Week in Review 2021 – 07/09

Finish Line

Funny how starting a new artwork I am filled with euphoria, while finishing an artwork I tend to be consumed by doubt. You might think it is the other way around. When I first started quilting nothing sent a piece faster into the UFO (unfinished object) stash than not knowing how to quilt it. If that didn’t do it, than how to finish the edges did. You have got to love how 33 years of experience solves both these issues.

There are numerous ways to finish a quilt. I lean heavily on facing, bias binding or satin stitching my edges. The traditional method, based on traditional quilts is bias binding. Why bias? Simple. It wears better with use.

Reflection 2 is a piece which calls for a facing finish. This allows the landscape portrayed to expand in the viewers mind beyond the edges of the work.

Fabric Line

Let’s talk fabric composition. Fabric is woven in two different directions, the warp and the weft. Warp threads are the vertical threads that run the length of the fabric. Whereas weft threads run the width of the fabric. When fabrics are cut on the grain that is when you get wisps of dangling threads along the edge of the cut. Pull on those – well there is no end to the pulling. Should one wear away on the edge of a quilt, that edge develops a noticeable rip. Let’s hear it for bias binding. A bias cut is on the diagonal. One advantage of doing this is it greatly diminishes the dangling thread issue.

Irregular grid pattern of thread painted shells in muted tones of blues, greens and sand.
Beach Stroll is an example of when bias binding is the natural choice.

Favorite Finishing Tool

Although it is possible to buy bias binding, I don’t. The quality tends to poor. The fabric choice is limited. So, is the width of the binding. This is why I make my own. My favorite tool to make bias binding is Clover’s Bias Tape Maker. Clover manufactures tape makers in a variety of sizes. What I appreciate about them is:

  • My hands are safely away from the iron;
  • The handle allows me to pull the maker easily to the next section and
  • They hold the fabric securely so the folds are consistent.

I am linking up with Nina Marie’s Off the Wall Fridays.

By Gwyned Trefethen

I am an artist who uses fabric, thread and miscellany to create designs gifted to me by my imagination.


    1. Thank you, Angela. It is currently hanging in the entrance to our home. Hard to believe I made it while living in Wisconsin, before I ever knew I would move back to Massachusetts and live a walk away from the Atlantic Ocean.

  1. Gwyned, this blog post is speaking to me like it’s my Jiminy Cricket Conscience! The only thing left to do with a client’s vintage quilt is replacing the binding, and I’m dragging my feet because I’m not sure how I’m going to do it yet. The original binding was off-grain but not true bias, yet it was just single fold so it wore clean through the edges all the way around the quilt and in a lot of places the batting even fell out of the exposed seam allowances. The other challenging thing is that the quilt has very thick cotton batting, like 2-3 layers’ worth of the thickness we quilt with today, and the binding finished at a whopping 3/4″ finished width. So, do I replace it with double fold binding to wear better, or single-fold out of respect for the original method used? And if I do double-fold, that will be a lot more fabric in the mitered corners than I’m used to dealing with. I have to do machine binding, too, because the client’s budget did not allow for hand binding. As I procrastinate, all of this is marinating somewhere in the back of my mind.

    1. Wow, that is a dilemma. Not sure how to repair something where the batting has worn away. Does the client have an opinion? Why were they willing to invest money in having it repaired? What is there goal? To stay true to the original piece or have sentimentally treasured heirloom to display? There is also the question of your time. You are in business and not a charity. Nor are you a museum conservator taking care of acquired textiles. Amazing how something apparently simply as binding is far more complex when you delve into it.

    1. Thank you, Mary. My followers run the range from family and friends, newer quilters and career art quilters, like you. I try to include content that spans the wide gulf. Not always in a single post, but over time.

      It is always good to hear from you. 🙂

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