Thanks to this tutorial by Galloping Pony Studio I have achieved another finish for 2014, which so far has been a good year for starting projects and a bad one for finishing them. Well, my machine was in the shop for a bit so I do have an excuse.
This method to finish quilt edges works best with smaller whole cloth pieces, though I think you could use it on any smaller piece with extra fabric on the edges. You need a stretcher frame for canvas or a pre-stretched canvas available at most big box craft stores. (I think you could also look in thrift stores for old canvases to use. You’d probably need to paint over what’s on the canvas so color wouldn’t show through.) At any rate, I used a coupon to buy an inexpensive pre-stretched 16 by 20 inch canvas. If your piece is an unusual size you’ll need to use stretcher bars. The pre-made canvases seem to be available only in units like 12 by 12 inches, 12 by 16, 16 by 16, etc.
Once you have a wooden frame to attach your piece to, trim your piece to the size of the frame plus 1/4 inch per side. You’ll be sewing a 2.5 inch wide strip of fabric around the entire edge, so you need that 1/4 inch for a seam allowance. The next step is to cut a 2.5 inch wide strip of fabric long enough to go around the outer edges in one continuous strip. I used part of an old sheet I had dyed in the same batch as my piece, so it coordinated well. I think the main requirement for this strip is strength (you’ll be nailing/stapling through it.) You can go discreet or bold for color.
Once you get the fabric strip sewn on, recruit a helper for the stretching and attaching steps. I used (well, my husband did) a staple gun, but small tacks might work, too.