I’ve corrected one step I left out in the previous Tuesday Tip – Making Bias Binding Part 2. Please be sure you read again, and understand that in the first photo, where I folded the fabric selvage to selvage, that was only until I trimmed the raw edges perpendicular to the fold. You then need to unfold the fabric and work with a single layer in the second step. My second photo showed this, I just left out the sentence that made that clear. I’m sorry for the omission. Did anyone ruin any fabric because of me? I hope not, but if you did, leave me a comment below and I’ll make it up to you.


Tuesday Tip – Making Bias Binding Part 2

First I need to apologize for the quality of the photos. I thought if I used a plaid fabric, it would be easier for you to see what was bias and what was straight of grain. This was a rather small woven plaid, and unfortunately, digital cameras don’t like them very much and make them come out looking like moire instead of plaid. Hopefully you can get the idea, though.

Once you’ve determined how big a piece of fabric you need, we’ll fold it so it’s easy to cut. First press it to remove the fold that’s formed when the fabric is doubled on the bolt. Then re-fold, lining up the selvages so the two layers of fabric lay smooth and flat with no puckers. The cut edges will probably NOT be even – don’t worry about that, just trim them off so they are even and perpendicular to the selvages. You DON’T really have to start with a square of fabric (it can be a rectangle), but you DO want the sides to be at a 90 degree angle to the selvages.

CORRECTION – AAAACCCCKKKK! I left a step out. You only fold selvage to selvage to trim the cut edges perpendicular to the fold/selvage. Then you need to unfold again before the next step!!! I had my photos correct, but left out that sentence in my written instructions.

AT THIS POINT YOU SHOULD ONLY BE WORKING WITH A SINGLE LAYER OF FABRIC!!! Now take the top right corner and bring it down and to the left, aligning the edges along the bottom. This should give you a nice 45 degree angle (see how it matches up with the 45 degree angle mark on my mat?).

Then bring the bottom right corner up and to the left along the 45 degree fold you just made.

It’s still too big to cut comfortably, so bring that bottom right fold up over itself:

And the extra little ‘flappy thing’ at the top gets folded also:

You can fold again if needed to have a nice neat package. Basically you just need to get it small enough to fit the size ruler you’re going to use.

I’ve now rotated the package 45 degrees clockwise, this will make it easier for me to cut.

Then I trim off the fold:

And start cutting my 2-1/2″ binding strips:

And voila – perfect bias binding strips!

I used to use the ‘tube’ method where you sewed one long seam to make a tube, then marked and cut the tube into a continuous piece of bias binding. I was never all that happy with that method – seems like I had to do a lot of ‘fiddling’ to make it come out right. So now I prefer this way. How do you like to make bias binding?

Why to Tear Wide Backs Instead of Cutting

When fabric is rolled on a bolt, it often goes on crooked. You may have noticed this if you cut strips from your fabric and they form a “V” instead of being nice and straight. Due to the extra width, and being folded an extra time, wide backs are more susceptible to this.

Here is a wide back I received recently. When it’s unrolled it from the bolt, it seems fine, doesn’t it?

But look what happens when I align it so the selvages are even:

That’s almost a 4 inch difference!! By the time the backing was squared up, there might not be enough left for your longarm quilter to load it on the frame.

Tearing allows for straight edges on both sides of the yardage, and those edges will be at a 90 degree angle to the selvages. A square back means I can quilt your top without pleats or puckers on the back – something that will make both of us happy!

Visit my website to shop for a wide backing that will be torn so you’re sure you’re getting the right amount!

Tuesday Tip – Making Bias Binding

Becky asked how to make bias binding. This will be more of a tutorial than a tip, so I’ll break it up into several posts over the next few days.

The first step is to determine how much binding to make, and what size square of fabric you will need to start with.

To determine the perimeter of your quilt, add the length plus width in inches and multiply by 2. Then add about 12 inches.

formula:     (L + W) x 2 = perimeter

example:    (90 + 108) x 2 = 396 inches + 12 = 408 inches

This means you will need to make 408 inches of binding to go all the way around your quilt and have enough to join the ends. Now multiply that number by the WIDTH of your binding strips – most people cut a double fold binding at 2-1/2″ wide.

408 x 2.5 = 1020

Finally, take the square root of that result to know the size of the fabric square you will need to start with. (I don’t know how to type a square root symbol, so just pretend that I did, okay???)

Square root of 1015 = 31.94

I prefer to have a little extra than not enough, so I would start with a piece of fabric about 33 – 34 inches square.

