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March 17, 2014

How to Bind a Quilt by hand - with Mitered Corners



Finishing my first quilt was a big accomplishment for me!  I've been working on a few others since then, and my love for sewing and quilting continues to grow.  
Each time I finish a quilt though, I have to call my mom to remind me how to sew the binding.  I decided I had better try to document my process - which ultimately works very well and turns out beautifully!

Warning: this is a doozy.  There are tons of pictures, tons of words, and I'm still not sure it will be clear enough to follow.  Feel free to leave comments if you have suggestions or questions.

Binding a Quilt (front side machine stitched, back side hand stitched) with Mitered Corners

Choose a binding fabric and cut it into 2.75" strips.  Sew all the strips together (short ends, right sides together, open up the seams and press).  At this width, the binding ends up being thin - about 1/2" on either side of the quilt.  

You'll need to add the lengths of all 4 sides of your quilt together to know how long to make your binding (plus a few extra inches).   

Iron the entire long strip in half, lengthwise, wrong sides together.  See picture below, left. 


Starting on any edge of your quilt, at least a few inches from a corner (I start in the middle of one side), pin the binding to the top side of the quilt.  Raw edge of quilt and raw edge of binding should be together.  See picture above right.  The folded edge of the binding is facing toward the middle of the quilt. 


Keep pinning the binding to the quilt every few inches, and when you get to the corner, you'll follow the steps below:

Pic 1) Fold the tail of the binding straight up, positioning it so that its right edge is parallel with the next side of the quilt.  The strip should form a 45 degree angle.

Pic 2) Fold the binding down, leaving the top fold flush with the edge of the quilt top behind it and its raw edge aligned with the next side of the quilt.  

Pic 3 and 4) Shows that the 45 degree angle should be intact under the fold.  

Once the binding is pinned all the way around the quilt, follow the steps in the picture below to sew the first side with a machine.  Machine stitching the binding to the top side of the quilt gives you a nice even stitch on the side that people will primarily be looking at.  


Beginning in at least 1" from the beginning of the binding, start sewing the binding to the quilt with 1/2" seam allowance.  You want to leave this 1" binding flap for easy finishing later on.  

Pic 1) When you near the corner make sure the angle is folded flat and away, as in the picture.  Stop sewing at 1/2" from the corner (the same distance from the edge as your seam allowance).  Back stitch a few stitches to secure.  Cut your thread.  (The red dash shows the section left un-stitched).  

Pic 2) Fold the corner (the 45 degree angle fabric) over the other direction, so that the binding is flat based on the next side of the quilt.  

Pic 3) Beginning 1/2" from the corner/top edge, start sewing along this next edge with 1/2" seam allowance until you reach the next corner.  (The red dash shows the section left un-stitched).
FYI: I always use a few back-stitches when I start sewing to secure.  

Repeat these steps 1-3 for all the sides and corners.  (Ultimately, this will create a mitered corner.)

Pic 4) Where the two binding ends meet, you will need to leave an unsewn section in order to tuck one end inside the other.  So, when you reach the point where you began sewing the binding to the quilt, leave 1" unsewn. 


Below, you will finish sewing the binding on the front side of the quilt by closing the gap.

Pic 1) Trim your binding with 1" overlap.  

Pic 2) Fold the raw edge under on one end by 1/2".

Pic 3) Tuck the other end of the binding into the folded end of the binding, as shown.  

Pic 4) Lay the binding flat against the quilt, with one end tucked inside the other.  Pin it down.  Complete the last couple inches of the sewing with the same 1/2" seam allowance.  

Below is a picture of the binding entirely machine sewn on the first (front) side.


For the back side of the quilt, the binding will be hand sewn using an invisible stitch.  Follow the steps below for an explanation on this process:

Pic 1 - way down below) Beginning in the middle of one side, fold the binding from front to back, making the crease along the edge of the quilt.   Pin this down for a foot or so.  I did not pin my binding all the way around.  I found it was difficult to keep from getting poked while working on it!  I pin to about a foot ahead of where I'm working as I work my way around the quilt.  The binding should lay just past the machine stitching line.  You want to cover this stitch line up on the back with your binding.  

Pic 2) Begin stitching the binding to the backing by hand, using an invisible/hidden stitch.  

