How I Get My Jollies

comments: 50

Quilt1_2 Bias-tape making mania. I have it. I got it late, but I got it bad. That bug bit me bad. I would like to sit, every evening, and stitch some binding onto something. Who needs some binding stitched, bring it here. I can't stop.

I finally put a list of all the projects for my book together the other day, to see how all the techniques were balanced out. I was worried that every single project had hand-stitched binding, and luckily not every single project does. Or unluckily. You'll see. Of course, I am evangelistic and fairly uncompromising about hand-sewing. You should do it and you should love it. If you've never done it before, I'm excited for you. If you know what I'm talking about, then you know what I'm talking about.


Amy first talked me into this and she has a cool way of making a super-long bias strip in her book, but I haven't tried that yet (I use mostly straight strips for straight edges). Amanda and Blair have both recently finished fantastically gorgeous hand-bound beauties. If you need any size bias-tape maker, Mariko has you covered. Instructions come with the maker. There. You cannot avoid it now. Prepare to start binding every raw edge you see.


I've been telling myself all week that I need to handsew some things, but your entry today has inspired me. (my sewing machine is in the shop, so I *need* to do something)

I love how the one quilt block has the button on it. My mom made me a quilt with my maternity clothes and one block has that little loop you find on the back of some shirts. LOL. I am a bias procrastinator. I have a quilt that has been waiting a couple years for binding.

I love my bias tape maker -- so useful. But I haven't tried a handsewn binding...sounds like a good companion to DVD watching.

I love to handsew, only wish I was just a little bit more neat



I cannot wait for your book! I absolutely love Amy's and I know I will love yours too. I bought a bias tape maker a few weeks ago, and still have yet to give it a go. You have inspired me, I'm going to do it and love it!

Hmm, I may finally have to take my bias tape makers (purchased over 2 years ago) out of the packages. I've been getting the itch to do some bias tape - whatever you have is contageous!

Laura C. says: July 26, 2007 at 06:12 AM

The words "bias tape maker" mean nothing to me, and I'm STILL excited for your book to come out. :-)

Ack! Those are gorgeous!

Totally. THIS girl IS a bias tape maker.

Patricia says: July 26, 2007 at 07:44 AM

This doesn't look like continuous bias tape to me either. You really should try it, Alicia. My DAD was watching me make some last weekend -- the putting it through the bias tape folder, and then ironing just as it came out -- and even he had to do some. It is just too much fun. I recommend Amy's directions too, but there are lots online -- just search "continuous bias tape." My new lap quilt is now nicely finished -- half an hour to make all the tape (from a fat quarter -- just the right size), half an hour to pin and machine sew the first side, and then two evenings to handsew the back.

nana_of_nc says: July 26, 2007 at 08:41 AM

Somehow I got missed in the gene pool for that love of hand sewing and especially sewing the quilt binding. It's the sewing machine for me all the way. Reading your post and the comments had me scouring the Internet for a sewing machine bias binding foot, and I found one! Now to decide if I want to pay the $35 for it. :(

Love you and your blog, Alicia!

I never can get facings to lie flat so when I make sleeveless clothing for my daughter, I often finish the armholes and necklines with handmade binding--that way I can use a matching fabric.

I did a lot of handsewing while pregnant with my first daughter--I had quit smoking and it was a great way to occupy my hands. Then I bought a machine and was lured by the speed, but I still enjoy quietly handstitching certain details and think I may try handstitching an entire garment again.

for some reason it intimidates me a bit. just a little bit. but i find the hand sewing to be wonderful as well. connects me to those women in my past who did it for everything...and it is a great excuse to put on a favorite movie...
beautiful fabrics (look like maybe an oxford shirt on the one square? wish i had some of my oxfords from culver (a boarding school) as a wardrobe quilt would make me quite happy...hmmm...maybe my mom does have them somewhere)

What is it about binding that's so enjoyable? Is it that it simply means that you're near finishing?Is it that it's fun to pick out just the right fabric, either contrasting or coordinating, to go with the project that gives it that perfect final touch? Somehow you just "know" when you've found just the right binding fabric, often, it seems, not the one you envisioned or expected in the first place. Or is that just me?
Is it the actual hand sewing itself?
You're preaching to the choir here.
Sweet, sweet uh...quilt?...there. Is that a pink oxford shirt I see in there?

love your fabric and combo choices as always! gorgeous work, alicia!

I love to hand sew the bindings on my quilts. Here's how I do it: cut strips 1 and 3 eights inches wide. Fold in the middle, iron. Fold both halves in half and iron. I get a double folded strip that I sew on with a running thread that goes through both halves and the quilt with one stitch.

Cause I hate for bias tape to curve. While it might wear sooner, the straight edges keep it from pulling out of shape.

Can't wait for the book, Alicia. Is it ready for pre-order?

Love the material you have for your quilt. Nita

I also love to sew on the binding. It is so relaxing and you get to really 'feel' your quilt! I cut my fabric straight of grain - 2 1/2 inches wide, fold in half and press. Sew to front of quilt, turn to back and slip stich down. I have been quilting for over 20 years and we use my quilts. I haven't had a binding wear out yet but I have heard that bias bindings last longer. I love your blog and your sense of humor. I also love your dog! Makes me want to get one for myself. Of couse I love her name!

i had no idea there was more than one way to bind a quilt. i'll have to try your method on my next quilting project. thanks for encouraging hand-sewing. these days i mostly rely on my sewing machine for sewing pieces together, but have hand-sewn pieces together in the past. maybe i'll do this on the nine-patch i'm thinking about making.

Hand-sewing can be so relaxing. I have never made a quilt with a sewing machine, only problem: I only finish a quilt every 2 or 3 years...
Maybe I'm going to try some doll quilts on the machine.
Funny, in flemish we say "biais" instead of bias!

I want to learn. Thanks for the encouragement.

I need to take up hand sewing. I have done *some*, but I enjoy sitting on the couch in the living room watching a movie (lately all Harry Potter movies - loving the Weasley's house in Chamber of secrets, I need an automatic knitter...). I am sure I can find something to hand sew. Oh wait! I am doing that this evening before we leave for Colorado.. and maybe in the car. I bought Emma full leg sweats from Land's End. They are just a tad bit on the long side, so I have cut them appropriately enough (so they can be let out) and I have had hemed them. BUT.. I made some cool bias tape and I am going to put that on the bottom.... I think I just found my hand sewing project (even if I have to go back and machine stitch later so it does not come off).

I, too, love to hand sew my binding on. To be able to hold the quilt in my hands and relish the idea that I am almost to the end, such a wonderful feeling, sigh.

hand sewn.... really? Okay, before I call you crazy (hmmm... posie gets crazy), I'll try it. You just might make me a believer. : )

I love the look of your binding. I haven't quilted yet, but would like to get started on it this fall. How do you handle the corners of your binding. I couldn't quite tell from your photos. Do you miter them or do you use 4 separate strips (1 for each edge)? And then do you hand stitch the binding onto the quilt?

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


post a comment

About Alicia Paulson


My name is Alicia Paulson
and I love to make things. I live with my husband and daughter in Portland, Oregon, and design sewing, embroidery, knitting, and crochet patterns. See more about me at