Martingale Week #5

“…because I knew you, I have been changed for good.”
    ”  For Good “   –  from the Musical Wicked
(long post with  Pat’s Primer lesson)
I have just had the best weekend! Seeing Wicked with my girls, watching a movie with Sir Quilt Dude and the girls, everyone snuggled, each under one of  my quilts. Sunday morning breakfast together and then up to the sewing room to make some projects for Emily’s new home and Mary Beth’s new apartment, and a side order of cookie baking thrown in. What can be better than that? Now it is Martingale Monday, so lets get our quilt on!
The name of this quilt is “Goin My Way?” It is very simple and is one of those quilts that can easily be made larger. Need it wider..add another vertical strip. Need it longer just continue the braided strips a little longer. The strips are trimmed down vertically after they are sewn so you end up with precise lengths super easy. I put a light neutral outside the braided sections so the body of the quilt would “float” in the center. See I do quilts with borders! Were you worried I would never send you a quilt with borders? Detailed instructions are in the book (well duh!) 
On to the prizes.

This book is another compilation of fabulous quilts from several different designers. Now that I have this book in my hand there are several different quilts I would love to choose for my “Thimbles Club”. Yes sirreee this is another goodie!not a great photo..sorry

Then of course you will get a copy of MY BOOK all signed and smoochy kisses from me in it. 

Your Bonus prize from me this week is the CD of the musical Wicked….dee dah dee dah dooooo… YUP lovely music to sew by! 

Now it is on to the promised thoughts on BINDING. Here we go class lets all sit in our places with bright shinning faces. (oh heavens can you tell I taught Kindergarten and First Grade for 23 years?) If you are an expert on binding you are dismissed to go and sew now.

I have always taught with a basic way of thinking. Don’t tell people (adults or children) how to do something without giving them a reason why you like a particular technique.  I would also suggest learning lots of different techniques and listening to lots of different teachers.. then pick the way that suits you and your sewing style best. (be a life long learner so to speak).

Binding. I prefer Bias binding in almost every situation. Here is why. 


#1: Bias binding is more supple. Bias softens and drapes sooo well.

#2: Bias Binding is more durable. Over time it will out live straight of grain binding. Because of the angle of the threads running down and around edges of the quilt it will be durable. I admit that we could say that we will be dead by the time our binding wears out so why should we bother… lets be nice to our descendants. ok? It is the right thing to do.

 #3: Bias binding cooperates so nicely when stitched onto the quilt by machine and looks so lovely when hand stitched to the back. 

#4: What in the heck is cuter than plaids and stripes on the binding. NOTHING! don’t argue with me here I’m just sayin!

#5: Hand sewing binding down is relaxing and a good excuse to drink a cup of tea, or coke zero, or eat some cookies (or cheetos with your cheeto picker!)


Lets talk about cutting fabric on the bias. First of all…I just can’t deal with the tube method of cutting binding. I end up flopping myself on the floor and throwing a hissy fit.  My friend Betty showed me how to fold fabric super easy to create bias strips. In my book there is a detailed description with handy dandy diagrams. I will show you some photos of what I’m talking about below. Also, Gene made a Utube video of this technique so pop on over and watch him in person..or check out his blog post on this topic the video is on the blog post as well. He did a great job, thanks Gene! I will not be making  a Utube because I would have to put on makeup, get my teeth whitened, see a plastic surgeon, have a pedicure and get my hair cut only to look moderately presentable..you are going to have to deal with my camera.


Cutting Step #1

 Lay your fabric out. Right side up or wrong side up it does not matter. The selvage is at the top and bottom of the photo. Fabric is running lengthwise from left to right. This can be done with a full width of fabric or less!


#2 First Fold

Fold the top left corner down to the bottom edge of the selvage. You have now established the bias of the fabric, which is the diagonal fold! Elapsed time 3 seconds


#3 Second Fold

Fold the bottom left edge (corner) up to the top right edge, folding the second fold onto the first fold. Remember this..“Always fold the bias edge ONTO  ITSELF” You now have two folds stacked onto  each other. Elapsed time 2.5 seconds



#4 Another fold

If you are working with a full width of fabric you will need to fold again with the bottom left edge folded up to the top right edge or “folded onto itself .” The folded fabric will be laying at an angle just like the above photo. Notice the feet in the photo..you won’t have toes like that lookin at you!what a professional photo!  Elapsed time 1.5 seconds

 #5  Turn and Slice

 Gently turn your fabric and slice through all the layers cutting your binding strips. You will want to make the first slice by cutting the folded edges away. I call this  ” Givin the fabric a little haircut”. Once you cut the folds away, cut the binding into your desired widths. I like 2″ – 2 1/4″ you may want to start with 2 1/2″ and then work your way to using 2 1/4″ widths, and so on! Elapsed time 7 seconds.

Total folding and cutting time: 14ish seconds. I really is fast once you get  the hang of it. If you have to find this little tutorial and read it 99 times and practice it may take 7-14 hours. The bottom line here is that it does NOT TAKE any longer to make bias binding strips than it takes to cut straight of grain strips.

Sew your strips together,end to end. The ends are already cut at a 45 degree angle so it is a snap! don’t roll your eyes at me!

Here is the formula for figuring out how much fabric to buy if making bias binding. 

Length of quilt x 2 + Width of quilt x 2 divided by WOF multiplied by width of binding. Then add about 10 inches..or so…this covers your corners and beginning and ending processes the number is generous!

Next time I’ll show you some sewing ideas for your binding to the quilt. Right now you have readers fatigue I’m sure!

Post a comment and tell me if you like live theater and what you have seen and loved. Winner announced on Thursday! (I pinky swear I will make shorter blog posts). I would also love to hear what you think of the Show Me How to Make Bias strips tutorial.