Have you ever turned a binding to the front and stitched by machine?
I have done it on small projects like mug rugs or minis, but never on a quilt -- until Friday.
|Picnic quilt - pattern inspired by Jo Kramer|
I needed to bind two picnic quilts for Christmas gifts but due to a series of early errors complicated by a busy social schedule, I wasn't able to get to it until Friday. I knew I didn't have the time to whip down the binding by hand. And I knew these quilts would have a rugged life in and out of cars, on the ground at picnics and outdoor concerts, so I figured a machine binding made more sense.
I normally cut my bindings at 2 inches. That was my first error. The thickness of the back, a heavy chambray-looking fabric, along with the batting was just too much for 2" to cover the stitching on the front. Plus the weight of the fabric I had chosen for the binding, the poly-cotton grey used in the quilt, didn't look like it would hold up to a lot of wear.
|Poly-cotton grey chambray|
(BTW, the shirts were mostly poly-cotton, too, so why not in the background?) (And also, BTW, isn't the quilting pattern perfect for this?)
So back to the cutting table. This time I used the backing fabric, cut at 2.5".
|Backing fabric - heavy!|
I estimated how many strips I would need for both quilts and that was my second error. I forgot to allow for the overlap at the joining point and so I was one strip short for the second quilt. At least I had the presence of mind to measure before I started stitching it on!
Thinking (always gets me in trouble) that I would need the walking foot, I stitched the binding to the back of the quilts without any problems. But when I started stitching on the front side, the walking foot would hang on lumps and bumps and I found myself pulling the quilt from behind to keep it moving. Talk about uneven stitches! And with all my attention on moving the fabric under the needle, I couldn't keep a consistent stitching line. Some of my stitches didn't even catch the edge of the binding! AND my thread matched so well I had a hard time seeing the stitches to rip out!!
Not to mention all that yanking around got my thread wrapped around my sewing-room angel that hangs from my supplemental light.
With my anxiety level at an all-time high -- I couldn't quit now because these quilts were promised two Christmases ago -- I put my trusty quarter-inch foot back on the machine.
Not only did it work better than the walking foot, the 1/8" side of the foot on the left was the perfect stitching guide. However, it was still dragging a bit over lumpy seams. Then it occurred to me ... I can adjust the foot pressure on this machine!
|Presser foot pressure control|
I increased the pressure a bit above normal and all was well with my world.
Edit: Both quilts finished in time, wrapped, and delivered!!
Full disclosure: If I had thought of the foot pressure earlier, the walking foot may have worked.
If I hadn't been too lazy to clear off the Pfaff machine (with dual feed),
I probably would not have had any problems.