Monday, 26 March 2012

How To Buy A Quilt - Part Four: Finishes

Finishing touches are the little details that will determine is your quilt is made to last through many washings or if it is made to be a delicate treasured keepsake. Some quilts are finished with a scalloped edge, but most are finished with a straight edge. Corners should be square and edges should lay flat, not wavy.
Scalloped edge sampler quilt by Magpie Quilts
 Quilts can be finished pillow-top style which gives the least durable edge, but is relatively easy to do and works just fine for quilted table runners or potholders or items that won't get a lot of wear along the edges or for an odd-shaped quilt that would be difficult to finish another way. This technique is done before quilting by layering the batting with the backing on top, right side up, and the quilt top right side down on top of the backing. These layers are stitched all the way around the outside of the quilt, leaving an opening to turn the quilt right side out. After the quilt is turned, the opening is stitched closed, either by hand or by machine.
Pillow turned table topper by Magpie Quilts
 The most common way of finishing the edge of the quilt is with binding. Some quilts are finished with just a single fold binding, but double fold binding is more durable. There are 2 methods of applying binding. The first is to sew the binding to the front and to hand-sew the binding to the back, leaving no visible stitching to see how the binding was attached.
Hand-stitching binding by Whip Up
 The second is to sew the binding to the back of the quilt, turn it over to the front and machine stitch it down with either a straight stitch or a decorative stitch. This is definitely less time intensive than the first method, but both are equally durable.
Machine stitched binding by Red Pepper Quilts
 And finally, your quilt should come with a label that has, at minimum, the quiltmaker's name, the date the quilt was made and where it was made.

 I hope that this little series is helpful as you look for and purchase quilts. If you have any questions that I didn't answer, please leave a comment!

--Ann