We get asked so many questions about this Quilt Binder so I thought I would do a 3 part series on how to use it – with step-by-step pics.
I have now completed the quilting on my Geisha quilt (see recent blogpost) and added the binding using the wonderful labour and time saving Quilt Binder attachment. I took photographs every step of the way and so here goes with a step-by-step pictorial guide:
Cut your binding strips 2 inches wide. This does NOT need to be on the bias. In fact, I would recommend that it is not cut on the bias unless you are binding curved edges. You can do binding with narrower finished size. You will need additional binder attachments to do this – Please see your local Elna Dealer for more information.
Figure out how many strips of binding you need and then join them all together with ¼
inch seams along the short ends. Do NOT press the seams open as you would normally do on a quilt binding. Rather press both raw edges the same way – to the tail end of the binding as it feeds into the Quilt binder. This is fairly obvious as those raw edges will just flip backwards as they get drawn through the binder attachment. You may join the strips at an angle if you prefer but still press the seams both the same way – to the tail end of the
long binding strip. I generally just sew my strips together straight across due to time and patience constraints. However, the choice is yours.
Attach the base plate of the binder to the sewing machine as per instructions on the inside page of the blister package (it opens like a book…..did you know that?). You may position the base plate horizontally or at an angle – whichever suits you better. Then tighten the large screw to hold the base plate tight.
Now attach the quilt binder to the base plate but don’t tighten the 2 screws completely as you may need to adjust the position of the binder from side to side to line it up perfectly with your quilt.
Attach the special quilt binder foot supplied with the binder to the ankle. I have been asked why is this necessary: it is because the regular A foot is too long and would bump against the back of the binder attachment – we thought of everything!!
Do not fret about attaching the binding with this supplied Quilt Binder foot as
opposed to an Elna walking foot or Elna IAF (built-in walking foot on EL740 Excellence) – Trust me….. the layers feed just fine. I have used this quilt binder to bind more than a dozen quilts and have not had a hissy fit yet! Big deep breaths…….this is supposed to be fun…..not a rigid following of an arbitrary set of rules that says I HAVE to use a walking foot every time I have more than 1 layer of fabric.
Feed the binding into the attachment with the fabric WRONG side facing you.
Pull it all the way through & under the foot. Tuck the raw edges to the inside of the folded binding and finger press gently if necessary. I usually lower the presser foot to hold this until I have my quilt inserted into the binder. Leave a generous tail of at least 4 inches behind the presser foot at the start. You will need this to join later. Short tails are way too fiddly to be bothered with.
Feed the trimmed quilt sandwich into the “mouth” of the quilt binder. I do NOT start at a corner as the ends would be too difficult to join. Rather start somewhere in the middle of one of the sides. Make sure that the edge of the quilt (the raw trimmed edge) is right up against the BACK of the mouth of the binder attachment. Think “gag” and you’ll get the picture! It you do not ensure that the quilt edge rides right up against the back of the “mouth” at all times, the binding will not fit closely on the quilt.
Select whatever stitch you would like to sew down your binding. Traditionally binding was sewn by a tiny hand stitch but since we are not going to do that here, you may choose a straight stitch OR…here’s a novel thought: what about one of those hundreds of decorative stitches that the EL740 Excellence (or your sewing machine may have)?? On this particular quilt I used Quilt category stitch # 100 which I left at the default setting of SW 7, SL2.5. When I use the stitch again I think I might open up the stitch length a little. Another stitch I use often for stitching my binding down is EL740 Quilt category stitch #108.
Now check that your needle and stitch path is where you want it to be: straddling the edge of the binding (in the case of a decorate stitch)? Or just to the right of the edge of the binding? You can either move your needle position if you are doing a straight stitch OR you can move the quilt binder attachment slightly to the left or right until you are satisfied with the position. Tighten the base plate screws.
Start stitching slowly but once you have mastered this technique and have gained confidence, you will be able to breeze along at top sewing speed from corner to corner. I have managed to literally HALVE the time it took me to attach my binding by machine. Nevermind the many hours it would take to hand sew a binding if I had ever been so inclined.
So, yes, the corners are a little more effort but the way I look at it is that I was stopping at the corners to fold my mitered corner anyway, so what’s the difference? The first quilt you do might have you scratching your head…….but persevere and PRACTICE and I promise you that you will master and LOVE this Quilt Binder. Ask me how I know: I was very sceptical and unenthusiastic when the Quilt Binder landed on my desk just over a year ago. I was a snobby quilter who thought she had her double continuous binding down pat,
thank you very much. I was proud I could complete a queen sized quilt from cutting the binding strips to folding up the completed quilt in under 1 ½ hours. I’m not lying…….I timed myself many times. Now that I have practiced and have mastered the different technique of the Quilt Binder……I am SOLD!! It has me doing the binding on a queen sized quilt in 45 minutes…..no kidding. Once again I timed myself.
So HOW DO I TURN THOSE CORNERS with the Quilt Binder? See Part 2
blogpost coming soon.