Quilt Facing with Curved Corners

by Mary Beth Krapil

Almost a year ago I wrote a post about some of the numerous ways to finish the edges of quilts. If you missed it, you can find it here. One of the ways is facing a quilt.

There are times when you don’t want any binding to show on the front of the quilt, but you want the durability and security of an actual binding. Facing is the answer here. Facing strips are sewn to the front of the quilt and then turned to the back, rolling the seam, such that none of the facing is visible on the front of the quilt. Then the facing is hand stitched in place on the back of the quilt. I included this picture of a faced quilt.

There were some inquiries about how to make the curved corner on the facing. So I thought I would show you how I do it.  I applied facings to two of the Hoffman Dream Big panels that I quilted.  Have you seen these? They are amazing panels to quilt designs in each of the petals! So much fun to quilt! Watch for an upcoming article in Machine Quilting Unlimited magazine, featuring the panels quilted by several of the Handi Quilter National Educators. You won’t want to miss it!

On to facing instructions…..

First trim the quilted and blocked quilt.

Carefully measure the width and length of the quilt.

Cut the facing. You can make it as wide as you wish. I like it to finish at about 1.5 to 2 inches. I first cut 2 pieces that are U shaped.

I planned to cut the facing at 2 inches, so I started by cutting two 5 inch strips the exact width of the quilt to make the U shaped pieces. I am going to trim away the center of these to form the U. I want the curves on all four corners to be uniform, so I am going to make a template using freezer paper.

Freezer paper is an awesome tool in your studio! Useful for so many things. Here is one of them.

Press 3 sheets of freezer paper together by placing 3 sheets on top of each other, shiny side down and ironing. This creates a thicker piece. Using a rotary cutter and ruler square up the piece. Draw a line 2 inches from one side and another line 2 inches from the adjacent side. Use a circle template (a mug works great) to draw a curve where the 2 lines intersect. Cut on the line to create a template that looks like this:

Place this template on the 5 inch strip at one end, (as shown above) and trace the curve shape. Place it at the other end of the strip and trace. Cut on the drawn line and cut at 2 inches between the ends.  The piece you see on the right below is scrap. the U shaped piece is on the left.

Cut 2 strips 2 inches wide. These need to be a bit shorter than the length of the quilt. You will trim them later.

Take all 4 strips to the iron. You will press 1/4 inch to the wrong side on one side of both straight strips.

Press 1/4 inch to the wrong side on the inside of the U of the U shaped strips. The freezer paper template comes in handy for this step. Place it 1/4 inch away from the raw edge. Before pressing snip almost to the template in the curve. Snip about 5 places around the curve.

Pull the raw edge up over the template and press. Using the template creates a nice smooth curve. Remove the template.

Press 1/4 inch to the wrong side along the long edge between the curves. Press 1/4 inch on the short ends (top of the U, see below). Once all the pieces have been pressed, pin them to the right side of the quilt (right sides together). Start with the U shaped pieces, matching the corners and raw edges as shown. Pin in place.

Add the straight strips to the sides of the quilt, overlapping the U shaped strips where they meet. You may have to trim these pieces. I like them to overlap the U shaped strip by about an inch.

Once all the strips are pinned on, sew 1/4 inch from the raw edge on all four sides of the quilt.

Before turning the facing to the back of the quilt trim the corners as shown. Cut close to, but not into, the stitching lines.

Turn the facing to the back side of the quilt, carefully poking out the corners. Use a point turner or chopstick if desired.

Pull the facing to the back and roll the seam allowance to the back so that the facing is not visible from the front of the quilt.

I like to start in the center of each of the sides and work my way to the corners. Press and pin in place. I like to use steam to make a nice sharp knife edge. The goal is to not see any facing on the front and not see any of the quilt top on the back. I use a lot of pins. Take your time on this step. It is the most time consuming of the whole process. And you will get a wonderful facial from all the steam!

All that is left to do is hand stitch the facing to the back. Did I say the pinning was the most time consuming? Just put on a good movie and get comfy in your chair with your needle and thread. You’ll have a finished quilt before you know it!