You already know how obsessed I am with my local craft store/crafty class mecca, Gather Here. I’ve taken an embroidery class, patchwork class, zippered bag sewing class, iPad cover sewing class, and owl workshop there so far and loved them all. My goal for January was to take a quilting class. I signed up for the Baby Bunting Quilt class which met on the first and fourth Sunday in January with “homework assignments” to be done in between.
When I signed up I got the materials list and, before the class met, I bought my fabric and batting. The blue fabric below was for the binding, the grey was for the backing, and yellow was for the background (don’t worry, all will be explained soon enough!).
For the bunting (otherwise known as pennants, flags, or banner) I bought fat quarters from Sarah Watts’ Timber and Leaf collection. Aren’t the animals darling?
On the first day of class we went through the instructions for the front of the quilt. The front required the most work with the background and bunting, as you’ll see. The backside and binding was left for the second class.
The main goal for the first class was to cut and piece one row of bunting and backing. The triangles are for the bunting and the yellow fabric was for the background. To create one row we had to have 8 bunting pieces and 9 background pieces.
Getting the hang of sewing the triangles together was slightly tricky but we went slow and gained confidence quickly. Here’s my obligatory Bernina shot at Gather Here, by the way.
Piecing, pinning, sewing, ironing – repeat!
It took the entire class to cut, piece, and sew one row of bunting/background for our quilts. This was perfect prep for our “homework” over the next 3 weeks until the next class which was to finish cutting, piecing, and sewing the entire front of our quilts! So – the quilt consists of four rows of bunting and five background pieces all to be complete in three weeks. I got to work!
The first thing I did as part of my homework was finish cutting all of the triangles for my bunting and background. Since I had one row (again, 8 bunting pieces and 9 background pieces) complete I only had three rows to complete at home. That means I had 24 more bunting pieces and 27 more background pieces to be cut. As you can see, I used my finished row as a guide while I did this part of my homework!
Again, making the rows involved lots of piecing, pinning, sewing, and pressing.
But after an entire afternoon I finally had my 4 rows complete!
The next step was sewing the background pieces to the rows. The background pieces varied in width to create a cool spaced effect. There were five background pieces that were sewed on to the four rows of bunting. When they were all sewed together I could really see the front of my quilt taking shape! And with that, my homework (the front of the quilt) was done!
The second/last class was the next weekend and I was definitely anxious to finish my quilt. We spent the first few minutes of class ooohing and ahhhing over each other’s progress. All of our quilts were so different and it was really cool to see how they looked.
The first step of class was to lay out our backing, batting, and quilt front for pinning.
We pinned the heck of the quilts with big safety pins. Next we trimmed the excess fabric off of the edges.
Finally, it was time to quilt! Again, because of the spacing effect the quilting we did was a series of straight lines across the background fabric that started out very wide and narrowed down towards the bunting. It’s kind of hard to explain but I think the pictures help.
The quilting took a long time, almost the entire class actually. Makes sense if you think about it – I quilted all five background pieces which ended up being 18 straight lines sewed across the front of the quilt. Time consuming! Quilting is also tough because you have to constantly manage the weight and size of the quilt. Our instructor taught us how to roll it up (as you can see below), and that helped keep the excess in check.
By the end of the class I had finished quilting the entire front of my quilt!
Before the class was over, the instructor showed us how to create the binding (the very last step) at home. Making the binding, or bias tape, is pretty simple – you cut strips of fabric and sew them together on an angle to create one long, skinny piece of fabric that will be sewn around the edge of the entire quilt. This is an excellent guide similar to the way we did it. In searching for this guide I also found this amazing bias tape tutorial that’s worth a look too.
Here is my binding all finished and pressed:
There are two steps to attaching the binding. The first is sewing it to the front. This requires pinning the binding to the edge of the quilt and then sewing it to the front with a 1/4″ seam allowance.
The corners get tricky because you need to make sure they will fold over to the back of the quilt properly. To sew a binding corner, you fold the binding at a 45 degree angle on top of itself as shown below and then fold again at a 90 degree angle at the corner. You then sew from the corner point straight across to the next corner and repeat (use that tutorial that I linked to above if you are interested in learning more about binding, their explanations are way better than mine).
One trick I came up with – to keep the excess binding out of the way, I folded up in to the opposite side of the quilt as a sewed.
When I got to the end and needed to join the binding together I trimmed the fabric, created a clean angled edge, fit together tightly, and pinned. I sewed near to the edge as I had done for the entire front of the quilt and then moved on to the back.
Many people (professional quilters) opt to hand sew the backs of quilts. I don’t have the skill or patience for that so I used my machine to sew the binding to the back. I folded the binding over the edge from the front of the quilt to the back, and placed pins around the edge. I then sewed the binding on using a 1/4″ seam allowance, trying my best to line keep the line straight so it would look natural from the front.
Honestly, I pretty much winged sewing the binding on to the back of the quilt so explaining it isn’t super easy. I guess I just sewed four straight lines and lucked out!
Once the binding was done, my quilt was finished!
I’m super excited I finished my very first quilt. It’s baby sized so I can’t use it myself exactly but Reggie sure is loving it.
I love how it turned out and can’t wait to start on my next quilting adventure!