I really enjoy the process of hand sewing the binding around the quilt. It gives me time to enjoy the finished quilt before I wash it and send it away. But, what I don’t enjoy is making the binding and attaching it to the quilt. I find it endlessly frustrating. It’s like a really bad math equation.
On my most recent quilt I decided to do a pieced binding because I couldn’t decide on any one color/fabric for the entire quilt. I started by figuring out how many total inches I would need to go around the quilt. I added up the perimeter and added 12 inches for the corners. I then divided this by the number of colors I wanted to use to determine how many inches I would need of each color. I didn’t want to waste a lot of fabric so I made this a crossgrain binding (rather than bias). I sewed my seams together at 45 degree angles. And then realized that I lost quite a bit of length by sewing the seams together.
Because it’s at 45 degrees you lose a lot– after lots of measuring you actually lose (on each end) 1/2 the distance of the width of your bias. Why in the world would that be? I have no idea, but I’m sure some mathmatician knows. I checked it out with different widths and it always works like that. Even my husband, the designer, was intrigued by this.
So, what does that mean?
1. Let’s say I want a binding to be 100 inches long (easy numbers for calculations) and I am cutting the binding strips 2.5 inches wide .
2. Then let’s say I want to use 10 different colors. That would mean I need 10 inches of each color, BUT because I am going to lose material in the seams (exactly 1/2 the width on each side which in this case equals 1.25 inches on each side) I would need to cut each strip 12.5 inches long.
3. Or an easier way: is to know that there are seams on each end of the strip, so just add the width of the binding to the finished length you want the strip to be. (ie. If you want the finished length to be 10 inches, and it is 2.5 inches wide: cut the strip 12.5 inches long).
Continuous bias binding is a whole ‘nother story…. to be in a later post.
The finished product is so beautiful, you would never know how difficult it was…