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Tips and Techniques

How To Square Your Quilt Before Binding 

(From an article by Cathy Franks, a fellow long arm quilter.) “This is what I do for my competition quilts. If they are bed or whole cloth quilts, I wash them. I take them out of the washer, shake them out and lay them on a carpeted surface. I steam press the quilt starting at the center and moving out to  the edges. I again shake out the quilt and lay it on the floor. I check to see if any “hill” appears. If so, I steam press them down. I shake out the quilt again and check to make sure the quilt is lying flat. Continue doing this until the quilt is flat. Once the quilt is lying flat, I use large rust free safety pins and pin along the edges. Pin no less than 1 inch apart. Let the quilt dry for at least 24 hours. Make sure nothing can run across the quilt such as children or pets.

I use 4 large carpenter squares and the longest steel edge ruler I can find. The best place to look is a hardware store (hardware stores are really quilt stores in disguise!!!) My straight edge is 6 feet long. Take your tools to your pressed quilt. Try not to pick up the quilt before you mark it. Lay one carpenter square along the top corner. Line up the edges of the square so that you will create a line that the binding can follow. Lay the straight edge along one side of the square. Lay another carpenter square so that one edge of it lies along the ruler. Continue doing this on all four corners. To make sure that you have a square quilt you need to do the following measurements: Measure each diagonal. Measure the width of the quilt at the top, middle and bottom, ditto for the length. Only when all these measurements are correct can you mark the line for the binding. I cut the quilt edge at this point but some people don’t.”

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