop off whatever on the other dimension. It's easier to get straight lines and a more uniform interpretation of your set width (and therefore nice flat lying seams when you come to quilt) if you use a rotary cutter to cut out your pieces.

Using a rotary cutter to cut out cotton pieces for quilting

Then I just lay them on the floor until I have made a quilt shape and pattern I am happy with. Just make sure to overlap your pieces a little to take into account the fabric lost to seam allowances.

Random cotton placement for quilt top

Then gather up the cotton fabric pieces in rows (along the lines where you cut it the same - width or height. In my case, I made the equal size go across the width of the quilt). I find it helps to stack up the piles and pin which number row it is to it, so I don't muddle the order and end up with similar blocks all being together.

Keep quilt rows in the right order by numbering your piles
Keep quilt rows in the right order by numbering your piles

Place the top piece right sides together with the second piece in your stack and sew together. I prefer to use a quarter inch quilting foot to help keep all my seams even quickly. Repeat with the second piece to the next piece and sew on until you reach the end of the row.

Sew together 1 row at a time to make strips across the width of your quilt
Sew together 1 row at a time to make strips across the width of your quilt

Make sure you press your seams either flat or to 1 side. It's personal preference, but just keep it the same throughout for a better look. Again I find it easier to keep numbers clipped to the strips to keep them in order.

Iron your seams flat but be sure to keep your order by clipping numbers to your fabric
Iron your seams flat but be sure to keep your order by clipping numbers to your fabric

Now just do exactly the same to sew the strips together. Face the 2 rows right sides together and sew your quarter inch seam. My tip here would be to sew your quilt into halves or thirds with your strips and join the segments at the end, as the more you sew together the bigger, and weightier it becomes, and so the harder it becomes to sew.

Sew the strips together with a quarter inch seam
Sew the strips together with a quarter inch seam

Iron all your seams out flat again... it will feel like your ironing forever but trust me, it's worth it.

Iron all your seams out for the quilt front
Iron all your seams out for the quilt front

Now you need to attach your quilt front to your cuddle fleece. If you have any rows that are much longer, you may want to trim them first, but otherwise it's quicker just to trim all your edges at the end. Lay your cuddle fleece flat on the floor (if there isn't space, you'll have to do half at a time and roll the other half up but it's easier to make mistakes that way so try to get it flat if your new to doing this).

I rolled back the cotton top and used quilt basting spray between the layers to hold it in position. I then pressed down on the quilt to help the layers bond together... sitting on the bit you've just sprayed and stuck works well! I put a few pins in around the edges just so I don't accidentally pull the layers apart. You can do it all with pins but you get less fabric movement and less stabbing from pins mid sewing if you do it this way.

I then used a free motion quilting foot to doodle all over in a cream thread to quilt the 2 layers together. If you prefer though you can always quilt with lines of stitching or another pattern. If you haven't used a free motion foot before, then you might want to check out our free motion foot guide

Join the cotton to the cuddle fleece by quilting - doodling with a free motion foot
Join the cotton to the cuddle fleece by quilting - doodling with a free motion foot

Keep going until the whole quilt is covered. I find it easier to start from the middle and work my way towards the edges or I have a habit of bunching up fabric. Once it's done, trim off the excess cuddle fleece and uneven edges.

Once quilted, trim the edges of the cotton and take off the excess cuddle fleece around the edges
Once quilted, trim the edges of the cotton and take off the excess cuddle fleece around the edges

Now you can make binding from satin fabric, but from someone that's tried it both ways, then you'll find using ribbon makes things so much easier.

I placed the ribbon so that the edge was level with the edge on the back of the quilt (if your ribbon has a pattern to it, place it pattern side down). Sew quarter - half I find using a walking foot makes it much easier for all the fabrics to move through the sewing machine together.

Attach ribbon as quilt binding with a walking foot
Attach ribbon as quilt binding with a walking foot

When you get to a corner, you need to leave enough ribbon to cover the corner on the other side too, so the easiest way is to sew up to the corner. Stop. Flip your ribbon across at 90 degrees away from your quilt.

How to do corners with quilt binding
How to do corners with quilt binding

Keep the fold where it is, especially the point of it, and fold it back on itself.

Make quilt binding corners complete by bringing the ribbon back over the fold

Simply start sewing again from the next edge.

Keep going until you get towards the end. To hide the raw edges of your join, bring the ends together and put a pin to join the edges where the binding would sit comfortably flat.

Mark where to join quilt binding ends
Mark where to join quilt binding ends

Now move it away from the quilt edge and sew close to the pin line (when you attach the other edge of the ribbon this join will then be hidden underneath). Trim off the excess. I added a little fray check to the ends to make the join a little more durable, but you could always zigzag the edges too. Now sew it down in place.

Sew down your ends to finish the backing quilt binding
Sew down your ends to finish the backing quilt binding

Press the other side of the ribbon under all along the length. I don't do this before attaching it as all the handling can make it fall out of shape a little. An easy way to get a uniform amount turned under is to mark your thumb or finger and match the edge up to your markings as you go.

Mark your finger or thumb as a guide to pressing perfect edges with the iron
Mark your finger or thumb as a guide to pressing perfect edges with the iron

To create your empty floating binding, bring the edge of the ribbon around and line your ribbon edge up just passed your line of stitching from the back. Sew as close to the edge as you can. Go slowly and carefully. By sewing like this you will end up with a line of stitching on the back so close to the binding that between that and the cuddle fleece fluff, you wont spot it unless your really looking for it. The ribbon will sit away from the quilt and will feel really silky to rub together.

Sew as close to the ribbon edge as you can to secure the front of the quilt binding
Sew as close to the ribbon edge as you can to secure the front of the quilt binding

Pass a strip of stabiliser or greaseproof paper underneath the binding as you sew to protect your satin from being damaged by the feed dogs as they try to pull through so many layers with weight behind.

Pass a strip of stabiliser or greaseproof paper under the binding as you sew to stop the feed dogs from damaging it.
Pass a strip of stabiliser or greaseproof paper under the binding as you sew to stop the feed dogs from damaging it.

Then your finished!

Free sewing tutorial - How to make a quilt with floating binding

Have you tried using ribbon as binding before? What's your favourite type of binding?

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