Saturday, May 6, 2017

Another Try at Binding: Inner Corners

Almost done with my interpretation of a class project quilt, and time to think about how I want the edge of the project to be bound.  Instead of regular 90-degree corners, this time I want to do a binding that has at least a few inner corners!

The sites I found to help are:

Added 5-12-17:  Shasta sent me link to a tutorial she prepared on binding too:
Added here as a resource to refer to:   Thanks!

  • Make a small cut into the corner.
  • When you near the inverted corner, draw two lines on batting to show where the needle should be down when you pivot.
  • Stitch to the back then wrap to the front (she only machine finishes). Her inner corners do not have miter, but look nice.  She uses thread to match the fabric.

  • Example shown is a scalloped finish.  I think once I do then the detailed photos will really help me with making the mitered inner corners - and finishing up the binding on a curve. Sews on front then flips to the back.

  • Adds hint of stay stitching at the inner corner, then doing the cut and sewing binding on. Sew on the back, flip to the front. - From

  • Sew on front, wrap to the back.  Stay stitch and cut. GREAT demo. Shows how to adjust the fabric at the inner corner. Using a sample piece and pins.  Her website has other helpful videos.  Can't tell if she is updating things for her $10/month subscription service, or if she has recently moved. Can't find the handout referred in the video, so it must be behind the subscription. There doesn't seem to be an index of what the titles are in the subscription or how her whole system works.  : ( Might be able to buy or check out her books where she has written out the information. Not my Grandmother's Log Cabin might be one of the books she mentions that has the directions.
  • Bindings for different angles, shows non-examples and examples. WELL DONE! From
  • Shows how to add facing to the back of really irregular edged pieces (her example grandmothers garden).  First stay stitch a little closer to the raw edges than the facing will be applied.  Then line up the facing and pin to the top of each point. Sew with contrasting to the back colored thread.  Trim keeping 1/4 inch of the front but remove the batting and back.  Flip over and adjust the fabric, then hand stitch closed. WELL DONE! From

  • Stay stitch with basting stitch a little closer to raw edge than where the binding will be sewn on. Sew on front, flip to back to finish by hand. 
  • Instead of pulling to straighten at the pivot point she pivots then pulls the fabric back to make it straight again when you sew. 
  • Clip a V in the the quilt and binding after it's sewn on so excess fabric is removed and the piece will lay flatter. 
  • She uses a large scissor to do this clipping and isn't particular about the order that she folds the corners.


I cut an old FMQing practice piece to be the shape in the Marci Baker demo.    My binding strips are 3.5 inches.

I marked the quilt to show the pivot point, but for a beginner like me will also mark on the binding when I get near the inner corner.  When folded the binding strip is 1.75 inches.  I will sew half an inch so the binding should end up being half an inch on both the front and the back.

The first actual quilt that I am going to have the inner corners in the binding will have the half inch binding or maybe even wider binding as the color will be part of the design.

Decided I might as well get extra practice with the regular 90-degree corners too so I started at the corner of the practice piece.  It's only been a short while since I did my set of binding practices, but I still had to go back to remind myself how to do things!  I'm glad I have the entries on the blog to remind myself.  I went back to the post and adding the time in the video where the part was that I really wanted to refer to...  

But just in case those videos go away...

Here are my notes to help my future self with regular 90-degree and less corners in bindings.

First 90-degree corner.  I set up so I could see where to place the fabric so I would be joining things 1/2 inch from the raw side. Started sewing the end, and turned to the point when I got near the corner.

Pinched the fabric at the end and brought it up so the fold was even with the side of the corner just sewn.  (Next time remember, it is easier to pinch when the point at the outside is actually a little above or short of the corner of the unseen quilt.) This makes a 45 degree fold on the inside.

Then sewed again with needle the same distance (half inch) away from the raw edges. Used stack of fabric to help the pressure foot stay even.

At this point I stopped to double check that I had done it correctly.  Looks right on the side where I am sewing...

And when I wrap to the other side it looked correct there too!

So now I could see where the inner corner was going to be so I marked the binding.  Double check to be sure the intersection is in the correct place!

I continued sewing the binding on the practice piece until the binding strip ended.  With the pivot points marked and the cut to help the piece be pulled straight it was pretty easy sewing.

Here is the side I sewed onto. (I think for a real project one first sews to the front and then wraps to the back for the hand finish!)

Here is the other side. I did not do the stay stitching that was recommended by several bloggers.  And notice the notch on the left is a little too close for comfort to the stitching...

Enlarged view of notches.  Next time will do the stay stitching! And use smaller scissors. And look for sharper scissors too!

