Binding bewilderment puts makers of homemade baby quilts in a bind.
There’s a great big obstacle that keeps many makers of handmade baby quilts from finishing their projects. They love to buy the fabrics, and their minds are filled with ideas for baby keepsake quilt patterns, so they go to work assembling the major components and even do the quilting their handmade baby quilts from flannel. But when it comes to finishing off the edges, they are stymied, because they don’t know how to do bindings. So they put that project away and start another one in familiar territory, which usually ends up the same sad way.
In quilting circles, those incomplete works are called UFOs – unfinished objects.
Quilters Have Options
When Grandma made her quilts, she tended to use a larger backing fabric than the front piece, so she could fold it over the front and stitch it down in what is called a blanket edge or a wrapped edge. It will still do the job of finishing the project, but this technique is not very durable, since the edges wear after frequent laundering.
There are tougher alternatives a quilter can use to finish baby boutique quilts, from simple choices to more ornate and challenging options.
A Trio of Methods is the Starting Place
There’s more than one way to skin a cat (perish the thought), and there’s more than one way to make a binding for all-flannel and flannel and minky baby quilts.
Should you choose to use a different fabric to finish off the edges of your homemade baby quilts, you’ll have what is called an applied binding.
This fabric can be cut on the bias, or along the lengthwise or crosswise grain.
If you choose to cut the binding material along the bias, a double fold construction will provide good durability for handmade baby quilts.
Here’s an example: Cut strips on the bias of the fabric chosen for the binding. Sew these pieces together until there’s enough to complete all four sides of the quilt.
The binding material is folded and then pressed, wrong side out. Attach one side by machine, fold it over, and finish the second edge by hand.
If you choose to use the components of the quilt itself, you will be creating what is termed a self binding.
Here’s an example: The three layers are fastened by basting them together with the front and back wrong side out, and then stitching all around, with a small open space at one end to effect the turning-out process. Once returned to the right sides, the small opening is hand-sewn closed, and the piece is then quilted, with all edges hidden. This type of finishing is easy to do, but not as strong as some others, so it’s good for light use purposes.
Among other possibilities to translate unique baby quilt ideas into finished products are corded bindings and scalloped bindings.
A savvy quilter will research the various options and choose a style that is more than just a good looker for a pink baby quilt for a newborn keepsake or a baby boy’s blue crib companion. It has to be one that the quilter can complete, and it has to provide the toughness necessary to create baby quilts that can be handed down from generation to generation.