Whew!! Is your head spinning yet from all the math??? Do we need something to clear our heads?? How about a look at some lovely new wide backing fabrics??

See the pretty colors?

Can’t you feel how soft they are?

There now, don’t you feel better? There’s nothing like a fabric fix to make everything okay……

Stay tuned – next installment will be how to easily cut the strips on the bias.

Did you know that you can subscribe to my blog so you don’t miss anything? Go ahead, you know you want to……….

<——–You’ll find a place to sign up right over there in the left hand column (you may need to scroll up a bit)

A *REAL* Tuesday Tip

I didn’t want you to feel cheated by the tip in my last post. ;-), so you get a second Tuesday Tip this week:

When using fusible web, often times some of the glue ends up on the soleplate of your iron. (Note to self – you really need to check which side of the fusible web is up before you smash the hot iron down on top of it – yuck!)

There are products you can buy to remove the gunk, but try this first. Save your used fabric softener dryer sheets. Not the kind that are like foam rubber, but the kind that are more like an interfacing material (I use Snuggle). Wait until your iron is warm (not hot, you don’t want to burn your little fingers!), and rub the dryer sheet over the soleplate. I then like to finish up by rubbing with a paper towel. You might have to put a little elbow grease behind it, but it works pretty well for me. Let me know if you try it.

Tuesday Tip – Finding More Time to Quilt

On the second Monday of the month we usually have a work night at my shop for Quilts of Valor, a program which gives quilts to wounded soldiers & veterans. Sometimes we stay later than other times, tonight we had a new sewist join us so we got quite a bit done and stayed longer than usual. (Don’t you love the word ‘sewist’? It looks so much nicer in print than ‘sewer’. Sewer doesn’t SOUND bad – “Sew-er” but when you type it it looks the same as the word pronounced “Soo-er”. So I prefer “Sewist” – but I digress……)

Anyway, I arrived home – tired, hungry, with a list of things I wanted to accomplish before bed. And what should I find waiting for me in my kitchen?

Just over 13 pounds!!! Poor Rudy must have been out in the drizzle picking for hours. The bad thing about strawberries – or any garden produce for that matter – is not only do you have to plant them, and water them, and weed them, and fertilize them, and keep the bugs & birds away from them, and harvest them, but then you have to DO something with them as well! So we spent an hour or so sorting and washing and hulling berries.

The larger ones get laid out on a cookie sheet and placed in the freezer. When solid, they go into ziplock bags and are eventually used in hot cereal, or for pancake topping, or to make smoothies, etc. We will deal with smaller ones tomorrow -those usually get pureed in the blender and made into fruit leather in the dehydrator, or one of my favorite things to do with them (favorite meaning *EASY*) – Frozen Strawberry Daquiris. I was going to post my recipe for you, but I can’t find it! What am I going to do?????? (Anyone have any good strawberry recipes to share with me?)

Anyway, this leads me to today’s Tuesday Tip for quilters:

If you want to have time to sew during the summer, don’t plant a garden!!!!!

Tuesday Tip – Which is Which?

I like to prewash my fabrics, both to pre-shrink them and to avoid any surprises from bleeding dyes. I knew there were several chemicals that could be used in the wash to prevent problems with dyes, but I could never remember which one to use when.

Synthrapol is a detergent that washes away loose dye particles. Hand-dyers will use it as a final wash to remove excess dye. This is the product to try if you have had one fabric bleed into another – often times it will remove the ‘bleed’. Also use it when washing something where you think a fabric may bleed into the others. Or use Shout Color Catchers – they are similar to fabric softener sheets, but go in the wash, and help to pick up stray dye. (An added bonus to using the Color Catchers – sometimes they turn out to be the prettiest colors, and can be used in art quilting or craft projects!)

Retayne is a chemical that will fix the dye so it stops bleeding. Use it on solid or low contrast cloth, before you have sewn it into a top. (I usually wash my batiks in Retayne to be sure they won’t bleed.) Do NOT use it on a quilt where the red bled into the white, unless you WANT the white to stay pink! I did have a situation once where no matter how many times I washed a blue and white quilt in Synthrapol with Color Catchers, the blue backing just would NOT stop bleeding. I finally decided I was going to have to live with a blue and light blue quilt and washed it in Retayne so it would not continue to bleed.

Remember that to RETAIN something is to keep it, therefore RETAYNE keeps the dye in the fabric. (I wonder if they make RETAYNE for brains? Mine seems to have trouble RETAINING the things I’d like it to lately!)

Hope this helps you remember which is which. Now can someone remind me where I left my keys???…….

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