I had a request for a baby quilt for a baby girl but the quilt was to be more neutral. I love the Zephyr collection by Rashida Coleman-Hale of Cotton+Steel. It’s fresh and modern and has a great color scheme. I wasn’t sure what pattern to use, so I looked at my Pinterest board at all of the quilts that I pinned that would probably never make. I saw the Lone Star quilt and knew it would work perfectly, as it’s a great size (~40″ x 40″) for a baby quilt and is a modern twist on a traditional pattern, which I tend to be drawn to. I followed the tutorial on Diary of a Quilter and used a Zephyr fabric layer cake to make the quilt top. Her tutorial is free and easy-to-follow.
I decided to take several photos while I was binding the quilt because I know it’s most people’s most dreaded part of making a quilt. (Disclaimer: I have an aversion to hand sewing, so the method I use is completely on the machine. Also, there are a ton of combinations and techniques for quilt binding. This is just the method that I’ve found works best for me.)
After you have your bias tape cut and sewn in a long strip, (I cut mine at 2.25″ wide.) fold it in half wrong sides together. So you should have 1 long strip of single-fold bias tape that is 1 1/8″ wide. Lay your quilt sandwich face down, so that the backing is facing you and place the raw edges of your bias tape against the raw edges of your quilt sandwich.
Before I begin sewing the binding, I clip* it all the way around the quilt, doing each of the 4 corners as pictured above. I leave tails on both sides so that I have extra to work with when I’m finishing the binding at the end seam.
Start sewing your binding a few inches in from the bottom center with a 1/4″ seam allowance (SA). I use blue painter’s tape to mark it on my machine, since I switch SAs a lot and I think it’s easier to sew a straight line with a bold marking to pay attention to.
A couple inches before you get to your first corner, stop with your needle down. You’re going to pull back the excess fabric in your corner and mark or eyeball a 45º angle to the corner from your 1/4″ SA. You’re going to sew straight down that mark, making sure to backstitch.
After sewing your angle and backstitching, pull the bit of excess fabric back against the angled stitch line and begin sewing a 1/4″ in from both edges on the other side.
When both sides of the corner have been stitched, it should look like this:
When the fabric is folded to the front of the quilt, you will automatically have a perfectly mitered corner from the tricky stitching that you did.
For some reason, that grumpy cloud is judging my mitered corner. Whatever, cloud.
You’ll continue around the back of your quilt, stopping at the corner to make your mitered corner stitching. Once you’re almost back to your starting point (bottom center), stop leaving ~6″ between the edges. You should have binding tails on each side. In the next step, we’ll get them to be the perfect length with no bulking seams.
Getting the binding to be the exact length that you need can be a bit tricky. I tried to take several pictures to show how I do it. You can also fold one end in and tuck the other end inside of the folded edge but that leaves a noticeable seam and a bit of bulk. The first thing I do is to finger press each side of the bias tape at opposite 90º angles from each other. You can see that I left a bit of room between each piece and they’re not exactly touching. That’s because bias is a bit stretchy, so to avoid puckering, I make it slightly shorter than the actual length.
The arrows are showing the 2 points that you’re going to want to mark with a Frixion pen (or other temporary mark).
Once you’ve marked the 2 dots, you’re going to bring the 2 bias ends together at those points and make an X. So your bias strips will be right sides together, meeting at the mark that you just made.
Pin the bias tape together so that the pins are parallel with the bias strip that is wrong side facing you. You’ll want them positioned this way so that you can draw a line in the next step. In the second image above, you can see that I’ve clipped the quilt behind the binding, that way it’s not pulling on the bias and it’s out of the way.
Draw a line connecting the 2 intersecting points of the bias. This line will be parallel to the quilt edge.
Sew directly over the line that you just drew. If you’re not sewing parallel with the edge of the quilt, you may have drawn your line connecting the wrong points. This is the easiest part to get turned around on.
Before pressing and trimming your seam that you have just sewn, turn the bias strip over to make sure you have the proper length. If your length looks good, press your seam and trim off your excess bias. Then sew the remaining length of the bias to the back of the quilt.
Once the binding is sewn to the backing, flip your quilt over. Pull the bias to the front of the quilt and sew closely to the edge of the binding. Take it slowly, you’re almost done and these are the stitches that will show the most.
I should have taken more photos to show the front of the binding, but I think getting everything right when attaching the binding to the back is the most difficult part, so hopefully that made sense.
The only thing left to do on my quilt is to handstitch on the custom label that I ordered from Spoonflower. You can order a sample swatch from Spoonflower for $6 shipped, so you can get (4) 4″ x 4″ labels for $1.50/each.