INVISIBLE STITCH
Use a single strand of complimentary color thread.  Tie a knot in the end.  Pull the thread through the backing fabric between the edge of the quilt and the machine stitching line.  See diagram below.  

Following the diagram below, you go up through the red dot, catching a piece of the edge of the binding.  (This is the folded edge of the binding).  Then pull your thread all the way through.  

Go down through the blue dot just above it, catching only the backing (do not go through to the front of the quilt). Your needle will then come up through the red dot diagonally across from it (about 1/4" away), catching a piece of the binding.  Pull your thread all the way through. 

Again, go down through the blue dot, catching only the backing.  Your needle will then come up through the red dot (diagonally across from it), catching a piece of the edge of the binding.  Pull your thread all the way through.  



You will only see a small bit of thread (between each set of red/blue dots) by doing it this way.  Nearly invisible!

 Repeat this process until you get to the end of your thread.  Loop and knot your thread under the binding, between the machine stitched line and the edge of your quilt, to tie off.  


If this is not clear, I encourage you to look up hidden stitch or invisible stitch on youtube - there are lots of great videos to help!  I always have to use a thimble or wrap some masking tape around my finger a few times to keep my finger from hurting while I push the needle through.  I use a tiny, sharp needle.  


Pic 3) When you reach a corner, carefully fold the binding over on both sides of the quilt near that corner.  With a little help, the corner will naturally fold to form a point.  You may have to prod and tuck a little bit, but it should end up looking like the picture.  

Pic 4) Continue to use the invisible stitch all the way to the inside point of the corner, and then poke your needle all the way through to the front of the quilt at that inside point.  

Continued below:

Pic 1) You have poked your needle all the way through from the back, and it will look like this poking out the front (pink is the front of the quilt). 

Pic 2) Pull the thread through, and begin using the invisible stitch to go up the corner of the front side, to the top.  Once you reach the top, poke the needle all the way through to the back.  

Pic 3) You have poked your needle all the way through from front to back, and it will look like this poking out the back.  

Pic 4) Pull the thread through, and begin using the invisible stitch to go down the corner of the back side, returning to the inside point on the back of the quilt.  

You will then continue your invisible stitch along the next side (see below).  For each of the corners you will repeat steps 1-4 above.  


Once you have lovingly (or cursingly) stitched the binding all the way around your quilt, it will look spectacular!!  And you'll have a beautiful binding on a quilt you can cherish forever ;) 


I tell you -- quilting can be addicting!  I'll show you some of the other quilts I've finished since this one - and don't be surprised if this becomes a regular thing ;)  
Stay cozy!
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March 3, 2014

Healthy & Delicious Applesauce Muffins


My husband says that muffins are my kryptonite.  
I love to bake, and I love to cook, but I make terrible muffins.  They never turn out.  
That is, until I started using this applesauce muffin recipe.  
These muffins are divine!  And I'm thinking they're pretty much fool proof.  Because they turn out great for me :)

The best part is, you can use straight up applesauce, or you can substitute some of the applesauce with a bit of pumpkin, or a few tablespoons of shredded zucchini, or, if you're like me and have extra jars of fruity pureed baby food around the house, you can use that too!


These have no eggs, no butter, no nuts.  Not very much sugar.  My kids LOVE having these for snack - and they make a great school snack too.  I serve these to the preschool group and they get devoured.  When the public school allows homemade snacks in the classroom these are a great option because they have no nuts and no eggs.  

So, here's the recipe for these fabulous Applesauce Muffins!

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups applesauce 
(This is where I get creative.  Just get to 1 1/2 cups but use what you've got: up to 1/4 c pureed pumpkin, a few tablespoons shredded zucchini, some mashed banana, pureed fruit baby food, etc.  I usually put at least 1/2 cup of applesauce if I'm using other things too)
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup canola oil
1 tsp. baking soda
dash of salt
2 cups flour (I usually do 1 cup white, 1 cup wheat -- but all white works too)
1 tsp. cinnamon

Instructions:

Mix applesauce, sugar and oil.  Add remaining ingredients and stir until incorporated.
Coat a muffin tin in cooking spray and scoop batter evenly into all 12 cups.  
Bake at 350 degrees for 15-17 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

You can also use a mini muffin tin - which is great for school parties - bake at the same temp for 13-15 minutes, and it will make about 3 dozen mini muffins.  

