Monday, May 11, 2015

Designing Monday

My main sewing has been working on the binding of an antique quilt that a friend gave me.  She first asked me to bind it for her and  I told her I would have think about it as I didn't want to ruin it.  I thought about it for awhile and told her I would try and bind it for her and she said to keep it.  You might think binding a quilt is not such a big deal and neither do I normally.  In fact I always enjoy putting the binding on and doing all the hand stitching on the back as the big finale to my work.  However here is the quilt she handed over to me.

As you can see it is a 1930's Grandmother's Flower Garden and all the edges are hexagons.  It is quilted and the excess backing and batting are still in place.  She had planned to use some store bought bias tape and hand sew it on.  She is in her 80's and decided her hands just could not take that.  I am not a big fan of bias tape and bought unbleached muslin to make bias binding.  The more I thought about hand sewing around all those little hexagons and trying to make the binding secure, I panicked.

Since the backing is still in place, I contemplated just cutting it 1/4" larger than the quilt top and then folding it under to match the edge and whip stitch it in place.  But I couldn't figure out how to deal with the inside corners of the hexagons.  And as I examined the quilt closer, there were places where the backing was actually smaller than the quilt top.  Can you see the pink quilt top peeking through the batting below?

I thought about packing it all up and giving it back to my friend, but I just couldn't disappoint her.  I looked at lots of photos on the Internet and saw that lots of people just whacked off the edges and made straight lines, but I just couldn't do that either.  It sort of spoiled the look of the quilt for me.

Then one day after agonizing over this quilt for weeks and months, I saw a brilliant idea on the Internet.  It was for a small (placemat or wall hanging size) quilt made of hexagons.  The maker constructed a binding of hexagons. Using the hexie papers, she sewed them in a chain and then attached them to the edge like a binding.  So smart and easy. Why didn't I think of this?!  Once all the hexagons are attached to the edge, pull out the papers, trim off all the excess backing and batting and turn the edge.  All the little points at the edge will have to poked to make them pointy and then the whole binding edge will have to be sewn down on the back.

I started on the process a couple of months ago and I try to remind myself to pick it up and work on it in the evening while I am watching TV.  At a minimum I would like to sew on at least 10 hexagons per day.  I am not quite that disciplined.  But it is coming along.  I have one end done and am half way along the second edge.  I was fortunate to have quite a bit of 1930's reproduction fabric in my stash.  None is as fun as seeing the original fabrics on the quilt top.

I will keep you posted on my progress.  Hop on over to Judy's blog to see some beautiful designs.


  1. Wow, what a beautiful treasure you are working on! I would have been afraid to start working on it too!! So glad you found something that is working and that you are making progress!

  2. What a smart way to finish! Who figures these things out?!?
    That is a treasure, and slowly, but surely, it will be finished and you will be thrilled!

  3. Interesting to finish the edge like that. But similar to what I have done. I have made 5 Flower Gardens, and I was taught that you do a facing, like you do when making a shirt. Very similar to what you are doing, but using 3 inch wide strips.