In A Quick Bind

MarveLes Art StudiosBlogs 6 Comments

Bindings.  Uhm… not my favorite thing to make, or finish, until lately.  Two reasons.  First, my Bernina 830 machine.  Second, a new technique I learned that finishes the binding, and adds a bit of BLING.  Two for one babycakes! And I love that!  

Like many of you, I sew my binding strips for the 45 degree angle, so the bulk and/or seam is less noticeable, hopefully.  Normally, it’s best to chalk that seam line, and measure, so it was straight.  

 As my friend Lisa would say, I have a ‘fancy-schmancy’ machine in my Bernina 830. True. One of the schmancy parts is built into the throatplate.  There is an angled line that has been cut into that metal, showing the 45 degree angle line to place my binding strips on when sewing for that same angle.  In the pic below, you can see the engraved line, just above the blue strip of fabric, where my wooden pointer is showing. 

I also have a feature called ‘dual feed’ on my new machine.  My dual feed #37 patchwork foot is also attached.  This is really cool in the way it helps feed the thicker pieces of fabric through my machine.  I no longer need to attach a walking foot, and I love that. This little dual-feed piece swings down and clips onto the back of the foot, and when not needed, it just flips back up to the backside of the machine. 

I moved the fabric strip so you could see the line, (two pics above) but I would align my fabric with that line when I go to sew the strips together.  Trim, fold strips in half, press. Next, on to the attachment of the folded binding to the quilt top.

 Stop! Don’t clip those threads just yet!  When you reach the end of stitching into the angle into the corner when attaching the binding strip, don’t cut your threads.  Instead, hold onto them.  As the song says “You got to know when to hold em…!”

And then ‘hold em’ — just like in poker – lol! Hold them in such a way so you can grasp the threads.  This will help ‘jumpstart’ your beginning stitches as you continue sewing on the binding. And would say that is a neat tip no matter what machine you own!

 I’m holdin’ em tight, ready to begin stitching the next section of binding.  I then also make sure the edge of my binding/quilt is on the exact 1/4″ placement, using the engraved 1/4″ line on my throatplate.  If you’d like to see more information about using your patchwork foot, click here.

 This technique really helps you to avoid a nasty knot of threads to begin, and maybe a bit of a ‘snafu’ as there is alot of bulk in the corner… actually 7 layers worth!

 And to finish.  I pressed my binding away from the seams on the front, then turned it to the back, and fused it down with Steam-A-Seam 1/4″ fusible tape.  Then on to the fun part!  Instead of using one my most favorite foots, the #39, (click here for a bit of a tutorial on the #39 clear embroidery foot) with the hole in the front part of the foot… I wanted to show how easy it is to couch on a thick thread, such as Razzle Dazzle, shown above, with the #20 open toe foot.  I’ve set my machine to these settings:

(FYI my bobbin indicator is flashing that I have 18% of thread left in my bobbin–another feature of the Bernina 830). So now choose a zig zag stitch, 1.5 in width, and  a 3.5 in length.  Set the needle position to the FAR right orientation.  Why is that helpful?  Well, it means you can use the foot as a guide, keeping the inside edge of the right-side toe of the foot, aligned with the inside edge of the binding.  (see below pic) Make sense?  That way, the right swing of the needle will pierce the seam (stitch in the ditch), and the left swing of the needle will cover the cord.  All the time… this is sewing a zig zag on the back of the binding, catching the edge, and attaching your binding, all in ONE FELL SWOOP!  Woohoo!

 On the corner, pivot with needle down, and I stop with the needle in the left side position, so that when I turn the corner, the next stitch taken will be to the right, and it will be a nice, neat, ‘squared’ corner, instead of a rounded one, where the couched thread is concerned.

And this is a close-up of the thread… I happened to have a black cotton (Masterpiece) as my top thread, and since it blended so well, it ‘disappeared’ onto this dark-colored purple-blue thread that is couched into the seam on the binding.  I really like it, and it’s just another way to make it simple, and easy on the … hands! And time, too!

I used Masterpiece 50 weight in a green color in the bobbin and a black Masterpiece in the top, when I used this couching technique.

Do you think this is a technique that would suit your binding and quilting styles? 

It sure does mine!  I hope it was helpful. And you don’t need a ‘fancy-schmancy’ machine to do it!  

Come back tomorrow for the “Bittersweet Fall Give-A-way!”

Comments 6

  1. I love your tips and techniques! They are very well presented and clear. Hey, my mid-grade Janome has those markings, and I figured out how to use them just 2 bindings ago. Janome's manuals are very basic and concise, to be kind. I'm sure there's a lot of things I could be using if I knew how. Guess I'll have to pick up a few things from a lovely Bernina girl!

    Holding the threads instead of cutting them at the corner: I do this, but I thought it was because I was lazy! (I have a love/hate thing going with my auto cutter too)

    I love being able to do a machine finished binding, especially for my small wall quilts that I (try to) sell. That's what my presentation was at my local quilt group. You had inspired me to try the couched thread or yarn along the binding and this sunflower quilt is the candidate. I'm glad you posted this, because I usually stitch the binding on the back and stitch it down from the front with a tiny blanket stitch with Bottomline or Monopoly. I was going to then couch the thread down. Your method saves me a trip around the quilt. Yay!

    OK, back to quilting.

  2. My Nina knew that marked angle was on the 820 but I didn't. Super! That 1/4" foot with the differential feed is one of my most favorite things. And I do like your Razzle Dazzle piping. Great post!

  3. Thanks Leslie for the great idea to use heavy thread as a decorative touch in the binding! I've used piping & loved it, but the thread can add sparkle & texture – can't wait to try it!!!!

  4. Very cool technique! I didn't realize the 830 had that 45 degree marking. Cool! It's my dream machine and maybe one day my dream will come true.

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