After the hours of quilting, I was eager to get the binding on and put this baby to bed. In fact, blame it on my lack of sleep, or eyes that were still crossed from the hours hunched over my machine (let’s admit it, sometimes our quilting posture isn’t so great), but I was actually looking forward to binding. Now, any quilter will tell you that they have a favorite part of the process. For some it’s the piecing, and others the quilting. I’m starting to figure out my favorite part (a post for another day), but I can definitely tell you what it’s not…the binding.
I don’t know why, it’s a reasonably simple proposition (after a few youtube videos on mitered corners anyway), but I usually end up dreading it – afraid that I will somehow fumble the final finishing touch – the one that you can’t hide. But, for whatever reason, I was excited to bind Americana and wanted to give it some additional flourish — you know, because the dozen or so hours of quilting weren’t enough. At any rate, given that this was to be a quilt for a family reunion, I thought about adding some kind of label that would commemorate the year and the event. As I’ve mentioned, we call our reunion “Camporama,” so I set about making a Camporama 2019 label. Since I wanted a finished edge, and the rest of the quilt was already together, I opted for a tab style label that I could just include in the binding.
I considered a few options for the lettering. And before you ask, no, my machine doesn’t do all of that fancy embroidery hocus pocus. My material was too dark to trace an image of the wording from the back side of the fabric, and I didn’t have any transfer paper. Rather than pause the process for another trip to the craft store, I stole a page out of the paper piecing book. Now, I have never done paper piecing, but I’ve watched a few videos about it online, and I thought that might be a strategy to provide a template for my lettering. Here’s what I did:
- I cut a small piece of fabric and interfacing about and inch larger than the size that I needed the label to be.
- Using MS Word, I chose a font that I liked, typed up “Camporama 2019,” formatted it , and printed it off.
- I cut out the small section of the document with the wording and pinned to my fabric and interfacing (the interfacing will help provide some “grab” so that your fabric can more easily move through the machine in the next step).
- I free motion quilted right over the letters, tracing over all of the type with thread.
- I simply tore of the paper, and presto-change-o, I had a custom embroidered label.
- I trimmed the interfacing, folded the material in half, right sides together and sewed around the left and right sides and the bottom of the label. Then I turned it right side out.
- Then, I pinned it inside the edge of the binding and sewed it in place while I was attaching the binding.
It did take a couple of tries, but over all I was really happy with the outcome and it was pretty easy to do. In fact, I’ve been thinking of all sorts of other ways that I might use this technique in the future.
With the binding on, there was only one thing left to do — pack it up and give it away. One evening at the Camporama, when we all gathered for a family meal, we did a drawing to see who would take Americana home. And, can you believe it, my Mom won the drawing! It’s pretty cool because my parents have been so supportive of my quilting, and now they have my first large scale project. Which also means that in the future I can always go back and look at it and remember my early first steps…and hopefully see how far I’ve come.