I enjoy the privilege of making quilt tops that are made into Show Samples for Fabric Café. I piece the tops and return them to Donna and they are quilted and bound before traveling cross country and hanging in their Booth at quilt shows throughout the year.
Fabric Café has 3-yard bundles of fabric which can be used to make any of their over 25 patterns that make a nice size throw or youth size quilt. You want something larger, then get 2 of the same bundle and make a twin; 3 of the same bundle and make a full/queen; and 4 bundles make a king. One day I’ll make a king, but so far I’ve only made quilts and tops using one bundle.
These bundles & patterns are economy quilts – designed to use as much of the fabric with little waste. Most of the fabric is used to piece the top, which results in the need for a binding using the smallest amount of fabric.
You may be familiar with the basic double-fold binding using 2-1/4” strips, which are combined on the diagonal. This would require about 1/2 yard of fabric. Since most of the fabric in the 3-yard bundles/patterns is used to create the top, there isn’t enough to make the standard binding. This is where the Economy Binding comes into use.
The Fabric Café patterns use only 6-1/4” of fabric which is cut into five 1-1/4” strips to create a Single-fold Binding. [Read the instructions carefully as a few patterns are a bit different.]
Here is how I make the binding:
After stitching the strips together using a straight end-to-end seam, the first step is to iron the binding in half lengthwise with wrong sides together.
TIP: Because your fingers will be close to the iron as you fold and press, I recommend not using steam. Instead I use a spray bottle filled with water and liberally spray the binding strip. Let it sit for a few minutes to ‘soak in’. This will help prevent your fingers from being burned by the steam coming out of the iron.
Fold the binding strip in half with the right side out, and iron. I iron the connecting seams open.
TIP: I use a “Tailor’s Clapper” to help set the crease. As you press the damp binding with the hot iron, immediately place the Clapper on the binding and hold. This will hold in the steam/heat without scorching the fabric. See my Post – Click Here – about the wonderful wood quilting tools handmade by my brother-in-law.
After the first fold, finger-press one side in to the middle. This will make it easier to get an even fold without pressing out the first crease.
Now use the iron (and Tailor’s Clapper, if you have one) to set the 2nd crease.
There, you now have a nicely creased Economy Binding to finish your 3-Yard Bundle Quilt!
After quilting your quilt, finish it by adding the Economy Binding as you desire. Line the unfolded raw edge of the Binding with the raw edge of your quilt and machine stitch it with a scant 1/4” seam. Fold the binding to the opposite side and stitch it in place.
Side Note: If hand stitching the binding down, machine stitch the raw edge to the front and fold to the back. I do a lot of baby/children quilts and when adding the binding, I machine stitch the raw edge to the back and fold it to the front. I then line the folded side of the binding along the stitch line and will use a decorative stitch to attach the binding. This gives a more secure binding to withstand wear-and-tear usage and frequent washings.
Happy Stitching (Binding)!