Thursday, March 10, 2011

Bias - Bindings, Frills, and more

After my day judging show entries last Friday, I thought I might find my soap box and have something to say on an issue that interests me.  The cushion in the photograph above was made some time ago [isn't everything!!], and it contains examples of some things I am pleased with, and others that are not so much to my liking .  This rather simple example of silk ribbon embroidery was featured in an Australian magazine.  It was a quick, and pretty project I did for a certain purpose.  One thing I noticed whilst judging was the finishing on cushions.  Some cushions had floppy outers [the insert was too small for the finished article], some had frills with straight joins, some had nylon lace added to cotton fabric........................ perhaps I'd better stop there.

My main concern was seeing straight joins in frills as well as quilt bindings.  This is something I consider to be most annoying, and certainly avoidable.  In my opinion, it is much better to always join strips on the bias.  One of the reasons for this is 'camouflage', ie a bias join will almost always be invisible in patterned fabric, whereas a straight join seems to make the break in the pattern much more noticeable.  I've included a close-up of the bias join in my frill for the SRE cushion.  Another reason just makes good old common sense.  When you fold your fabric strip in half lengthwise to gather, you don't have the seam allowance in the same place, therefore your frill with pull up much easier.   Now I have to mention the things I would not do again if I made this cushion.  Bear in mind this was made for a beginner project.  I have added the borders without using a bias or mitre join.  I would not do that again!!  I've often toyed with adding net [not tulle] inside my frills to give added body, therefore eliminating the 'fall overs' one sees at times with frills.  I would be interested to hear if others have done this, or think it would be workable. 

I will also add a photograph of one of my bindings.  Many people I come in contact with say they just hate putting the binding on a quilt/wallhanging.  I love doing bindings.  When the binding is done, the article is finished.  But, I try to do my best with the binding, not just whacking it on in order to have the thing finished.  During the judging I saw lots of quilts.  The steward gasped and wondered where to start.  I have to say I start at the finish [and I mean 'finish'].  The very first thing I do is run my hands around the perimeter of the quilt.  If it hasn't been bound to my satisfaction, then there is most certainly the possiblity that the work on the quilt isn't so marvellous either.  Those that aren't bound nicely are put to one side until I find something worth looking at further.  I also found that many bindings are not folded/wrapped to enclose the quilt edge fully, ie they are a tad empty or baggy.  I also found the hand stitching was done with stitches that were too large and too noticeable, often using the thread colour for the backing, and not the binding.  In my experience a thread shade just a tad darker than your binding fabric is much less noticeable, not to mention keeping your stitches just skimming up out of the fold of the binding.  I definitely saw lots of straight joins on binding, and I don't have to tell you where those quilts were placed..............

Okay, now I've had my fifteen minutes of soapbox time, I'd better just get myself down before I fall.  I am by no means perfect with everything I do, far from it in fact, but I try to always approach a project with the idea of doing all that I can to be completely satisfied when I am finished.  We all makes mistakes, we all fudge a little to make a project work, but trying to remember some of the little things will always stand us in good stead for having a fine finish on our work, and a fine finish for me almost always has bias in there somewhere, and not just because I said so.  I am not the first one to think up these things, but if I draw attention to them, others may feel inclined to keep them in mind for their own work. 


DIAN said...

Linda, these comments are really welcome. I do not enter work in shows but it is useful to know what makes an entry a winner.

If the judges do not keep a high standard then it is no point having entries in the show.

As I am self taught it is often the finishing off that I haven't a clue about. Thanks for the interesting hints.

Cheers, Dianne

Iceni UK said...

Linda, thanks for the guidelines on entering work into shows and for giving us an insight into how the judging is done.

I have never entered my work into shows, like Dian I am self taught and am always willing to take advice and learn from experts like yourself.

Frances Leate said...

Some well said and thought out comments Linda and I was particularly interested in what you had to say about cushions as these are not something I have made many of. As far as binding on quilts goes I will put my soap box next to yours!!! Take care and thanks for your lovely comment.

Juliettecherry said...

I have also found your tips very useful, particularly your comment on bias joins on patterned frills for cushions, I can see from the photo how much better that looks.

Radka said...

Well done, Linda. It is a such a shame to put a lot of work into a project and then not finish it well. Bias is a such a simple thing to do and makes all the difference.

Anonymous said...

I agree it is better with bias too. It would be a very hard job judging things and I am not sure I would have an eye for it. Even if the binding is cut on the straight due to lack of fabric or something I always bias join it. Mind you I forgot to do this on my last table topper. Luckily Mum's was otherwise she would pick me up on it too LOL.

CJ Stitching and Blooms said...

Hello Linda, You are so kind to give everyone guideline on enter their projects. I totally dislike doing bindings. You bias binding is fantastic. Hugs Judy

Anonymous said...

Hello Linda. Your comments on bindings are perfect. I also cringe when I see bindings joined with a straight seam. They seem to stand out and scream at me. Finishing an item with the same attention that was put into the entire project is a necessity, in my humble opinion. LOL

You also hit on another pet peeve of mine - sloppy hand stitching of the binding. It drives me mad!! Geesh, but I am anal!!

Cheers to you.
Linda A

Dianne said...

Hi Linda, Like you I really enjoy the binding process as it heralds the end of a project. I have mastered a way to get the perfect bias join at the end of binding and it makes it neat and a breeze. You are quite right I reckon, about the finish being an indicator of the rest of the work. Thank you for your comment Di.