At the Finish Line: Part 2

How about a few more finishing tips? We regularly feature articles on aspects of finishing, including how to apply bindings and facings. Here’s a link to a great article from a ways back by Barb Hollinger on applying facings:

Facings – 3 Ways!

Call me efficient, or call me lazy, but I prefer to make as much of my quilts as possible by machine. (Hmmm, maybe that’s why I work for a machine quilting magazine?) Most of the quilts I make are art quilts, so a hanging sleeve is a must. My favorite directions for creating a sleeve are in Robbie Joy Eklow’s book Free Expression. However, a google search will provide you with many other techniques as well. Since my art quilts are faced, the hanging sleeve is sewn to the top facing. I figure, why not just sew the top of the sleeve to the top quilt facing before the facing is applied to the quilt? That’s one long line of hand sewing eliminated!

In the following two photos the facing is already sewn to the quilt, but you’ll get the idea. It sounds much more complicated than it is. In the first photo I’ve sewn most of the bottom edge of the top facing down by hand. You can see three lines of top stitching: a line very close to the top of the quilt that is edge stitching on the facing to help it turn nicely, a line of machine stitching 1/4 inch from the bottom of the hanging sleeve, and another line of machine stitching that is about 1/4 inch from the top of the hanging sleeve. That is the line of stitching that’s attaching the sleeve to the facing. Since my sleeve is about an inch narrower than the facing on both ends, it’s easy to sew the sleeve to the right side of the facing before the facing is applied to the quilt, plus it’s very secure.

sleeve pic2 labeled

This photo shows how neat the sleeve looks when everything is smoothed into place. There’s extra fabric in the sleeve to allow room for a rod while still having the quilt hang flat. Here that extra bit of fullness is flattened out and covering the bottom edge of the sleeve. The scissors are pointing to the line of stitching that I used to attach the sleeve to the facing.

sleeve pic 1

No matter what type of quilt you’re making, a label is an important last step. I prefer to print my own from the computer, then sew it by machine to the bottom facing before attaching the facing to the quilt. Here are three examples.


I create the label in Photoshop, but you could use any word processing or graphics program. I print it on fabric using my home printer and fabric that is already backed with paper and ready to easily go through the printer. I simply turn under the edges, trim the corners a little, top stitch the four edges to the bottom facing (before sewing it to the quilt), and presto! A neat and secure label.

One thing I keep meaning to do, but haven’t manged to remember to do yet, is to make my facings and sleeve before I start quilting. Of course this would only be possible if I knew the final dimensions of my quilt before I finished quilting it, but often I’m working towards a specific size. In that case, I could cut and prepare the facings and sleeve so that once my quilt is blocked it’s super easy to sew them on. Since I usually work towards a deadline, having that step already out of the way could be very helpful.

Well, I’m off to do a little quilting, but I’ll be back on Thursday. Thanks for stopping by!

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