by Mary Beth Krapil

 

I’m willing to bet 9 out of 10 of you bought your longarm machine because you were not happy wrestling that large quilt through your domestic machine to do the quilting. Am I right? We solved one problem. But, then what do we do? We finish the beautiful quilting on our longarm, then take the quilt off the frame and wrestle that large quilt through our domestic machine to apply the binding. Let me ask, does that make any sense? I am going to share a little tutorial on how to apply your binding to the front of the quilt while it is still on your longarm frame. It is quick and easy! The only tool you will need is a straight longarm ruler. I also use my HQ Square foot which makes the whole process much easier.

Along the way I am going to mention some different options you have for doing some of the steps. I suggest you try them all and see what works best for you.

Prepare your binding

Prepare your double fold binding as you normally would, at the width that you prefer, whether you use bias binding or straight grain binding. The binding needs to be at least 12-18 inches longer than the perimeter of the quilt top.
Tip: use a bit of spray starch, applying the starch to the wrong side of the binding as you press it in half, it acts like a glue that keeps the two sides of the binding firmly together and prevents the sides from shifting or separating during the application process.
Now you need to choose whether you will complete the entire binding on the frame or whether you will leave the last 10 or so inches to complete on your domestic machine.
  • complete the entire binding on the frame
    • open one end of the binding and cut on a 45 degree angle
    • press in a quarter inch fold on the end you just cut
    • press the binding back in half
    • Open binding and cut at a 45 degree angle

       

      press in 1/4 inch fold

       

      re-press in half

       

  • complete the binding on the domestic
    • no special prep required

Applying binding after all quilting is complete.

Quilt as you normally would, but do not remove the quilt from the frame. Be sure to baste the bottom edge of the quilt and remove from the leader if you had it attached.

You will start on the right side about 10 inches up from the bottom corner (or as much as your throat space allows). Leave a 6-8 inch tail loose. If you are finishing completely on the frame start with the end you cut at an angle. Place the binding so that the raw edge of the binding lines up with the raw edge of the quilt. There are a few methods you can choose from:

Using a Ruler

  • I like to use a ruler with tabs like the HQ Ditch Ruler or the HQ Mini Scallop ruler. The straight side of the HQ Versa Tool ruler works as well, although it is shorter than the other two. This holds the binding in place as you sew along the ruler edge.
    • Align the ruler at the raw edge of the quilt.  Place HQ Square foot against the ruler.
    • Make a few locking stitches and stitch ¼ inch away from the edge of the quilt along the ruler.
    • When you come to the lower right corner, position the ruler so that the inside of the tab is at the raw edge on the bottom of the quilt. Stop stitching ¼ inch from the bottom edge, or when the foot touches the ruler tab. Do a few locking stitches.
    • Do The Fold
    • – fold the binding to the right at a 90 degree angle to the right side of the quilt, aligning the raw edge of the binding with the bottom edge of the quilt. Finger press the mitered fold. Then fold the binding back on it self to the left, with the fold lined up with the right edge of the quilt. Align the raw edge of the binding with the raw edge of the bottom of the quilt.
    • Position your needle just off the fold, ¼ inch away from the bottom edge of the quilt. Make a few locking stitches and continue to stitch across the bottom of the quilt. When you come to ¼ inch from the left side of the quilt, tie off with locking stitches and repeat the fold. These photos show “Doing the Fold” at the bottom left corner and the top left corner of the quilt.
    • Ruler in place at the lower left edge. Note the placement of the tab.

       

      First fold at lower left corner

       

      Second fold at lower left corner

       

      Positioning foot

       

      Staring to stitch up left side

       

      First fold at top left corner

       

      Second fold at top left corner

       

    • Proceed in this manor stitching up the left side and across the top and down the right side. As you stitch up (or down) the sides, when you need to roll, leave the needle down in the quilt and very carefully and slowly roll the quilt. That way you can stitch a continuous seam.
    • As you stitch down the right side of the quilt, stop your stitching line approx 10 inches away from where you began, leaving the ends of the binding to be finished.
    • Remove the quilt from the frame and finish the binding on your domestic machine, attaching the ends of the binding with your favorite method.
    • Trim away excess backing and batting and the binding is now ready to be turned to the back side and stitched down either by hand or by machine, whatever is your preference.
  • If you prefer to finish the entire binding on the frame:
    • when you come close to where you started on the right side, smooth the beginning binding strip up in place and cut the ending binding about 1 inch past the miter on the beginning strip.
    • Tuck the raw end inside the mitered beginning strip. Then complete the stitching. The turned under edge on the binding will have to be hand stitched to keep the binding joined.
    • Now you can remove the quilt and trim the excess backing and batting. You are ready to turn the binding to the back and stitch.

Free Motion

  • Just stitch down the binding keeping the edge of the hopping foot at the edge of the quilt. Be sure the binding stays smooth and be careful not to stretch the binding as you work. Hold the binding in place with one hand as you move your machine with the other hand. This is the best method for not-so-straight-or-square quilts where you will have to make adjustments and follow the edge of the quilt.

Channel Lock

  • Channel lock really works well if the quilt is straight and square. Use the channel locks in place of the ruler. Once again, use one hand to hold binding in place and other hand to move the machine.

Wasn’t that easy?!!