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I've been doing  a lot of t shirt quilts lately, and I admit that the binding has me in a tizzy. I don't have any problems sewing it on with the longarm on the top side, but I am still having to turn it and sew the back side by hand. And I am a slow hand stitcher. Is there any gadget I can purchase to do this faster? I tried the sewing machine binder but it did not work for me at all. I think I would even be willing to purchase a sewing machine that only does binding, if there were such an entity. Anyone have any suggestions for me? I would be your special buddy for life if you can help me.

Debbie

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Debbie, I do a lot of t shirt quilts and do the binding entirely on my domestic machine.  I have it down to about 2 hours from making the binding straight through to finished product.  I stitch it to the back of the quilt, pull it around to the front and topstitch the edge of the binding.  It looks straight and nice from the front and since I pull it a bit further around (so the binding appears a bit wider on the front than the back), the topstitching ends up in the ditch on the back.  I'm sure that was as clear as mud, but I feel like it is very durable and somewhat fast for me.   

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Liz,  I am making some utility quilts to use up "unwanted" fabrics.  They were beautiful when I bought them; but somehow they have all changed.  Am going to try your method for putting the binding on them.    Do like the look of hand stitched binding; but for some things I believe it is not worth the time.  Have always done hand-stitched; but for these throw-on-the-floor" quilts when the grandchildren are watching TV with the dogs, machine stitching  should  work just fine.   And your instructions are very clear.

 

Marilyn

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I like the method Liz described. It works well and looks good.

 

I've seen Nancy Zieman use a binding attachment on a domestic. The attachment takes a flat strip of straight binding which is fed through so it's folded in the classic binding configuration. It positions the sandwich so the single pass of stitching sews all the layers together with the binding wrapped around and securely top-stitched. The only down-side was that the binding ended up at less than a quarter of an inch showing on both sides. It was very utilitarian looking.  Also, no mitered corners are possible. The binding ran off the edge and was trimmed even with the corner, then the next side was stitched.

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I stitch my binding completely on my DSM, but the exact opposite from Imeimann.  I stitch it to the front first, then wrap it to the back and stitch in the ditch from the front.  The key is finding the correct width for binding that fits the look that you want, and allows for just enough space to catch on the back.  I like narrow bindings, so cut my original binding 2 1/8" wide, then apply and miter just like I was going to hand stitch, using a 1/4" seam.  Fold and miter the binding and pin as close to the corner as possible, start stitching with tiny stitches from the front, then lengthen stitches as you go. I use invisible thread in the top, and a color that matches the binding in the back.   I do not pin, but you could pin in the ditch as well for extra security while you stitch, taking the pins out as you come to them.  From the front, it looks hand stitched, from the back, just one fine line of stitching.  Oh, and several years of practice, practice, practice!   (Actually, it is pretty easy to get a good product, but it does indeed require some fiddling to get it just right for your style of stitching.)  

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Marilyn,

I would be very interested in the make and model of the binding machine your friend has and if she feels it makes binding easier. 

Linda, that is the attachment I attempted to use, and it is not so easy as Nancy Z makes it look. Plus, it was way too narrow as you say.

Liz and Tracy, I'm plan to try your method today on a smaller piece just finished. I have 3 quilts to bind this week and if I sew by hand, it will take days to do them. :blink:

Thanks for the suggestions. Any more are welcome!

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umm..ok....I make mostly utility quilts for my family and friends.....I do my bindings by machine unless it is a really, really special quilt....what I do is stitch the binding to the back and machine stitch from the front....but I use a narrow serpentine stitch....if you wobble a bit as you are applying it, it does show  LOL  unless it is a really big wobble....not all machines have a serpentine stitch....my D1 and SE vikings do and my Bernina 630 has a stitch that I can change the width and length enough so it looks like a serpentine stitch......sometimes it will show a bit on the backing as I do not usually pin or spray baste or anything the binding to the quilt.....but overall it looks just fine and is a strong method of nailing the binding down as the serpentine stitch has a bit of "stretch" built in so the stitches don't pop with kid and dog use usually....Lin

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Debbie,

I had a binding machine and I could put a binding on a large quilt in 10 minutes it was slick but you had to round all of your corners. I bought it from Gammill about 15 years ago. I just sold it last fall. I watched a tutorial by Jennie Doan from Missouri Star quilt company on you tube on doing bindings  with your sewing machine and it is slick lol. I have done quite a few of my quilts using her method. You will like Jennie Doan she is so much fun to watch and she has some fun tutorials on how to make various quilts. I have made approximately 15 quilts from her tutorials. Now don't get me wrong if I am making a quilt that is special I will always hand sew the binding on but for the quilts that are going to be washed alot or like someone said thrown on the floor for the little ones and dogs to watch TV with. Then sewing the binding on the back and using a fancy stitch on the front works just fine for me :) Our machines have so many fancy stitches that we very seldom get a chance to use and this is a fun way to use them.

Have a nice day,

Marti

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I put a lot of bindings on and do them by machine unless it is a special one then I sew on the front with the machine and finish on the back by hand.  I use the Martelli zip bind tool to finish on the front and am very pleased with the results.  You can watch the video on youtube and after practicing a little you will be able to do this too.  I actually have given a few classes on how to do this and the girls were all impressed with how quick you can finish a quilt and the end results.

