Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Sexy French Fold Binding, Part 2

Yesterday I began a How To series on making french fold binding to finish a quilt. It was all about how to calculate how much fabric you will need for the binding and is geared toward the mathematically challenge (aka, my soulmates). If you didn't get a chance to read it I recommend you head back to it before digging in to the following instructions.

How To Make Your Sexy French Fold Quilt Binding (everybody say: ooo-la-la)--with accompanying soundtrack by Grace Potter and the Nocturnals (see playlist in sidebar):

1) The first step to making any component of a quilt is to prewash and dry the fabric. It is important to minimize shrinkage and color bleed after affixing the binding to the quilt.

2) As always, you should iron your fabric before cutting it.

I have included this photo for those you who (like me)
 would not otherwise use this mysterious appliance.

After ironing it is important for some of us to rest because the next part involves numbers and I don't want you to wear out too quickly. Depending on the time of day you may want to pour a cup of coffee, tea or Cabernet Sauvignon...

3) Fold your fabric in half with the selvage edges together and lay out flat on your cutting mat. (See that little yellow thing with the shiny round end? That's a rotary cutter. It's VERY sharp, so if you chose the Cab for your little rest break you might want to try walking a straight line and reciting the alphabet backwards before proceeding.) Now cut the number of 2 1/2" strips that you calculated while reading my previous post.
4) The next step is mark your 2 1/2" strips in preparation for piecing them together. I could go all geometry on you here (well, actually I probably couldn't having barely passed the class about 30 years ago) but let's not make this harder than it needs to be. Quilting is usually a very precise art, but in this case it's ok to eyeball it. Put one strip on top of the other, right sides together with about 3/4" of excess fabric for each strip. Place a ruler on the top strip connecting the two points where the strips intersect as shown in the photo above, and draw a line. This will be your stitching line.

I probably didn't need to include this picture,
 but it came out pretty nice so I figured "What the heck!"
And who knows, maybe some of you need help envisioning stitching along the line you drew...

5) Now it's back to the cutting mat. If you took another Cab break, you should probably wait until tomorrow to do this...If you're still hanging with your coffee or tea, align the 1/4" mark of your ruler with the line you just stitched and cut off the excess fabric (leaving all fingers intact and attached).

6) Next you'll need to head to the ironing board and iron that seam open before attaching your next piece and repeating the first 5 steps until you run out of 2 1/2" strips. (I'm not sure what happened to the picture for this step, but I was only drinking water when I did this, HONEST!) It's important to me mention that you need to make sure you continue adding strips with the right sides together. This may seem pretty obvious but if you look at the fabric I'm using you'll notice that there's no difference between the right and wrong side. I have gotten to the final pressing of the strip and discovered that I had seams on BOTH sides of my binding (enter the handy-dandy seam ripper).
7) Once you have all your strips joined together with all the seams on the same side it's back to the ironing board where you will fold over about 1" of one end of the strip and press with hot iron (being careful to first remove your fingers). This will be where you start sewing the binding to the quilt.

8)The next step is to work your way down the entire length of the seemingly endless strip folding in half lengthwise and pressing it as you go. When you are done, you will have a long strip of about 1 1/4" width with one folded edge and one rough edge.
Don't worry if you don't have as many freckles as I do. I'm pretty sure it will still work, although I've never tried this without the freckles so I'm not making any guarantees...

That's it for today. Come back tomorrow when I show you how to attach the binding to the quilt.



  1. I wish I had the faintest idea what you're talking about; I feel stoopid. I still love your blog, though. :)

  2. Oh Shiksa! You know you is smart and bootiful :)

  3. hehehe.... sexy and quilt in the same sentence? I don't know. Can't wait to see what the finished product looks like :)