Fair warning- this post is picture-laden. No appologies.
I think it’s fair to say that I’m a figure-it-out-as-I-go-er vs. a plan-and-methodically-execute-er (sorry grammar police). But that’s just how I learn. For once in my life, though, I committed to following a pattern and doing this project “the right way”- following each step carefully, fixing mistakes, learning techniques that I didn’t know before I attempted them.
Totally worth it.
Especially in the case of the hand stitched binding finish. The seam attachment is practically invisible.
Here are more pictures:
I can’t give you the full tutorial as it’s published in the beautiful book, Modern Log Cabin Quilting. This is an awesome book for beginner quilters and gives detailed instructions, tutorials, and patterns for each quilt. I fell in love with the book even before I started quilting!
What I can give you, though, are some simple instructions for you to practice with, and some technique instruction for those you’ll need to complete this quilt.
First, let’s talk about the actual block. I’ve blogged about log cabin blocks before for this baby quilt and this baby play mat. The log cabin cross block is made up of four log cabin blocks pieced together in a particular way so that the contrasting fabric creates a cross. Like this:
Best drawing ever, right?!
Next up, you need to know how to chain-piece. This will make your life INFINITELY easier and if you aren’t doing this already, you should be. I almost cried after figuring this out when I realized how much time I had wasted sewing, trimming, and cutting every single piece as I went.
Spacing everything out made it easier to see in the diagram- when you are actually chain piecing, you want each piece (so each square in the image above) as close as possible so when you cut them apart there is little to no trimming necessary and little to no wasted fabric.
And finally, the ladder stitch, which is how I finished the binding. I’ve got a one year old a three year old who keep me pretty busy so hand stitching is something that’s been scaring me off for quite awhile. I just couldn’t picture myself sitting with a needle and thread and getting anything accomplished. I compromised with this binding by machine stitching it to the quilt top, and then hand stitching it to finish it off on the back. It looks beautiful and was MUCH easier, for me, than machine stitching that final seam- I always mess up and miss the binding creating big, gaping holes that need to be fixed by hand anyway.
Image from stitchwerx.net
This “ladder” stitch is perfect for finishing the binding as it is nearly invisible when done correctly. Make sure your are inserting your needle just under the actual fold of the binding. When you pull your thread taught, the gap will close and your stitches will be neatly tucked away under the join of both fabrics.
I’d definitely give this one a try if you are ready to attempt a “real” quilt pattern. The finished product is worth every moment of effort, I promise!
Because is there anything better than a baby in a quilt (and signing Mommy to boot?!)? …Oh right. There is. It’s called Mommy in a quilt with coffee. Lots and lots of coffee.