Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Quilting with Sheets by Sandra

Here's a good way to save money when sewing! Twin flat sheets are great for quilt backing, or for piecing quilts together. Twin sheets measure at 66" x 96" and cost about $3.00 at the Walmart in my city. This means I'm getting almost two yards of fabric that is more than 60" wide for about half the price of 45" fabric. Sheets are also better quality than broadcloth. Sheets also make really good backings for quilts. A twin flat sheet is a perfect backing for a twin size quilt, and you can buy two twin sheets for king, queen and full size quilts for about $6.00. Normally you would need six yards of fabric for anything larger than a twin size quilt. You can buy king, queen, or full size sheets for backing too which is great for not having to have seams where you don't want them, but for some reason the price of sheets more than double for anything bigger than a twin size. A king size costs about four times as much so I don't mind the seams since it is just the back of the quilt. However, I am not fond of a seam running down the middle of the back. I think it looks much more professional to use a twin size sheet in the center and sew two matching strips on either side so you have a seam down both sides.
Another plus to using sheets to sew with is that when you piece quilts together and need long strips for the edges of a quilt you don't have to make seams in the wrong places to make them long enough. You are guaranteed to have 96" strips to work with. I use sheets for any sewing that requires solid colored fabric just as long as I can find sheets in the right colors. In fact, I often plan my quilt colors around the colors I can find in sheets in.

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Quilt Binding

A lot of people don't like to do quilt binding. It can be quite difficult to sew binding onto a quilt, especially if your quilt layers don't match up and they seldom do match up just right. Today, I'm going to tell you how to bind a quilt with a new method that I learned from Sandra, my co-founder of Sandrea Baby Quilts. Sandra has been making quilts for more than twenty years. I'm going to share this technique used for binding quilts that she learned from her late Grandma Vivian.

Instead of having an actual binding that you have to sew onto the quilt on both sides, there is a much easier way. Simply make the quilt backing an inch larger than the quilt top on all four sides. It can be more that an inch for larger quilts, depending on how wide you want your border to be. It works better if you cut out the backing after the quilt top is finished so you can make sure the backing is big enough (i.e. an inch larger than the quilt top on all four sides). After the layers are quilted together (the quilt top, batting, and quilt backing), simply fold each side of the quilt backing over twice and pin, every few inches, onto the quilt top. Then sew around the edge with a sewing machine, removing pins as you go. This takes half the time of a traditional quilt binding, and it looks just as good or better because it is much easier to get it on there straight. Just make sure your quilt backing matches the top well because it will become your border on the top of the quilt as well. Like I said, for Queen and King size quilts, you may want to make it two inches on every side to make a wide border.