12 April 2015

Howto: Binding little round things

I wasn't sure how I would finish the edges of my lonestar circle coasters. I liked the idea of double-fold quilt binding, but it seemed like it might be tricky, especially the curves and the relatively tight diameter. I decided to try it on one coaster, and then decide what to do with the rest.

It turned out exactly like I wanted. I'll show you how I did it.

I used 17" lengths of 2 1/4" bias strips for my 4 1/2" diameter circles. If you're working with a different sized circle the length of your bias strip will be

      (Diameter * 3.14) + 3"

This will give you about 3/4" extra length for wiggle room. Please note that you must use bias-cut binding strips. Binding strips cut on the grain will not conform to the curve, and your finished project will not sit flat. Bias is essential!

Mark a 45-degree diagonal line on the wrong side of one end of the bias strip starting at the top right corner. (Pay attention to the diagonal orientation - top right corner to bottom left edge. It won't work if you draw from the bottom right corner.) Press the strip in half.

Begin pinning the strip to the front of the circle. Leave a 4" unpinned tail at the marked end.

Carefully pin the bias strip about 2/3 of the way around the circle. Pin every 3/4" to 1", angling the pins toward the center of the circle. Gather the folded edge as you pin. Be careful not to stretch the cut bias edge.

Go back to the 4" marked tail. Gingerly wrap the tail around the circle edge as if you were going to pin it. Place a pin in the coaster circle where the binding ends (note the yellow flower pin head behind my finger).

Now set the marked binding tail aside and pick up the opposite binding tail. As before, wrap it around the circle edge until you reach the marker pin. Mark the bias strip at the pin (I've made a small tick mark in the photo).

Flip the coaster over, with the trailing binding strip extended and the new mark visible. Trim the strip 2 1/4" from the mark you just made. (If you look very closely you can see my tick mark on the fabric at 2 1/4".)

Press the crease flat at the two ends of the binding strip.

Pin the two ends together right sides together at a 90-degree angle, aligning the edges.

Sew along the marked line.

Time for a reality check. Before you trim anything, fold the bias strip in half to make sure you didn't make a Möbius strip or some other unworkable shape.

But it looks good! So trim the excess, and press the seam flat.

Re-crease the binding strip.

Pin around the remaining 1/3 of the circle, careful to even out any excess or tightness. Now sew around the circle with a 1/4" seam allowance.

Turn and press the binding to the back of the coaster. Finish the back of the binding as you wish. I enjoy finishing by hand!

09 April 2015

A pile of coasters

My mom was at my home the other day. She picked up a quilted fabric coaster I had made from an orphan block and said, "This is what I want." Well, there's no arguing with that,is there.

I got it in my head to make some mini lonestars, cropped round & quilted. I wasn't sure how many I'd make. Maybe 4 or a couple more, I thought. Once I got going they came together pretty fast & I ended up making 12, enough for three game tables when my mom & dad host bridge night.

The first couple blocks I assembled in standard concentric rings of like fabrics. Lonestars are strip-pieced and assembled in 8 wedges, then combined to form the whole star.

Then I tried making two contrasting sets of 8 wedges, using the same fabrics but in different order, and mixing the two sets together for a pinwheel effect.

And then mixing sets with varying fabric choices, though all the star blocks use just 4 fabrics.

Finally I collected strip-piecing remnants to make one scrappy block. It's in the top left corner of the group shot at the top of the post.

The coasters are machine quilted along the seam lines, trimmed to 4 1/2" diameter with a rotary circle cutter, and bound with 2 1/4" double fold bias tape.

I finished the binding during several days of my commute. I'm tickled that the backing fabric looks a bit like that old end table that everyone forgets to use a coaster on. Now it's time to get these in the mail!