Thursday, December 29, 2016

Mod Pillows


Here's one more little finish for 2016 -- my Mod Pillows. I made these from the strip sets left over from Mod Trips, my modern, red and white version of Bonnie Hunter's Scrappy Trips Around the World. That was the quilt that started my Bonnie Hunter infatuation!

Anyway, the tops for these 20" square pillow covers have been quilted for a long time, and they just needed the back and binding. In my stash I had this fabric with old maps of the world...


...which is a perfect match by colour and by theme! When I first bought it online, it turned out to be much darker than I expected. So I "discharged" it by an overnight soak in a diluted bucket of bleach. The colour turned out much better, but despite several washes the fabric smelled of bleach for over a year! A cautionary tale. But, I'm glad to have it now!

So far, I'd sewn all my bindings by hand, simply because it is easier and hand sewing is something I already knew how to do. But, with my back the way it is now, I decided it was time to learn to sew binding by machine. Around the internet I've seen a couple of award-winning quilts that had bindings machine sewn to the front of the quilt. That's what I wanted to try!

Front
This is a double-fold binding, sewn to the front the same as you would for a hand sewn binding. I did cut the strips 1/4" wider, just to give myself a little extra room on the back.

I ironed the binding out, and then ironed it again folded to the back, pinned the corner and used Clover Wonder Clips to hold the binding in place. Then, with my zipper foot and beige thread in the top of the machine and red thread in the bobbin, I stitched in the ditch from the front of the pillow, being careful to catch the flap of the binding underneath at the same time.

Back
It is a little wobbly, as expected, but on the whole it was easier and turned out better than I hoped! I really prefer to have that loose flap on the back, and have a neat front. So I'll definitely use this technique again!


I'll be using the pillows right away, so I am glad to have them done at last. Plus, I am very happy to have the empty project box! It will be nice to get some of my new projects off my sewing table. :D


11 comments:

  1. I love the pillows! As you know I have been making a slew of small baby quilts for a local organization. For sturdiness and efficiency I have been sewing the bindings by machine. I sew first to the back and then iron everything carefully, turning the binding to the front. I have been using my stitch in the ditch foot, with the needle moved over to the right to make a neat finish on the front. However on my recent Halloween quilt, I dispensed with using the special foot and just used a regular open toe applique foot,stitching very slowly. It turned out quite neatly and I liked the way it looked for that particular application with the flanged binding. I have tried your way and I'm not very successful because I can't tell what's going on on the other side as I'm sewing blindly, trying to catch the binding edge on the other side.As with so many things practice is the key. And necessity is the mother of invention. As hand sewing is not an option, you will soon master the technique!

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  2. Great pillows and what a story about the bleach! The fabric is perfect though! I too have been experimenting with machine sewn binding. . .can't say I have found THE perfect method yet; but, I do plan to keep practicing as it is so much faster and so much easier on my body.--Terry

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    1. Thanks, Terry! Yes, I intended that map fabric for Edward's quilt, but the bleach forced me to find another solution. (Not a solution of bleach!) The binding is the same fabric as on Edward's quilt as well, actually. Still matches!

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  3. It's an interesting way to do binding isn't it? That was how I did all my binding first starting out and finally I had to give it up. I could never get the back side to look good at all! I can see where it might work on something like your fun pillow!

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  4. It's certainly an appropriate use for the bleached fabric., it's an interesting binding technique. I have often thought it ought to work like that - but put that down to my own laziness as a machine stitcher. I will give it a try next time. Great result for the pillow - and the project box!

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    1. Thanks, Jillian! Everyone is making me think I should add some of the hints that I didn't include in the blog post. 1. That extra 1/4" in the width of the binding strip was crucial. 2. I was able to feel the edge of the binding through the top, so that gave me some confidence that I was catching it as I sewed. 3. I took out each clip about 6" before the needle, and held everything by hand the rest of the way. That way I knew all the layers were flat and even. It is still slow, but faster than by hand! But, no tv!

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  5. Your reply to Jillian helped me to get a better idea of your technique. It sounds less complicated anyway. I machine all of my bindings now without worrying about how it looks. I've never had a complaint and have won a few ribbons locally, so I take it that my technique isn't too bad. However, there are occasionally really special quilts that I would consider using your binding technique on.

    The pillow is stunning, by the way. I really love the red touches and that map fabric, despite the bleach smell, is perfect. I teach English and am an avid reader so I gravitate to any fabric with words or images like this one.

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  6. What a great pillow. I love the restrained color scheme and this would look fabulous in my house. I'll keep it in mind. And I think I had that same map fabric. It was dull and dark; wish I'd thought to bleach it a bit.
    I usually machine sew bindings but don't use this method. It looks like it would work well so I'll be trying it.

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  7. pillow has worked beautifully and so like a binding have never bound any I have made but will be doing so in future though it will be done by hand I think I am not neat enough for you method

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  8. Your leftovers made a beautiful pillow! I love how you changed up the map fabric to make it work for you--it looks great! I occasionally do machine binding also, but I use my feather stitch so it looks a little nicer on the back--and because I usually miss the binding unless I have a wider stitch--lol!

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  9. Your pillow is a great finish for 2016. And to have an empty project bin is good too! Thanks for sharing your tips for machine stitching a binding. I try every so often, but I'm never very pleased.

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Happy stitching!

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