Monday, March 31, 2014

and now it's a girl!

my finishing streak continues - i've finally completed baby cousin elizabeth's improv frames quilt. it got pushed aside in the wake of penny patch and the christmas gift quilts last fall. for a while now all it was in need of was the binding.

since october, the top was mostly complete, but i thought it was a bit small and wanted to add one more frame around it. the only fabric i could find to do this with was the yardage i had picked for the backing. unfortunately, i only had one yard of that fabric. i was going to make-do by figuring out how much excess fabric there was, divide that by 2, and then split the difference between the top and the backing, but it was rather risky and wouldn't give me very much of a border at all. besides, the quilt was running on the small side, anyway. so i played it safe and tracked down some more of the pretty paula prass garden lattice in sunset for michael miller fabrics. it wasn't as easy as i hoped finding any, but in january i found 2 yards (yay! staying on the safe side and a bit extra for stash) at an etsy shop called "vintage inspiration."

 not only did my fabric come prettily wrapped in some sewing pattern tissue paper, but there were a few vintage popcorn bags thrown in as a special treat. the kids are going to love those on family movie night!

inside the carefully wrapped package my fabric was nicely folded and tied with a satin ribbon, too. i love shops that give those extra little touches.

all of that was a while ago and i let it sit while i worked on other projects. but a few weeks ago i got out the fabric order and put that border on. but i forgot to include another little peek-a-boo piece of the umbrella girls in the frame like i wanted to! argh. that took a little bit of a patch job to fix.

 i decided to put the piece in where two of the frame pieces met to avoid excess cutting. but i forgot to figure in the seam allowance when i cut the piece. darn it! i was going to use the two little faces for the piece, but cut it short, so i had to go with another bit instead.

i don't know why it was so hard for me to wrap my brain around how big this piece should be and how to fit it in properly, but it was. until i had done it incorrectly and then i could see exactly what to do! my little remaining scrap of the fabric did not have anymore faces in it, so this rather boring umbrella piece made it in the spot instead. not sure it was worth all the effort, but there it is.

 today i put my big girl pants on and did the machine binding to complete this baby. usually i make binding while sitting at the machine, sort of eyeballing the 1/4" overlap when piecing. however, this time i did it all at once, standing up at my cutting mat. that's when i hit on the brilliant idea of using my cutting mat marks as a guide for a more accurate 1/4" overlap. it worked!

 when it came to joining up the binding, i pulled out my favorite directions from block party - the modern quilting bee. my only problem with this tutorial is that the binding is a solid color. in fact, it seems every binding tutorial in every quilt book, whether photographed or drawn, uses a solid color binding so it's nearly impossible to tell which is the right or wrong side of the fabric and which way the fabric is manipulated. i photographed it with patterned fabric myself, once apon a time, so as to help me remember which way to do it, but don't know what i did with those photos. go figure. anyhow, i made notes in the book so i can remember. someday i'll be able to do this from memory. for now, i'm glad of my notes!

i took yet another stab at machine binding with this quilt. i went extra slow and really focused intently on getting the alignment correct. it's an improvement, all right, but by no means have i yet perfected machine binding. it's HARD! i feel like an amateur all over again when it comes to machine binding. just when my quilts were starting to look pretty good, too. i only plan on doing it for baby quilts because of the added durability. however, because of the speed, I'm sorely tempted to finish off the stack of "just needs binding" wips this way.

i'm going to be so sad to see this quilt go. i truly love it. i hope baby elizabeth comes to feel the same way.


  1. It is so pretty. That last border really sets it off nicely.

  2. Another beautiful finish! You are on a roll. I love how you included the umbrella fussy cuts in the cute.


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