YUM!!  I'm eating some right now.  They are delicious ;)




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February 28, 2014

Invitations, Party Favors and Thank You Cards from our Rapunzel Tangled Birthday


The other day I posted about the fabulous Rapunzel Tangled Birthday Party we had for my 5 year old.  

We played Rapunzel games, ate Rapunzel themed snacks - and a few things I didn't post about the other day... we made castle invitations, awesome satchel party favor bags, and some cute personalized thank you cards!


Above you can see all the individual pieces to the castle invitation.  (Here's my inspiration.) I freehand sketched the castle and made sure that it would fit in my envelope.
I heard back from a few of the moms that their girls loved getting this in the mail :)  My daughter drew a picture on the back of each one, which was also really sweet.


The hair is braided yellow yarn, tied with a ribbon and taped to the back of the middle part of the castle.  I simply printed out the invitation words onto pretty paper, making sure they were all centered and skinny and on the right side.  Then I cut the paper down to the correct size, with the words on the right edge, and glued the castle to the left side.



Our party favor bags were probably my favorite part.  I whipped up a few of Flynn Rider's satchels made out of felt!  There were fairly quick and a big hit.  Below is a quick tutorial on how I made them.



For the bag, cut a piece of felt 8" x 24".  You can, of course, make this any size you want.  This was just a good size for the party favors I wanted to put in.

For the strap, cut a piece of felt 1.5" wide x 34" long.  Again, you can make yours shorter if you want!  I had plenty because I buy my felt off the roll, so I made a long strap.

For the patch, I simply cut a different colored piece of felt into a rough square approx. 2" x 2"


The bag is really simply constructed by taking the large piece of felt and folding the short side 3/4 of the way up, leaving a few inches at the top to fold the flap down.  Check out the two pictures below to see what I mean.

Once you have decided where your folds will be, pin the patch to the bottom left corner of the bag (only catching the top layer of felt), unfold it and zig-zag stitch around the patch.


Next, fold it into a bag shape again, and pin up both sides - leaving the flap open.  Tuck the ends of the strap between the felt on either side of the bag, just before the flap section begins.  (see below)


Top stitch around 3 sides of the bag with 1/4" seam allowance.  You don't need to sew along the bottom fold (although it wouldn't hurt if you did).

Finally, using an additional scrap of felt, secure a loop of ribbon or cord to the middle of the flap as shown below. I sewed around the scrap of felt, catching the cord in the stitches to secure.

Then sew a button in the appropriate place based on where the loop falls on the bag.  Pull the loop over the secured button to close the satchel.  That's it!


We filled ours with watercolor Rapunzel Paints, dollar store hair brushes and Pascal party blowers (I love these - they make me laugh).


The watercolor paints have a strip of paper I printed off and glued on with a glue stick and say "Rapunzel Paints - Best Day Ever!  Thanks for coming to my party!"



And of course, we love to send thank you cards to our friends to say thank you for coming, and for their gifts.  I love to send mail with a stamp - it is sure to brighten some one's day!  I also love having my kids express their gratitude, and spend time writing a note or drawing a picture for someone.




As we've done at all our parties, I take individual pictures of my birthday girl with each friend, and a picture of the group.  Then, I get the individual and group pictures printed and include them with the thank you card.  It is such an easy and inexpensive way to add a personal touch, and show the parents some pictures from the party.  


And just because she is so darn cute - here's a picture of the usually bald babe, showing off her new found hair, and showing us how to make those decorations last just a little bit longer ;)


Be sure to check out the post about our Tangled Party food and games.

You can also check out our Pirate Birthday Party and Art Birthday Party for more ideas!

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February 27, 2014

Our Tangled Rapunzel Birthday Party


We had a fabulous time last week throwing a Tangled Rapunzel Birthday Party for my daughter who just turned 5 years old!  She loves that cute movie, and I admit I do too!

After a bit of internet research for inspiration, we put together a ton of cute and inexpensive decorations, food and games all with the Tangled theme!


Our living room was decorated to the max!  I made a purple pennant banner with the golden sun on it to hang from the twine in the window.  I simply traced and cut the suns from construction paper and glued them on to purple construction paper triangles.

