Monday, April 13, 2009

denim picnic blanket quilt-along - part 3

Here we are at part 3 of our denim picnic blanket project (click here if you're new here). Did you all finish your quilt top? For those of you who did, here's the next step: binding. If you've ever bound a quilt before, go ahead and do it whatever way you prefer. I usually only hand bind my quilts, but the more I've worked on this denim quilt the less I've thought of it as a quilt and the more I've thought of it as a blanket. Because of that, I gave myself permission to machine bind it and not feel one ounce of guilt. It was ten times easier and faster than hand binding, and I have a feeling it will be a lot more secure with all the abuse my boys are bound to give this blanket. But if you really want to hand bind it and you don't know exactly how, check out this great video from If you want the easy way out, read on for the machine binding instructions.

Binding Your Denim Blanket

What you'll need:

*fabric to cut enough 2.5" or 3" strips to go all the way around your blanket, plus about 10 inches (I used 3/4 yard of flannel for my 60" x 84" blanket)
*Rotary cutter and mat, quilting ruler
*Iron and ironing board
*Sewing machine
*Walking foot for your machine (super nice to have, but you could do it without)

1. I referred to this great PDF tutorial from Pricilla Bianchi about how machine bind to refresh my memory (scroll down and you'll see it under "Free Quilt Finishing Information PDF"). Please download and read it for the beginning and ending instructions. I am only providing pictures/instructions for the middle stuff.

2. Wash and dry your binding fabric. Use your rotary cutter to trim the edges and square it up.

3. Cut your binding strips. I used a 3" strip for mine, but 2.5" would work, too. Cut enough strips to go around your entire blanket (once they're sewn together), plus about 10". I used my entire 3/4 yard cut.

4. Sew your strips together to make one long strip. Layer one strip on another, right sides together at a 90° angle like this.

Sew diagonally across from one corner to the other.

When you unfold it it should look like this.

Continue adding strips.

5. Press the seams open where each strip is joined.

6. Fold the strip in half lengthwise, wrong sides together and press.

7. Refer to steps 4-7 in Pricilla's tutorial for how to prepare the beginning of the strip.

8. For machine binding, you want to attach the binding on the back side first (this is the opposite of how you would attach it for hand binding). Line up the raw edge of the binding with the raw edge of the blanket and sew using a 1/4" seam allowance.

9. Refer to steps 8-11 in Pricilla's tutorial for how to handle the corners and the end of the strip.

10. Turn the blanket over and fold the binding over. Sew as close to the edge as possible all the way around. And you're done!

Next post will be our final part--attaching the snaps for your removable water-proof backing. I would've posted it today, but I encountered a little problem while attempting it this weekend. The snap on the top worked great.

But check out this lovely hole. Yeah, the vinyl tablecloth is way too flimsy to attach the snaps. Luckily, I found a tute on Martha for a very similar project (wish I'd seen it sooner!) that gave me a great workaround. It is going to require you to purchase one more item. Sorry to those of you who were hoping to only make one trip to the fabric store!

You're going to need some 1.5" wide twill tape to go all the way around your vinyl tablecloth to stabilize it for the snaps. So measure your tablecloth and go get some twill tape. And don't hate me because you have to go back to the store. I have to, too! This quilt-along has been a great way to keep me motivated to finish this project before summer hits, but unfortunately it also makes it difficult for me to create a perfect, flaw-free tutorial for all of you who are following along. Usually when I write I tutorial I've finished the project, worked out all the bugs, etc. So it's been a learning experience. Thanks for your patience!

Bind your quilt and I'll get you the last part asap!

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8 Responses to “denim picnic blanket quilt-along - part 3”

em said...

I just want to mention that you can also make a continuous piece of bias-cut binding. It doesn't take much longer than stitching pieces together, either:

It sounds kind of confusing, but read it through a few times and it totally makes sense. And works!

Anne said...

I love the binding fabric; did you get it at joann's?

Karen said...

Why couldn't you just reinforce the snap spot with some denim iron on patches, stitched down as well as ironed on? or Pellon? Since it's the lining, any reinforcement won't show except the stitching. Just a thought for those who REALLY don't want to go to the store. And thanks for your blog. As a grandma, I have a great time checking out what you're up to. Great fun!!

Unknown said...

The PDF link doesn't work. And I need help!

Karen said...

Just wanted to add I can't seem to access the PDF tutorial link for Pricilla's tutorial either. I'd love to follow along, but I'm sure I need the extra instructions mapped out. Could you please report another link for the tutorial? I tried to search on her site, but couldn't find the info. Thanks!

Little Birdie Secrets said...

Okay ladies, I fixed the link for the machine binding PDF. Sorry about that! You'll have to scroll down on the page to find the "Free Quilt Finishing" links. Thanks for the heads up!

Karen said...

Awesome, thanks so much for fixing the link! Thanks again!

Mojavi said...

i sewed the pockets on the corners as rock pockets! for windy days :)

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