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I SEW MY BINDING TO THE BACK AND FLIP IT TO THE FRONT. I SELL MY QUILTS AND DON'T GET ANY COMPLAINTS. I HAVE ALSO CHANGED THE SIZE OF MY BINDING TO 3". IT MAKES IT WIDER ON THE FRONT AND IS ALSO EASIER ON THE HANDS. I HAVE CARPAL TUNNEL IN BOTH HANDS HOPE THIS HELPS. I KEEP BINDING MADE AHEAD AND I CAN BIND A KING SIZE QUILT IN 1 HOUR. CAROL

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I never, never hand stitch a binding.  I always use my DSM and attach the binding to the back, turn to the front and topstitch with my needle set over one space. As you topstitch, iIf you keep the fold exactly on the stitching line, with the needle to the right one space, you will have perfect topstitching on either side, it is really fast and you have perfect mitered corners top and bottom.

 

I did a tutorial on it a couple of years ago:

 

http://bunkhousequilts.blogspot.com/2012/03/machine-binding-tutorial.html

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I also do the complete machine applied binding, using a straight stitch on the front.  I have done this for all the niece/nephew wedding quilts I have made.

 

I wonder if the controversy of hand vs machine binding isn't similar to the hand vs machine quilting.  Isn't it about time to decide that even in judged situations machine binding done well is just as quality look as hand stitched on the back.  I could never get the even look with hand stitched, but my machine bindings are even and look great.

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We serge the binding to the front with fusible thread on the backside.  It is then folded over to the stitch line on the back and lightly pressed to activate it. The final step is stitch in the ditch from the front.  Makes a perfect quarter inch binding with no wobbles!

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Ann, your tutorial is GREAT!  I have always done my bindings mostly like you do.  I sew mine on with the longarm so they are sewn on the front then folded to the back.  I finish them with the DSM.  I don't iron my bindings before attaching.  It works better for me.  Without a fold pressed into the binding they fold over nicely and lay very flat.  Something about accounting for the "fold over space" in the binding...I don't know...but it works beautifully and less work. 

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Debbie!  Bigger stitches!  I do about 6 or 7 stitches per inch, blind stitch on bindings by hand.  It seems to go fairly fast.  I stitch about 2 inches, then pull the thread through.  I had a student who was an applique girl and her stitches were so tiny I couldn't count them!  I'll bet it took her forever!  I sit and to bindings at night while my husband has something on TV that I'm totally not interested in.  Helps pass the time. :rolleyes:

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I only hand stitch quilts I want to enter into a show. The rest are used and washed. I know bad. So they are all machine stitched to the back folded to the front and top stitched. I have amazed people how fast I can do one. At a recent craft show I had some baby quilts I didn't get binding done on. I sat there and knocked them out. You get better with each one and it gets faster over time.

Shirley

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I also do the complete machine applied binding, using a straight stitch on the front.  I have done this for all the niece/nephew wedding quilts I have made.

 

I wonder if the controversy of hand vs machine binding isn't similar to the hand vs machine quilting.  Isn't it about time to decide that even in judged situations machine binding done well is just as quality look as hand stitched on the back.  I could never get the even look with hand stitched, but my machine bindings are even and look great.

 

 

 

While binding that's attached completely by machine looks fine, I think that the machine stitching compresses the edge and can make the binding look isolated from the body of the quilt. I can't say if that's a good thing or a bad thing.

 

Just as with good applique technique, it's best that binding application is "invisible" and if it's not invisible it should be wild or whimsical as long as it matches the theme of the quilt.

 

Having been a scribe at a big show, I know how much scrutiny is given to bindings. It can be the difference between getting an award or not placing. When the judge has held out quilts for specific awards and has to decide from three absolutely gorgeous show-stoppers, many times the only place she can find tiny errors is binding application and starts-and-stops of the quilting. So, if you aren't doing show quilts, do what works for you.

 

I agree that full machine application of binding is perfect for quilts that get a lot of use.

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I use the Sharon Schamber method to attach on both the front and the back.  She use Elmers WASHABLE school glue and a hot iron rather than pins to attach the binding on the front of the quilt.  Then sew this down with a domestic machine.  You could just an easily attach it to the front using your longarm without the glue.  I then pull the binding around to the back and again use the Elmers WASHABLE school glue and a hot iron to attach it on the back.  I run a very thin line of glue down the stitch line and position the binding to over run that by enough so that when I stitch in the ditch from the front, it secures the back.    You have to be sure to use only Elmers WASHABLE school glue as it is a heavy starch and not a true glue.  After securing the binding in this way, you can either stitch by hand or by machine.  You can watch a demo on YouTube.  It is called Binding the Angel. 

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I do a LOT of T shirt quilts and I do the same as everyone; put it on the DSM and stitch to the back. Then I half-ass iron it away from the quilt and machine stitch it to the front. Ironing makes it turn over easier. I use those new binding clips to hold it in place or just straight pins. Like Liz I make it a little bigger on the front side so it wraps over. I color match my bobbin thread to the backing. They can't believe how great it looks!  hahahaha if they only knew!

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I do like Sharon Schambers method too - the glue gives you such a nice sharp edge to stitch. I fold to the front to stitch sometimes.

The more you do, the easier it becomes.

I only hand stitch for show entries.

Great topic and tutorials! Thanks!

Joanne Flamand

APQS Sales and Education

www.artisticquiltdesign.com

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