Monday, December 10, 2012

Finishing Edges with a Facing - a Tutorial

I have been working on my next two African improvisational pieces, and am so liking finishing the edges with a facing rather than a binding, that I thought I'd show you how it's done. These instructions are also written up in Jean Wells book - Journey to Inspired Art Quilting - which I highly recommend.

1. Piece the quilt top. Layer it with backing and batting and machine and hand quilt as desired. (The fish will be added at the very end, as embellishment can only be done once the facing has been finished.)
2. Trim the edges of the backing and batting so that they line up exactly with the edges of the quilt top, and so that the whole of it is squared off. Using narrow grosgrain ribbon (I found this on rolls at Fabricland - mine is 1/2" wide although Jean Wells recommends 1/4" wide.) Working on the back of the quilt, stitch the ribbon to the back of the quilt, lining up the ribbon edge with the raw edge of the quilt. This reinforces the edge.
 3. Cut two lengths of facing fabric 2 1/2 - 3" wide and the exact length of your quilt. Place these on either side of the quilt. Measure the distance between the two inner edges of the facing.
4.  Cut the top and bottom facings 2 1/2 - 3" wide and the measurement you determined in #3 above, plus 1 inch. So if there is a distance of 4" between the two inner edges of the side facings, you would cut the top and bottom facings 5" long.
5. Place one of the long side facings right sides together with the short top facing. Stitch 1/4" seam allowance from the top edge, stopping and back-tacking 1/4" from the bottom edge of the top facing (as indicated by the lime pencil). Repeat this for the bottom facing. Add the second long facing in the same manner. In other words, all the inner seam stop 1/4" from the inside edge of the facing.
 6. Place the completed facing right sides together on the top of the quilt. All raw edges should be even. Pin in place.
 7. Stitch from the wrong side of the quilt, that is, with the backing facing up, and just inside the grosgrain ribbon. When you have stitched all the way around, trip the corners, being sure to leave a couple of threads after the corner stitching, and turn the entire piece to the right side. I have a chopstick with rounded ends that works well for this.
8. Press the edges. Pin the facing flat and hand-stitch in place. Add the hanging sleeve, if there is to be one, and the label. Add any embellishments.

This method is definitely more labour intensive than a regular binding, but I like the look of it. On my tree pieces, I did this twice - once on the quilt itself and once on the backing quilt, then stitched the two together by hand. Again, more labour intensive, but there are occasions when this kind of binding is just the ticket. If you'd like to see further applications of using facing, again, I would highly recommend Jean's book.

1 comment:

  1. I wish I'd read this before the project I worked on this afternoon! It would have been perfect for what I was doing! That will teach me to own a book and not read it yet!