Back a decade or so ago, basting a quilt sandwich took some time to complete. A “quilt sandwich” is simply the term we use once the quilt top, batting and backing are assembled together in preparation for quilting. In the “olden days”, we used to sew the layers of our sandwich together by hand with basting stitches or pinned 100’s of safety pins to hold the top, batting and backing together whilst the quilting took place. For a long while now there has been 505 Spray on the market and this has sped up the basting process considerably.
We know that many of you out there have a few finished quilt tops out there waiting to be “sandwiched” and quilted. Perhaps you are a new quilter and are curious about this step in the quilt making process. Every week we have customers who ask us about how to use this spray and we want everyone to see how quick and effective this spray is.
It’s not difficult to use, just remember to apply sparingly. 505 Spray & Fix Temporary Fabric Adhesive is a temporary repositionable fabric adhesive designed for quilt basting, applique, sewing, embroidery and crafts. The adhesive will not transfer from the surface that is sprayed. It eliminates pinning and and allows repeated repositioning! It does not gum up sewing needles, cleans up with soap and water. It is odorless, colorless and acid-free.
Here at Hamels we offer two sizes of spray cans. What size do you need? Well, a small can should last for several medium to small projects that you need to baste. However if you are busy making lots of quilt tops, invest in the larger can that will give you enough product to spray several large tops.
Here’s a quick video that shows how to use 505 Spray:
Yes, now those challenging concave/convex, inside/outside curves of so many beautiful quilt blocks are within the reach of ALL quiltmakers…Double Wedding Ring or Drunkard’s Path… Wheel of Mystery, Wheels of Whimsy, Robbing Peter to Pay Paul, Improved Nine Patch, Royal Cross… The Strips and Curves quilts… Turn traditional blocks into curved-seam creations…All possible with the Curve Master Presser Foot.
This foot was invented by a quilter, for quilters. This “snap-on” foot comes with several universal adapters to fit most sewing machines. Pieces that help this foot adapt work with machines like Viking, Husqvarna, Janome, Bernina, Pfaff, Singer Featherweight, new Singer machines, Brother, Kenmore, Juki, Elna, BabyLock, Necchi and more!
The Curve Master allows even beginners to sew:
On Any Sewing Machine
¼” Seams, Either Scant or Full, and Curved or Straight
At a Steady, Medium-to-Fast Machine Speed
Without Stopping to Align Fabrics
Producing Square Blocks that Rarely Require Trimming,
AND, Without Pinning, Marking or Clipping!!!
Want one for yourself? Find the Curve Master Presser Foot HERE, If you are interested in the Accuquilt die that Vanessa talks about in the video you can find it HERE, but feel free to try your own curved pieces cut the from the pattern of your choice.
Watch the video below for you to see this foot in action.
Ever looked at those romantic quilts with curved or scalloped edges? Seen rounded corners on some old-time quilts. They are very beautiful but how do you attach the binding without getting all puckered up? Well, relax and read this post. Let’s start at the beginning as we look at bias binding.
Bias binding is not only beautiful but is so practical. Quilters prefer it for three reasons:
I. Bias binding wraps around curved edges, rounded corners and scallops. Because the fabric used to make bias binding is cut “on the bias” it bends and stretches as you manipulate it around your quilt’s edge.
II. Practically speaking, bias binding is strong and durable on all those quilts that will go through hard use. There’s just something about the fabric threads at an angle that makes the binding withstand wear and lots of use.
III. Striped or plaid fabrics result in a fabulous candy cane or barber shop sign effect. Very cool and effective. Some of our customers only use bias bindings with striped fabric because they love the look so much!
Now we want to share with you how to create your own double fold bias binding efficiently through the “tube method”. This method gives you a long, continuous piece of bias fabric with little waste. No cutting endless short strips and wasting weird pieces at the end!
The amount of fabric needed to give you an adequate length of bias binding is determined by the following four step formula:
1. Measure the length of bias strip needed to go around the perimeter of your quilt sandwich. Remember to be somewhat “generous” in your measurement as you will have hills and valleys to wrap the binding around.
2. Determine the width of cut strip wanted. Most bias bindings are 2 to 2 1/2″ wide.
3. Multiply the “length” x “width” of cut strip = area of fabric
Example: 230″ in length needed to go around your quilt x 2″ wide = 460″ area
4. Find square root of the area to give you the size of square you need. Use a scientific calculator to get the square root or estimate and multiply until the find the “closest EVEN NUMBER” that matches the “area” you came up with in Step #3. Round up the square root to a simple number. Eg. the square root of 460 is 21.4476105895, go with a 22″ square!
