Every quilter will likely agree that it’s a very rewarding feeling when we get to the binding stage. What a relief; the quilt is almost done! YAY!
That’s the feeling my partner, Joe, recently experienced when he finally finished cutting and piecing this very special Star Wars themed quilt he made all by himself as a special birthday gift for me. However, he got stuck when it came to the binding, so ultimately left the task for me to complete. While some may dread this task, I actually enjoy it, especially since the process can be made more enjoyable when using some tools and tips which help make the steps quicker and easier.
The great thing is that many of these “tools” may already come with your Janome machine, or are readily available from your Janome Dealer.
Using an Even Feed foot, AcuFeed, or AcuFeed Flex foot, (if your machine is equipped with this feature) to attach the binding will help feed the layers of the quilt sandwich more easily and evenly so the binding strip does not stretch, or the quilt does not condense. Both the top and bottom layers of fabric feed at the same rate, so the quilt will stay square, particularly in the corners. My favourite foot to use is the Janome AcuFeed Flex Professional Grade HP2 foot, which comes included with the Janome MC9450 and the Janome Continental M7.
The Janome AcuFeed Flex Professional Grade HP2 foot is also available in a blister pack for those machines equipped with the AcuFeed feeding system, AND the HP Needle Plate compatibility, such as the Janome MC6700P, Janome MC15000 Quiltmaker and updated versions, and Janome Skyline S9, for example.
A very useful tool to improve accuracy is the Janome Cloth Guide, which comes in one form or another with many Janome machines. For example, the Janome Skyline S9 has a clear plastic automatic cloth guide which attaches to the embroidery carriage, while the Janome 5300QDC, and many of the QDC range of machines, actually, come with an adjustable metal cloth guide which attaches to the needle plate with a little screw.
It’s also available in a blister pack from your Janome Dealer, so, as long as there’s a little threaded screw hole in the needle plate, or the bed of your machine, you’ll be able to use this fabulous cloth guide. It’s one of those things which is so simple, yet sew effective, which is one reason why I love it and use it all the time!
Another tool invaluable for keeping the strip of binding strip neat and out of the way as you sew it onto the quilt is the Janome Tape Stand. Originally intended to use with the CoverPro coverhem machines, I use this tape stand at the regular sewing machine for no matter what method of binding I’m sewing. It’s another of those tools which is so simple, yet SEW effective! How many of you have tried to keep the strip of binding in your lap, only to have it spill onto the floor, then run over it with your chair, then the cat plays with it? Come on, I can’t be the only one, lol! Thankfully, those frustrating days are over!
No matter the width of binding, roll up the strip and place on the Janome Tape Stand, positioned off to the side of your machine. Though I always say everything works better when it says Janome on it; like this beautiful red Janome pencil, any colour and brand of pencil works just fine, too, lol! Best of all, this “tool” is free!
The binding strip will feed off by itself, but be sure to help it along so it doesn’t pull taught, as you don’t want the fabric to stretch.
A useful feature to use, no matter what type of sewing you’re doing, is the Needle Down function, if your machine has the capability. If not, just rotate the Balance Wheel to drop the needle into the fabric before you raise the presser foot. Many Janome machines have a Needle Up/Needle Down button, but the more sophisticated computerized machines have the Auto-Pivot function, as well.
Every time you take your foot off the power foot control, or press the Stop button if using the Start/Stop function, the needle will stay in the fabric while the presser foot raises. This convenient feature helps hold the fabric in place, while you smooth out wrinkles, or make adjustments aligning the layers.
After the binding strip is attached to the quilt, however you choose to finish the other edge is up to you. Some will finish entirely by machine, while others will do the next step of encasing the raw edge of the fabric by hand. In either case, Clover Wonder Clips, or similar clips from other manufacturers, are fabulous, time-saving tools, which definitely make the job faster and easier.
Yes, you could use pins for this step, but personally, I was forever sticking myself, and in some cases, bled on the quilt. As soon as these clips came along, I bought multiple boxes so they’re always within easy reach in my sewing room. Your Janome Dealer or local quilt store/ craft store likely carries these, or something similar.
Voila! Done! YAY!!!
We’d love to hear your tips and tricks, and the favourite tools you use to banish the binding blahs, so leave a comment below!