Monday, December 3, 2012

Matching fabrics and preparing binding

Today during lunch my goal was to find a backing fabric, border fabric and batting for the tree skirt that is underway. I took two of my completed coasters with me to Hobby Lobby to help me in matching the process. For the backing and binding I ended up choosing a red fabric with white polka dots, and for the backing a white fabric with green and red Christmas trees. For the batting I choose a type called natural and warm. For the batting I decided to buy extra for fear that I'd calculated my finished piece size incorrectly. As for the binding and border I knew based on the Missouri Quilt video I needed at least 15 inches for the border and so I believe I decided on 25 inches worth to ensure I had the right amount of it for the border and binding.

When I got home I cut out my border pieces and attached them as instructed in the video. The method they used to have all the borders be straight edges was a blessing! So easy. Next I had to take the backing fabric, batting and tree skirt and pin them together for quilting.

Last week my fantastic quilting teacher had shown me how to use a large piece of cardboard (mine was left over from a large piece of furniture we'd purchased) to secure your backing fabric right side down with pins to ensure it was as tight as possible. After getting the backing secured I needed to lay down the batting. The type I bought was having static cling to everything it touched so the hubby helped me lay it out on the backing fabric. Next we laid out the skirt top an I was able to begin pinning. I pinned the outer border and then squares within. I saw one video in my research that says you should have pins one fist apart from each-other, but there was no way I was going to spend the time putting a pin in all 64 squares. I think I had 24 all together.

After pinning I cut the excess patting and binding down to .5 inches from the edge of the border. This helped a lot when I started quilting. For my Table Runner I had all the excess batting still attached which made it hard to maneuver in the sewing machine. I quilted four areas using stitch 29 again (I think it's my favorite). I used silver rayon thread and did the stitching at speed two. Another great tip my quilting instructor taught me was with the Rayon strings the need room to move and if you put them where your normal spool goes they'll tighten up and potentially your string will break mid sew. So I did what she showed me, I got a coffee cup from the kitchen put the spool in it and in wound a little to release the tension and then set it up in my upper threader. This worked great! I was quilted the border, and 3 inside block sets as you'll see in the photos. I figured this would give good definition on the skirt top and bottom.

After all the quilting was done I cut my binding. I had five strips of about 40 inches each, I sewed the ends together and ironed them in half and finally called it a night.

Border sewed on, ready to meet the backing fabric and batting.

Close up of Skirt Top prior to pinning

Cardboard where I laid out and pinned all three pieces and then cut to size.
Backing Fabric
All three layers pinned together ready to quilt.
Closeup of the Top Stitching in Silver Rayon Thread
Closeup of backing, to show fabric as well as under stitching, if you look closely you'll see the 4 areas that were quilted.

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