Facing a Quilt

Like many art quilters who started out in the traditional quilt world, I bound my quilts instead of facing them. In the beginning, I machine stitched my bindings on the front of my quilt and then hand sewed the binding to the back. Later, I developed a method for attaching my bindings all by machine.

When I went to the Crow Barn for the first time, I discovered that many quilters were facing their quilts. I loved the look of it. It creates a smooth uninterrupted edge that makes the quilt look much more like a painting–I like that.

I searched around on the internet and found many different methods for creating facings on quilts. Finally, I took those methods and created my own favorite way to face a quilt.

I just finished up This Quilt is Technotronic and thought this would be a great time to share that method with you.

First you square and trim your quilt using your favorite method. I then create four strips of fabric that are two inches wide by the length of each side of my quilt. Technotronic is less than 42” long, so I simply cut four widths of some red yardage to each be 2 inches wide.

Next, iron one long edge of each strip of fabric under 1/4 of an inch. I always forget this step!

Pin right sides together, attaching the facing to the top of your quilt. Stitch the short edge down being sure to backtrack to lock your stitches. Stitch off the quilt. I use a walking foot to do this.

Stitch the long edge, again backtracking to lock your stitches. Stitch off the quilt. And finally, stitch the other short side down in the same way.

Iron the facing away from the quilt.

Top stitch as close to the edge of the facing fabric as you can. This top stitching helps roll the facing to the back so that you do not see it when you look at the front of the quilt.  I use my quarter inch foot to do this.

This is what the top stitching looks like when it is done.

Repeat for the bottom of the quilt.

To do the sides, place the facing fabric on the front of the quilt. These strips should be slightly shorter–about an inch to one and 1/2 inches shorter– than the top and bottom facings because you will be tucking them underneath that fabric. Cut accordingly.

IMG_9513Stitch the side facing to the quilt. Again, iron it away from the quilt and top stitch. Repeat for the other side.

Keep all of your quilt on your sewing table. Do not let it hang over the edges of the table. This will improve your control and stitch tension.

Cut the corner off close to the stitching. This reduces bulk in the corners of your facing and makes it easier to turn those corners under.

Carefully iron the facing to the backside of the quilt and pin.

Hand stitch the facing to the backside of the quilt using a matching thread. I prefer Aurifil thread. I have found that it does not knot as easily as other threads. I use a thimble for all my handwork. My favorite store bought thimbles are leather, but I keep blowing them out.

When we were out in McCarthy one spring break, I forgot to bring a thimble. Walt suggested I use the all purpose Alaskan building material called Duct Tape to fashion a home made one. This was a perfect solution to my problem. Duct Tape comes in an assortment of colors now days, so I can actually have a thimble to match every outfit.

At first the Duct Tape thimble will be stuck to your finger, but as you work the adhesive relaxes and you can remove the thimble and use it again later. It’s a pretty nifty idea really.

Here is the faced and finished This Quilt is Technotronic.

A close up of the front.

And here is the back.

A close up of the back.

This is what the facing looks like close-up.

Here is one of the corners.

Feedback on my instructions is always helpful. Thank you for stopping by.

I’m linking this post to Off the Wall Fridays on Nina-Marie’s Blog. Scroll down to the bottom of her blog page to see what fiber artists from around the world have been doing this week.

This entry was published on September 15, 2013 at 4:13 PM. It’s filed under My Process-Quilts and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

15 thoughts on “Facing a Quilt

  1. Crystal clear….a terrific tutorial, and the photos came just when I wanted them to be there. Brilliant. I’m hoping I will remember that very first step…the ironed 1/4″.

  2. Duct tape! Genius!

  3. Love your version of the facing tutorial. Nice and clear with great photos! I am glad to see my method of doing the corners being adopted to suit many styles of work. Quilters Rule!

    • Jeri- thank you! I see from your website that we not only share the same favorite method for doing corners, but we also both love color. Thank you for stopping by.

  4. Maria, great tutorial. This is my favorite finishing method, too! Glad you mentioned ironing the 1/4″ before starting. Why didn’t I think of that?

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  8. Jean Jankovich on said:

    Maria, really enjoyed meeting you in S Florida and attending both your evening presentation and workshop this past week – you inspired me to move out of my comfort zone and start quilts using fabric fibers in art form. Your facing tutorial is excellent. I’ll send you a pic when I finish my improv of the circle revamped once completed. Hope you had a safe trip home. Be well and keep stitchin!

  9. Sue Myers on said:

    Glad that I came across this facing tutorial…clear explanation with great photos. I have been wanting to change the finishing of a wall hanging I did in 2007….so I carefully removed the standard binding and am in the process of facing the quilted piece. This technique of facing I also used in my past garment sewing, especially on the edge of jackets….don’t know why I didn’t remember it!!! Love your use of color…it always blows me away.

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