September 27, 2013

I'm Moda's Guest Blogger Today!

Moda's Cutting Table has been celebrating National Sewing Month every day of September with a new guest blogger.

Today that's me! I was so happy to be invited. Head over there quick to learn 2 tricks for Perfect Log Cabin Blocks, with photos and videos! Including a demo on why it's important to cut patchwork on the lengthwise grain -- Grainline Geeks Unite! :)

I hope you enjoy my blog post. Be sure to comment for a chance to win blog candy!  The winner will be announced on the Moda Cutting Table blog Oct. 2.  Just click the measuring tape:

Update: The contest is over, but you can still read the blog post on Moda's Cutting Table. :)

September 3, 2013

Fabulous Edge Finish -- Our No Binding, No Bulk Finish

Quilters are raving about this great new way to finish placemats, table runners and small wall quilts. It is especially nice on some quilts, such as art quilts, where a traditional quilt binding actually disrupts the flow of the design.

But remember, it is done before you quilt, not after!

It is similar to what some people call a pillowcase finish, but without the bumpy, bulky edge. That bulk in a pillowcase finish is caused by the batting seam allowance that is sewn in the seam piling up when the piece is turned right side out. With our method, we prevent any batting from ever being sewn into the seam.

Let me show you how with this small decorative table mat.

The secret ingredient is Marti's Choice Fusible Tape. It is a light-weight, fusible, non-woven interfacing repurposed from the sewing industry and conveniently packaged in 30-yard rolls, either 1" wide or 2" wide. For this process, I like the 1". We call it tape because it is narrow and comes in rolls, but it is not adhesive tape. It is heat fusible and must be permanently positioned with your iron.

This is what you need:
  1. Your quilt top
  2. A prepared backing piece (read on for details!)
  3. Batting
  4. Marti's Choice 1" Fusible Tape

To prepare the backing, cut a backing piece that is a little wider than the front and at least 3 inches longer. Cut it in half horizontally. Put the two sections right sides together and join them with a 1/2" seam allowance, leaving a few inches unstitched in the center. The opening is where you will turn the quilt inside out later! Press both seam allowances in one direction.

Layer the pieces and, using the top as a template, cut away excess batting and backing so they are exactly the same size as the top. BUT we don't want the batting to be the same size as the top. We want it to be 5/16" -- just a little more than 1/4" -- smaller all the way around. We could cut 5/16" off all four sides, but instead, separate the batting from the other two pieces and cut off 5/8" on two adjacent sides of your batting piece.

Bonus Tip: "Worth the Price of Admission"
You know how cutting batting can leave fibers in your cutting mat? But did you notice that when you trimmed the backing fabric and batting away there were no fibers in your mat? Any piece of paper will protect your mat the same way. Use just one layer of newspaper, printer paper, etc., and don't worry -- one sheet of paper every now and then won't dull your rotary cutter blade.

Now it is time to secure the batting to the wrong side of the front of the quilt. With the front face down, center the batting on the wrong side of the front. One side at a time, cut a strip of batting tape as long as the batting. (No need to measure, just do this at the ironing board, unroll the tape and cut to length!)

With your iron at a medium heat, press into place. I like to run the tip of my iron along the edge first, just securing the batting tape to the seam allowance -- it creates a tiny ridge. (Increase heat if tape did not secure -- iron temperatures vary!) Then go back and press the rest of the tape to the batting. (Cover polyester batting with a scrap of fabric, especially if you have raised the iron temperature.)

Continue with three other sides. The batting is never going to curl up or pull out of place -- you could call it permanently pinned!

Because the fusible tape and batting are the same color, we added the orange lines to define the edge of the batting tape.

Put the prepared front and prepared back right sides together and stitch all the way around using a 1/4" seam allowance.

Again, in the close-up, you can see the orange line shows the edge of the fusible tape and the green arrow points at the stitching line.

Turn the project inside out through the opening in the center back. It looks awful in the process...

But suddenly, it is flat. Give it a light press, especially along the edges. NOW you can quilt. I'm showing the back since I only quilted in the ditch and you can't see anything from the front. If you quilt enough, the quilting secures the opening, or I use a little strip of paper-backed fusible web on the seam allowances.

Ask for Marti's Choice 1" Fusible Tape, product #8220 (60 yards) at your favorite quilt shop or go to Also available in 2" width, product #8221 (30 yards), which is more desirable for joining batting sections on full size quilts.

UPDATED Dec 2014

For some reason, my reply to Robyn's comment will not post. The answer to her question is the method above is almost the same as the method in the booklet that comes with the fusible tape. In between this post and that product packaging, we realized we could eliminate a step, which is why the instructions are a little bit different -- but either way works great!  :)