Love Letter Pillow Sewalong - Part 4
by April Henry
Binding a Quilt!
Part 4 is the final installment of our Love Letter Pillow Sewalong! We are very excited to finally display our little pillows and just in time for February! Are you just now joining and feeling late to the party? No worries at all... be sure to review our supplies list page and Parts 1, 2, and 3 and you can participate at any time!
To continue with the Airmail theme of the Love Letter Pillow, I was able to find some red, white and blue striped fabric for my binding, but you can use a pretty polka dot, a solid or even a dainty floral. However, you want to finish off your little love pillow will be just darling!
There will be many steps in this final binding process, so I have taken lots and lots of photographs to help with illustration. Follow along with each photo, but feel free to ask questions and refer to any of the photo-steps as I will number them to make following along easier.
To bind a quilt, including a small one like this Love Letter Pillow, you will need to join all your binding strips together first so that they form one continuous long binding strip. The most inconspicuous way to do this is to sew the ends at a 45-degree angle. To do this, take one end of a binding strip and lay it on top of the end of another binding strip, right sides together and at a 90-degree angle - like this:
Photo 1 - Continuous Binding Strip
Photo 1: With right sides together, place one end of a binding strip across the end of another binding strip at a 90-degree angle and draw a diagonal pencil line on the wrong side of the top binding strip. The diagonal line will need to go from the top left corner of the top binding strip to the far right bottom corner of the binding underneath.
Photo 2 - Continuous Binding Strip
Photo 2: Remember from our lesson on Part 2 about stitching on the line versus "next to the line" and how it correlates with the excess that gets trimmed away? Well, the same concept applies here. Pin the binding strips exactly as you have them laid out and stitch just barely to the right of your drawn line.
Photo 3: Trim Away Excess Fabric
Photo 3: Place your cutting ruler so that the 1/4" measuring line is on your drawn line, then trim away the excess fabric.
Photo 4: Press your binding seam(s) open
Photo 5: Fold your binding in half lengthwise and press all along the continuous length of binding until it is completely pressed and ready. Proceed to sew or if you think it will be awhile until you can finish binding your quilt then roll it up or secure it to a Binding Baby until you are ready. This will keep it ready to sew and wrinkle-free.
Photo 6: Begin Sewing Your Binding on the Love Letter Pillow
Photo 6: Measure 4 inches from the right edge of your Love Letter Pillow and place your continuous folded binding (lengthwise raw edges aligned with quilt edge) with one end of the binding at that 4-inch measurement.
Photo 7 & 8: Using about 1/4" to 5/16" seam allowance, begin stitching 1-inch before the quilted seam as illustrated in photographs 6 & 7. Make sure to backstitch to secure your beginning stitches. Continue stitching but follow these next steps carefully to secure each corner.
Photo 7 - Using about 1/4" to 5/16" seam allowance, begin stitching - making sure to backstitch to secure beginning stitches.
Photo 8 - This is a very small quilt so using the regular presser foot worked fine, but if a larger quilt, a Walking Foot can make sewing the binding easier.
Photo 9 - Measure and mark 1/4" to 5/16" from the edge. You will stop sewing with the needle down at this mark in order to pivot.
Photo 10 - Stop Sewing, Raise Presser Foot & Pivot
Photos 10, 11, 12 & 13: Stop sewing at the mark and raise the presser foot. Pivot quilt corner 45 degrees and sew diagonally to the corner, backstitch then sew off.
Photo 11 - Sew diagonally to the corner
Photo 12 - Sew diagonally to the corner, backstitch and sew off.
Photo 13 - Sew diagonally to the corner, backstitch and sew off.
Photo 14: Release the quilt from the machine and snip threads
Photo 15: Fold your binding up at the corner you just stitched. Following the same angle as your diagonal stitching line, finger press the angled fold.
Photo 16 - folding the corners
Photos 16 & 17: Keeping the first angled fold, bring the binding back down and fold so that the top edge is even with the quilt edge.
