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Quilter True Confessions


Sloppily sewn down binding.

There, I have confessed.


In my early days of quilting, I was rather impatient with the last stage of completing a quilt – “sewing down binding”. In my mind I was quickly sewing down the binding to the back of the quilt. In reality I was sloppily sewing down the binding to the back of the quilt.

Recently I went to wash an old (my early days of quilting) quilt, and discovered the binding was loose and missing in some areas.

I took a good and honest look at the stitches in the back of this old quilt, and I was APPALLED. Yes that is appalled in all caps because that is how I felt.

As you can see in the image below – on the left side of the rectangle is where the thread left the binding; and on the right side is an example of my sloppy stitching. (Yes, it looks like I was under “some chemical influences” with one eye closed, while I was sewing).


I am going to remove the old binding and redo the entire binding. This time I will carefully sew it down.

I did not realize I had an issue with being sloppy with sewing down binding until a couple of years ago when a friend asked me to help her sew down binding on her quilt. We were at a quilt retreat and in the process of taking a break from sewing and doing the local “quilt shop hop” near the retreat center.

I was sitting in the backseat with a couple other quilters (two were up front and one of the them was driving of course, as we have yet to afford the special QUILTER AUTOMATED VEHICLE that drives you around on its own to quilt shops while you visit with your friends and sew). My friend had a lovely quilt for her son that she was trying to finish and brought along to work on in the car, as it only needed its binding sewn down. So she gave me one end of the quilt to work on while she worked on the other.

She tried to be polite, but she had to remove and redo all the stitches I had done. This is when I realized (as the truth was now starring me in the face): that I need to take sewing down binding more seriously. Binding a quilt deserve the same level of care and patience that goes into piecing a quilt.

I committed to becoming a better “quilt binder” and my quilts over the last couple of years and had high quality binding stitching.

Interesting: once you get into the habit of doing something correct, sometimes you forget what you used to do in the past. I was in shock when I saw what I had done on the old quilt!


Originally when writing this post I was going to title it: “Quilter’s Hall of Shame: Binding”. However ever since listening to the audiobook of Brene Brown’s book Daring Greatly (2015) I have no time for the concept or feelings of “shame”. I figure life is a learning and growing experience (for a summary of key insights I gained from reading this book, see my post Life is Nonfiction Part II) and I am not going to fill it with any feelings of shame.

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