Bound To Please
By Jan Magee
Like a good book, making a quilt can be such an enjoyable process that we hate to see it end. Adding a decorative binding of multiple fabrics is both a way to make the project last a little bit longer and an opportunity to make your quilt even more interesting.
Let's look at a few ways to make a decorative binding that will work for both single-fold and double-fold styles. Be sure to press the seam allowances of the binding sections open to distribute their bulk evenly.
You will need the same length of decorative binding as you would a single-fabric binding. Plan to use slightly more yardage to make it, though, because of the amount lost in seaming the sections.
Try Scrap Fabrics
Random piecing and random strip widths are fine for this type of binding. You can put leftover patches, blocks or scraps to good use this way. Be prepared, however, for an unusual effect: Where the binding fabric is the same as the adjacent patch or border, the binding seems to disappear! Decide whether this effect will be exciting or distracting to the overall look of the quilt.
Consider the Seam Direction
Different looks will result depending on whether you join the patches with a straight seam or a diagonal seam. Face all seams in the same direction, alternate them or, if you prefer a more casual look, sew them without concern for the direction.
Could your quilt benefit from turning the final chapter into a surprise ending?
Strip-Piece Your Binding
A strip-pieced binding appears as though it's made from a striped fabric. Use strips of equal or varying widths. Look at the strip-piecing options shown here. Which binding is most suited to the design of your quilt?
Straight slices. Cutting the band at right angles to the seams makes stripes that radiate outward from the quilt.
Diagonal slices. Binding from diagonally sliced bands makes your eyes move around the edges of the quilt.
Arrange the fabric strips by value for drama. To suggest light shining on the quilt, sew the binding fabrics in order from the lightest color to the darkest color and then back to the light. The binding will appear to reflect bright light.
Sew the binding to the quilt as described in the double-fold binding section of Basic Lessons. After folding the binding to the back, select a thread color that will make an inconspicuous blind stitch against the many fabrics of binding and lining. Medium gray or tan threads blend nicely. Lay a single strand on the pieced strip to test for "invisibility."