Photo 17 - folding the corners (pin in place, if needed)
Photo 18 - Place the corner back under the presser foot and begin stitching (remember to backstitch). Continue to the next corner(s) and repeat photos 9 - 18 to complete the remaining 3 corners.
Photo 19 - finishing the last side after stitching the final corner
Photo 20 - Stop stitching at the first quilted seam after finishing the corner, making sure to backstitch to secure your stitches. Ordinarily, we would leave about a 10-inch gap from the beginning stitches to the ending stitches (if we were working with a regular sized quilt), but we are going to make this work. It's going to get fiddly in a smaller area, so take it slow, grab your pins and we will get this, I promise. :) It ends up looking so professional and practically seamless, and you won't be able to tell where your stitching began from where it ended. This end result will be worth it because you will have achieved "the continuous binding method"!
Before you begin, however, Ruthie made us all chocolate cupcakes... There are plenty more to share, so feel free to take one and pass it around. We might need this chocolate rush for the last lap!
Photo 21 - You now have long tails for each binding end. You will have enough extra on the final end to cut off a small section (I used my ruler here, but the width can be narrower, just make sure to not cut off too much!) (see next photos to clarify why)
Photo 22 - Open up the piece you just cut off. The binding width will be your measuring guide.
Photo 23 - Begin to overlap your final binding end over your beginning binding end, making sure all edges are even and aligned.
Photo 24 - Lay your opened binding measuring piece so that its right edge aligns with the end of the beginning binding edge.
Photo 25 - Laying the binding measuring piece on top, aligning with the binding underneath
Photo 26 - Flatten out small binding measuring piece (or finger press the fold out if you wish). Using the left edge of the small binding measuring piece as your guide, cut overlapping binding end piece only. The width of the overlap will now be the exact same width as your binding piece.
Photo 27 - Open up your ends and put the right sides together so you can see how they will need to be matched for the next steps.
Photo 28 - Get out your pins! Flip end A over, in the direction of the arrow, so that the right side faces up. (This piece will feel a bit twisted for a little bit...) End B's wrong side will remain facing up, but turn it 90 degrees so that it overlaps end A. With their right sides together, PIN!
Photo 29 - Pin so that the right sides are together exactly perpendicular and they form a 90-degree angle, just as they were in Photo 1 (except they will be twisted and a bit awkward this time... but hold tight, you're almost to the end!)
Photo 30 - Draw a diagonal pencil line on the wrong side of the top binding end B. The diagonal line will need to go from the top left corner of the top binding end B to the far right bottom corner of the binding end A, underneath.
Photo 31 - Stitch on the drawn line.
Photo 32 - Once it's sewn, it will look a little bit like this, but you're starting to see how it is going to come together!
Photo 33 - Measure a 1/4" from the angled seam and trim the excess fabric.
Make sure to trim the off correct side so you don't cut into your binding!
Photo 34 - Here, you can see about how much you still need to stitch in place....but, look, you did it! The binding is all in one piece and you're nearly finished!
Photo 35 - Set your seam allowance to the 1/4" to 5/16" mark again and stitch up the gap. Don't forget to backstitch at the beginning and end of your finished seam. It might help to pin this section to eliminate any last minute puckers that might want to make an appearance.
Photo 36 - Fold up and press your stitched binding to prepare for the final pass of stitching it down by hand on the backside. (You can machine stitch this last step if you'd like.)
Photo 37 - Finish folding your binding over to the backside of the Love Letter Pillow, and as you work around it begin to hand stitch the binding in place. HINT: Make sure that the binding overlaps and hides the machine stitches you just sewed from the front side.
Photo 38 - The corners... Because you were careful to angle your corner stitching on the front side, your binding will now fold and sew quite nicely when it is stitched to the backside. Miter the corners and hand stitch in place.
Are you sewing along with us?! Please feel free to post your photos in the comments below - we would love to see you and your sweet little pillows.