I was excited to see how things were looking.  I could pin the 90-degree corners to check them, but I need to cut the inner corners so they will be flat when the binding is folded for the miter there.
Cut a V shape out of inner corner, to allow the fabric to lie flat.
This photo shows the notch after more angle was removed.
I was trying for a 90-degree notch. This was difficult to do in the 1/2 inch space I had, hard to believe it can be done in 1/4 inch!

Flip it over.  Fold down left then right then hand stitch from center to the seam to create the miter. This will then match the order of the 90-degree corners (so maybe it's right and then left depending on orientation of the piece.)

Here is my hand stitching - need to work on how to do this!  I felt like a little kid when I was sewing the sample binding. My stitches are too loose or long and show too much.

On the back side pull the folded fabric to the left. Then pull down the right side of the binding and then the left side of the binding.  After fiddling, you'll see a nice miter. Pin to hold in place while hand stitching.
For this practice piece, I did hand stitching to for two 90-degree corners and one of the inner corners. Then I did the rest with the machine.

In this photo the hand work is on the left.  Clicking should enlarge the photo.
On the right is the side finished by machine.

In this view the hand work is on the right.  On the left side done with machine, you might notice no miter, the buckling, and the ugly bobbin thread showing so clearly too.  The lady who only does with machine stitching does not cut a notch so that might help with having the fabric be flat for her.

Just in case you missed it, in this photo the machine stitching is on the left.

Okay, so now I can finally appreciate hand finishing a binding.  Even with my primitive stitching it's very nice to not see the bobbin stitching on the back.

But I need to learn how to do the stitching so it doesn't show as much before I do on real projects. I need to learn a consistent way to knot the thread at the beginning and end too!  This exercise though makes me think I can go ahead with my plan for having inner corners on the project I'm working on.

I'm working on my project for the weekly class I take.  (I only did one of the teacher's blocks as I didn't plan correctly and didn't have all the fabric I thought I had but I didn't feel like starting over and doing it all.)  The students who thought ahead are ending up with a lovely quilt.

I'm aiming now to make a small lap size quilt featuring the one teacher block in the center.

I thought I had mastered regular 90-degree binding, so didn't want to just add regular strips to make the project larger.  I practiced half seam construction and added six inches to the width and height.

I decided to add sort of woven frame to the piece, and then one more piece and the binding.  I could of course make a regular square quilt as I have been doing, but scallops or angles in borders is on my list of things to learn, so decided to add inner corners in with this project.

I found the interwoven frame idea in the Labyrinth block design at The Spruce.  Her directions for around a 3-inch center block and my class project block was 18-inches (plus 6) so I had to do some figuring to get her labyrinth frame to fit!

The Labyrinth block is similar to the quilting motif I did in the Leah Day project in 2012 that I really liked.  Leah's design has more background showing and I may prefer that look.  However, I think the Labyrinth block design was easier for me to adapt for finishing this class project.

Leah Day Motif
The Spruce Labyrinth Block

You can see in the Labyrinth it's just a matter of doing the math so the center of the outer orange points are even with the center of the dot in the inner block.

My inner block was 24 inches due to the additional frame I added to the teacher's block.  So it was pretty easy to do the math - I used 6 inches finished as my starting point. (Each of the squares stands for 3 inches.)  My project is now 36 inches square.  So I have the orange points to add, and another something before I'm ready to make the back and binding.

In class we were given a block to enlarge on graph paper and then show at least six different ways to piece.  Then we had a diagram of the block in a plain setting for a quilt, 6 blocks by 6 blocks.  We had to use any shade of red for one feature in each block, and then use the same background in each block - but could change the colors.  That was pretty limiting.  We had to do 6 times.  Our homework for next week is to do (6 times) and new setting - this time we can change the background colors within a block and we can change the way the pieces are cut to add more of them. Still limiting but I bet people will come up with dazzling papers!  We are also supposed to bring real fabric to consider using in making the quilt. And that will be my downfall.  I can enlarge and do the math to determine the size, and I can even dream about colors or shades of colors to add interest.  But once I have to bring the fabric it's really, really hard as that brings the exercise back to reality.

I guess the other people in the class all know how to do the mechanical part of making a quilt, they really enjoy picking out colors and fabric and working with that part of the hobby to sew up the teacher's designs. And most of them actually end up with a finished quilt by the end of the class.

It seems a little like coloring by the numbers when we just make the teacher's quilt.

The fabric/color part isn't that much fun for me now.  Perhaps because I have so much fabric here so don't want to buy new.  I prefer scrappy looking quilts anyway. But don't have the color sense to end up with beautiful items...  Yet!  

But really, I'm feeling like I want to master the total part of making a quilt and to do it enough so I don't have to keep such detailed notes for myself.  So I need to master and practice to keep the skill!