Tuesday, February 11, 2014

No binding edge finish for "too many corners"!

Not a very catchy title for a quick tutorial, but it says what it's about.
 
During my annual January retreat with a loyal group of students, I finished this table topper which I use in my Hexagon Seminar.  Several of the gals asked me to post my method, so here it is.
 

The crazy string pieced hexagons are BIG -- I pieced them onto some "ugly" fabric and then used Marti Michell's Hexagon Ruler to trim them to size (the biggest -- 4 1/2" on each side). 
Once I set them into a "grandmother's flower garden" motif, it sat unfinished for a year while I contemplated how to back it and not have to bind it.  In the end, I opted for an adaptation of a pillow-back. 
 
To begin, I cut a piece of fabric larger than the topper.  I sliced it in half and then seamed it back together as you can see.  This technique is from back in the days of inserting zippers in garments.  I used a regular length stitch about 25% of the way down the seam, backstitched, and then lengthened the stitch out to my longest basting stitch for about 10", then back to a normal stitch starting with a backstitch and continuing to the end.  The seam is pressed open.
The topper was centered on the backing, right sides facing and I stitched around the entire piece.  I don't put batting into table toppers and placemats -- I prefer a flatter piece (so the wine glasses don't tip over so easily).  This piece was pretty thick already but when I feel I need an interlining to add body to a table piece, I use flannel which I've washed and dried a couple times.
It's easy to trim around the shape with scissors.  I clipped each inside corner and trimmed the outside corners to reduce the bulk.
The next step is to remove the basting stitches in the center part of the backing seam and turn it right side out.
 
 
Be sure to gently push all the corners out for a crisp finish but not with the ripper.  Yes, it's handy but the point will poke through the corner and you'll be cross. 
Because the seam of the backing was pressed open, there is no struggle to get the edges of the opening turned under smoothly.  It's a simple matter to hand stitch the opening closed.   I would rather do this than use an opening in the outer edge seam.
I secured the edges using the triple-straight stitch on my machine which gives a heavy line of stitching that is attractive.  (You can see it along the left side on the first photo.)  On this piece, I also stitched "in the ditch" around the center hexagon to make sure the layers don't shift if I need to launder it in the future.
All finished and once again I've proven that it usually takes longer to begin than it did to finish.  I should make another one?!?
 
I hope you can use this technique to finish one of your UFO's this week!
 
Mary Huey
 
 
 
 
 

14 comments:

  1. So clever, Mary! I'm going to remember this idea ~ (that open seam down the back).

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    1. I use it frequently to avoid that "opening in a side seam" which is so hard to get "just right" -- glad it's helpful to others!

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  2. Hi Mary!!! I'm returning the visit and I'm sooooo glad I did!!!! I love your work...esp these Hexagons! One Saturday I sat down and made all my scrap strips into large Hexagons like this....now to put them together into a quilt top!! LOL!!! I added myself as a GFC follower and hope ya return to do the same! Be fun to follow and support one another!! Nice to meet ya! Val from myplvl.blogspot (Val's Quilting Studio)

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    1. Thanks, Val -- I paid you another visit -- like your stuff! I notice you are a Sue Spargo fan -- she's not too far from me here in Ohio and we often vend together locally -- terrific creative person!! I don't do that type of work but really enjoy seeing it.

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  3. Love it! Thanks so much for the tutorial. I'm for sure going to make a couple.

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    1. Good -- glad it's an idea you can use!

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  4. That seems so obvious, now that you've pointed it out. I feel like smacking my own forehead and going "DUH!"
    Thanks for your always-helpful, clear, and beautiful blog!

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    1. Thanks for the compliment! Don't be hard on yourself -- we have lots to do these days and all have "duh" moments.

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  5. Question: Why did you place the back seam at the narrowest spot, between two inner corners of the edge? I would have imagined that was more of a stress point than, say, in the middle of a straight edge at the widest point, which is where I would have placed the seam if I'd thought of this technique.

    I'm not second-guessing you or trying to be rude, I just honestly don't understand the sewing physics that made that the right spot to put the seam, and I'm hoping you'll explain it to me. Thanks!

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    1. Good question, Virginia -- and my response has to be -- didn't think of it, but it makes perfect sense -- so next time, I'll do that.

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  6. thanks for the tutorial
    leeanna
    lapaylor.blogspot.com

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  7. Beautiful work Mary and the sunflowers are perfect in the centers! I still put zippers in that way in pillows. Thanks for sharing.
    Freemotion by the River Linky Party Tuesday

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    1. Thanks for the compliment, Connie!

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    2. This is an amazing quilt. What a great idea and perfect edges.

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