I hung twinkle lights across the ceiling, and taped on yellow balloon "lanterns" that reflected the lights well. With a large purple marker I quickly drew the Tangled sun on the balloons.  I've had fun stringing lights for the girls' birthday parties.  It is fairly easy, and they LOVE it!

The hair was hysterical.  I purchased a few yellow plastic rectangular tablecloths from the dollar store.  Then, cut each tablecloth into six long strips.  The girls and I took 3 strips, tied a knot in the end, and braided them loosely together.  When we got to the end I tied three more strips on the ends of the first ones and we continued braiding.
The girls said they felt like the little girls in the movie who hop around braiding Rapunzel's hair :)

We ended up with one seriously long braid!  Then I hot glued some pink and purple dollar store flowers on, and we were able to string Rapunzel's hair all over the house!

We used a lot of purple and yellow for our decorations.  We also used a lot of frying pans (who knew, right??)

These little plastic plates have a plastic knife hot glued on the back so they kids could eat off of "frying pans."


When the guests arrived, they started painting their paper lanterns with watercolors.  I drew the design onto white construction paper, and it was a great activity for the kids to do while everyone was arriving.


When they were finished, I taped the short ends together, punched a couple of holes in the top, and tied a ribbon.



We had fun playing a few traditional games...
Pin the frying pan on Flynn Rider was funny.  I free-handed this Wanted poster with sharpie, and cut out black frying pans from construction paper.



My daughter has always wanted a pinata, and when I saw this idea, I totally went for it.



The girls had fun hitting Flynn with a frying pan, but ultimately I had to take it down and bust it open for them.  The cardboard box was pretty much impossible to break :)


One of the best games we played was this "Mother Gothel" game.

I printed off four pictures representing locations from the movie.  I then taped them up in the four corners of the room.

One child was Mother Gothel and closed her eyes and sat in the "tower" - aka the rug in the middle of the room.  All the other kids "hid" in one of the four locations by standing by the signs I had taped up.  When Mother Gothel was done counting, everyone was very quiet and she had to call out a location, without looking.  If there were any "Rapunzels" in that place, they were stuck in the tower with her, and sat on the rug.  Then, she closed her eyes and counted again, everyone switched locations, and again Mother Gothel would guess to try to catch more Rapunzels.  When there was only one child left who hadn't been caught, she was the winner, and got to be the next Mother Gothel.  We played that one quite a few times!



We didn't have a full meal, but we had a few snacks and cupcakes.  The tower cupcakes were my yummy vanilla cake recipe.  I stacked a few chocolate covered Ritz crackers on top (using frosting as mortar) and a sugar cookie cone on top of those to make a tower.  Then, I piped some yellow frosting all around to look like hair, and put tiny colored candy flowers in the hair.  They turned out cute and were pretty fast to make.


This Golden Flower Punch was yummy, and I was informed by more than one child that I was the best juice maker ever! :)  This is a family recipe that my Grandma used to make for me, which we call Slushy Drink - and it is very fun for a party.  Click the link for the recipe!


A little jello, a clementine section and a toothpick golden sun flag make another easy snack.  (Set out in a frying pan, as you can see)

I also took pizza dough (the frozen balls of dough you can buy in the deli section of the store work great!) and braided strips together to make Braided Hair Breadsticks.  I topped them with a brushing of olive oil, a sprinkle of parmesan cheese and mozzarella cheese, and some oregano.  Then baked at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes.  They were great!


In an attempt to throw in something healthy ;)  we had Apples for Maximus - and to their credit, all the girls ate some slices!



We also let them decorate flower shaped sugar cookies with yellow frosting and toppings as Golden Flower cookies.  They took them home in little ziplock bags, and had a fun time decorating.


I always like to get pictures of my birthday girls with their friends.  After we wrapped my older daughter in TP to make her a snowman at her last party, I wanted to do something similar for our Rapunzel party.  Yellow streamers were perfect!


Turns out, all the girls wanted to be wrapped up - and it was pretty fun getting a picture of them all "Tangled"...


Plus, it was fun to tear it all off!


All in all, the Tangled Rapunzel Party was a huge success!!  And I have a very happy little 5 year old...


Come check out this post to see our Tangled invitations, party favors and thank you notes!




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