Rainbow Binding Tutorial

While working on my Dare to Dresden quilt, I decided I wanted to have a Rainbow-striped binding for it using some of my hand-dyes.

Here is how I did it:

I first cut 2” strips (22” strips) of each of my fabrics and then I sewed them together along the long edge of the strip – staggering them 2” from the end:  I only put six strips together like this to make cutting easier later. 


I made sure to press each seam open.  This reduces the bulk.  I do this when joining my binding regularly anyway. 


The next step (no photo, sorry) is to take a longer ruler and line up the 45-degree mark with one of the seams and cut the staggered ends off creating your strait line.  Then it is just as simple as cutting each bias strip 2-1/2”.  To keep it accurate, line the 45-degree mark up on a seam to make sure your angle is still accurate.

Once your strips are cut, ,then just join your strips together end to end as you would normally for bias binding strips, pressing seams open.

If you have more colors/fabrics that you want to use (for instance in a 12-step rainbow), just make different sets of strips and then join them together when making the length of the binding, alternating strip sets, continuing until you have enough binding to complete the perimeter of the quilt.

Once you have your binding strip made ( folded and pressed in half) – here are some tips to help you attach it easier:

Leave a 12” opening with 12” tails on both ends for joining the binding seamlessly.  I use “the binding tool” for joining the ends of my binding together.  Instructions can be found on the tool.

I also sew with a 3/8” seam.  I like my bindings to be tight, but completely filled and even.  This is how I get them and still able to get crisp mitered corners:

First, take a square post-it note and fold it in half diagonally.  I place it in the corner as below and sew to the post-it note.


Follow the stitching along the edge of the post-it note to the corner of the quilt.


Take the post-it note and flip it to lay in this direction below.



Use the post-it note as a guide for folding:  Flip the binding fabric as the photo below and fold it there.  As you are holding the fabric down in that position, carefully pull out the post-it note.


Place the post-it note in the corner of the quilt as below. Again, use the edge of the post-it note as a guide to fold.  Flip the binding back along the edge of the quilt


Flip the binding back along the edge of the quilt. 


Carefully pull out the post-it note.  Until you get really good at holding this edge without pins, I suggest pinning the binding down.  This creates a nice, even fold for the miter.


Now you just sew from the edge all the way to the next corner where you repeat the steps above.



I have been doing my binding like this for over a year and have not had a horrible corner, even when a seam ends up in the corner like it seems to inevitably.


Charlotte’s Web

I think I am seriously in love. 

(photo from Superior’s Site)

This is the product I used for my Fireworks on the Prairie quilt.  Here is a small how-to on how I did it differently than the videos on the website.  I found this way by accident and it makes it even easier (if you could imagine) than their way.

First, I trace the design on freezer paper and cut it out.  I cut just inside the line to make it a little bit smaller.  I then iron the freezer paper down on the fabric that I am using for the design.


Next, I stitch around the freezer paper. I use Bottom-Line in thread in the top and the fusible web in the bobbin.  You can do it either way, but since I generally have a size 10 needle in my machine, it is easier for me to do it this way.


Yes, I do use a contrasting thread. 


After stitching all the way around the shape, I cut as close as I can to the stitch line without clipping the threads.  This can be difficult, so go slow.


Next I press, as directed, to the background fabric for about 10-15 seconds to fuse the shapes together.  Not shown:  Once the shape is fused down I spot-heat a section to lift up the top thread to separate it.  I then spot-heat all around to make the top unravel.


After this I do a button-hole stitch in the matching thread.  You can use whatever decorative stitch you want; zig-zag, herringbone, etc.

The other cool thing is that the fabric is not stiff like when you use steam-a-seam or wonder-under.  You can also trim away fabrics like traditional applique.  I actually trimmed the black away from the white stars in the quilt.

Basting A Quilt – Tutorial

A while back I had asked for help with trying to find a new way to sandwich my quilts.  I had been using my dining room table, but when we bought a new one, I didn’t want to use it anymore.

My friend Joan sent me a link to this video:


I really liked the method, but I had problems with making sure my batting and backing was centered.  I also had problems with rolling the quilts on the boards without making a mess.  So I made some alterations to the way I do it.  Several of my friends have asked me to write the directions out, so here it is:



Mark the center of both of your boards.  I found some MDF molding at Home Depot.  6-foot long pieces of 1×2 (approximately) and pre-painted so I don’t have to “finish” the boards myself.  I am all for saving a step!


Mark the center of your backing top with masking tape.   Place a piece of tape around the center and fold the quilt to crease the masking tape.  The tape does not need to be centered, you just need a reliable way to mark the center of your quilt that will not come off and is pliable.  Repeat for the center bottom of your backing.


Tape your backing right-side-up to the first board.  Make sure to align the center-top of the quilt with the center-mark of your board.  When you are rolling your backing, make sure the edges are somewhat aligned.


Tape the center-top of your quilt top and again to the bottom-center.  Again, the tape does not have to be centered, just the center mark clearly identified.


Tape your quilt top seam-side-up (right side down) to the board aligning the center-mark on the board with the center-top of the quilt top.   Again, make sure the edges are somewhat aligned when rolling.


Unroll about a foot of your backing on the table. 


Take your pre-cut batting and fold in half lengthwise.  Align along the center mark of your quilt ( this is one reason for marking the bottom of your quilt with tape.


Unfold the batting making sure the center is still along the center of your batting.  Smooth out any wrinkles.


Unroll the top.  Making sure the center-bottom of the quilt top is aligned with the center-bottom of the backing.


(A close-up of the alignment).  Place the quilt top about an inch to two inches away from the bottom edge of the batting/backing.


You can start pinning or thread basting or tack basting.  Smooth as you go.  You will only be pinning about a foot of the top at a time.  The weight of the boards will keep the edge taught.


Move the pinned portion down off the edge of the table.  Flip the top and batting so you are able to unroll about another foot of backing.  Flip the batting back and smooth the section you are working on.


Roll out the top and smooth.


Pin again.  Repeat the last three steps until you are completed with your top.  Once you are done, you can remove all masking tape and then quilt as desired.

Have fun with this easy basting method.  You no longer have to pull two or more tables together and try to stretch to the center of them.  You no longer have to crawl along the floor to baste your quilt.  I will no longer do either when I need to sandwich a quilt.

Let me know what you think if you try it.