5. Cut a square the size of your square root area. OR 22″ square in our example.
13 STEPS TO MAKING YOUR VERY OWN CONTINUOUS BIAS BINDING:
1. Cut your fabric square (as per size calculated above) from the fabric you want to use as bias binding.
2. Cut your square in half diagonally.
3. Overlap the two triangles that you have created (right sides together). Make sure to overhang the points at both ends of the pinned edge evenly.
4. Sew the pinned edge using a 1/4″ seam allowance.
5. Your piece should now look like a parallelogram (remember geometry?)
6. Press the seam allowance open taking care not to stretch or distort your bias seam. Now mark lines with your ruler. Distance between the lines will be the width of bias binding you want. Eg. 2″, 2 1/4″, etc.
7. Cut a slit about 5″ long or so along the line closest to the edge as shown.
8. After cutting the “slit”, fold both of the outside corners to the middle and pin as shown matching up the lines on both sides of the soon to be seam. NOTE – it is crucial at this point to stagger this seam as you pin it in place leave the slit you cut as a tail off the side. I know it looks a little weird at this point but trust me, this is going to be fabulous!
9. Sew the seam where you have pinned it together using a 1/4″ seam allowance.
10. After sewing the seam allowance, cut carefully along the lines you drew earlier (remember those lines are on the wrong side of your fabric and won’t be seen when they become enclosed in the seam of your quilt later. Cutting this is becomes the funnest part.
11. You are cutting a long continuous spiral. Kinda like those apple peeling tools that cut the apple peel off an apple in one continuous string.
12. Now you can take this long length of continuous bias binding to your iron and press all the seam joins you have open. Then press the binding in half lengthwise WRONG SIDES TOGETHER matching the raw edges.
13. VOILA! Now you have miles (or at least several metres of continuous bias binding to be used on your quilt sandwich that is awaiting binding. Some quilters use this method for all of their bindings. But remember this is the best kind of binding for curves, scallops and as a way of seeing that candy cane effect.
Sew the the double fold bias to the edge of your quilt or placemat (did I mention that this method works great on placemat bindings?! Be very careful not to s-t-r-e-t-c-h the bias strip. Be especially careful as you go around curves.
Next time, we hope to be able to show you how to apply this binding onto your project and get them curves bound up!
I can remember buying my first rotary cutter and mat way back in the early 1980’s when they first arrived on the scene. It was amazing how it would cut layers of fabric quickly and accurately. What an advancement to us as quilters! Before rotary cutters, quilters used to make have to cut with scissors and used cardboard templates to trace shapes. Seems so primitive to us now! Rotary cutters have sped up the process of cutting fabrics exponentially and are now an indispensable tool in your quilting toolbox. Here are a few tips to help us manage our cutters no matter what size you work with (28 mm, 45 mm or 60 mm). These tips may even help you save some money:
1. Blade Changing – When the time comes to swap out a dull or nicked blade there are several pieces to consider that hold the blade to the cutter. It can be confusing as you try to get the pieces back together in the correct order after a blade change. I know because this has happened to me. Try taking a few pics with your smart phone showing the order of the pieces as you take the cutter apart. Pictures can help us with accurate assembly when all the bits are spread out on the table. There is also a blow apart diagram to refer to on the replacement rotary blade packages nowadays.
2. Blade Disposal – Before disposing a used rotary cutter blade in the trash, tape the blade to a flat piece of cardboard with masking or duct tape before discarding the blade so that no one gets hurt handling the trash.
3. Up-cycling Dull Blades – Save dull rotary cutting blades to be used for cutting paper or wrapping paper. Using a rotary cutter to cut pieces of gift wrap paper speeds up the wrapping process. (Be sure to use a cutting mat underneath the paper)
4. Sharpening Blades – TrueSharp has developed an appliance to re-sharpen your dull blades and extend the life of used blades. I have one of these appliances and they work okay to sharpen the blade somewhat. No amount of sharpening will make it exactly as sharp as the blade was from the factory, but the blade sharpener will sharpen blades noticeably for more use. Sorry, but if there’s a nick in the blade, the only use is for cutting paper… If you cut a lot of fabrics for your quilting projects, the blade sharpener is a worthy investment. This appliance is available for special order and takes approximately a week to come from the warehouse. You can order it by clicking on TrueSharp Power Rotary Blade Sharpener. Watch the video below to see it in action.