I changed my mind about how to finish the edges of “Canyon” once I discovered Gloria Loughman’s technique for a thin inner border and a wide binding. Originally I had planned to face this quilt as it’s a contemporary or art quilt, and your usual and customary narrow folded binding just wouldn’t work. Then, I realized that a skinny line with a wide binding might give it some pop.
You can find a full description of Gloria’s method in her newest book, “Radiant Landscapes.” I bought a copy because I had enjoyed her previous books. While I’m not much taken with her tiling technique as illustrated below, I found her suggestions for painting cloth and finishing quilts to be useful. I think this and other binding treatments may also be in her “Quilted Symphony” book.
The finishing method I chose requires you to square off your quilt as usual, but leave at least a few inches of batting and backing around your quilt once you quilt it. You’ll add a narrow border and a wide binding. You sew narrow (about one to 1.5 inches wide) strips of your inner border fabric to your quilt sides and then top and bottom, making sure the strips are the same distance from your batting and backing edge all the way around. Don’t guess, use your ruler. These strips get pressed toward the quilt edges.
Next, you pin your folded binding strips (mine were 5 inches wide, then folded in half to measure 2.5 inches), lining them up so the cut edge parallels the outside edge of the narrow border. After you sew on your binding, you will be folding it over the quilt edge.
Before you sew on the binding you decide how wide you want your narrow border to be. You’ll position the wide binding accordingly. If you want a really skinny border, sew a 1 1/4 inch wide strip to the edge of your top. After sewing you’ll have a 1 inch wide strip. If you position the cut edge of your binding 1/2 an inch in from the outer edge of that strip you will end up with a 1/4 wide strip once you sew on the binding, if you use a 1/4 inch seam allowance. Gloria’s technique calls for a 1/8 inch wide border. I made mine 1/2 inch because I felt it looked better. Just be sure to allow for your seam allowance. The photo above shows my wide binding positioned 1/4 inch in from my narrow border’s outer edge.
Once you pin the binding to the quilt front, (here’s the slick part) you turn over your quilt so the backing side is up. This is the side you’ll sew on the binding from, using the stitching line of the narrow border as your guide to a parallel line. I pinned from this side, removed the pins from the top side, and adjusted my needle position so I could get a 1/2 wide inner border. Use whatever works to get the narrow border width you want. Sorry the border stitching line doesn’t show up in the photo. I told you that backing fabric concealed all my stitches!
After you sew the wide binding to the quilt sides, press the binding toward the edge and fold it to the back. Doing this gave me a binding that measured about 1.25 inches wide. Hand sew the binding down, and then follow the same method to do the top and bottom binding. It’s your standard butt edge binding method only wider.
This method appealed to me because I find it difficult to get a straight line for narrow borders, and because I like the wide binding. Having the batting under your seams helps stabilize your narrow border, as does cutting your strips much wider than your finished border width.
If you want a much wider, 3.5 inches say, outer frame, then try Gloria’s technique for a narrow border with wide facing edge.