My inspiration as a quilter is definitely NOT this contemporary (and commercial) take on the craft. Instead, I think more toward the origins of quilting, when women sewed their beautiful quilts out of what they had on hand.
I, too, sew my quilts with what I have on hand to spare, primarily denim and T-shirts. I never buy batting, I don’t buy fabric just to quilt with, and to back and bind my quilts, I use blankets from my linen closet.
A blanket adds a sturdy support system to your quilt top. It’s generally thick enough to substitute for that batting that you’re not going to add, and if you choose one that’s just the right size, you can wrap it around for an easy and attractive quilt binding, as well. Here’s how:
You will need:
- A blanket at least two inches wider than your quilt on all sides. Any blanket can work here. I’ve used everything from wool to fleece to actual bedspreads.
- A quilt top ready to be quilted and bound.
- A large gridded cutting mat, a plastic gridded ruler, and a rotary cutter for use with fabric.
- A sewing machine with matching thread.
1. Stretch and quilt your quilt top to your blanket backing as you’d normally do. If the material of your blanket backing is at all different from the materials that you’re used to quilting, don’t let that discourage you. Just go slowly and indulge yourself with lots of pins. Seriously, LOTS of pins.
2. After your quilt top and your blanket backing are quilted together, lay them out and smooth them out. Now figure out how wide you want your binding to be, and multiply by two. That number is the width of blanket that you’ll want to leave on all sides of the quilt. The rest of the blanket will be trimmed away.
3. Lay your cutting mat underneath where you’ll be cutting, and using your rotary cutter and ruler and the measurement that you divined in Step 2, trim the blanket away on all sides of your quilt top.
4. To make the binding, fold the edge of the blanket to meet the edge of the quilt top, and then fold it over again. You’ll end up with a binding half the width of your Step 2 measurement over your quilt top, with the raw edges hidden. Top stitch this to your quilt.
Corners are only a little tricky:
1. Fold the corner over the quilt top, so that its edges are perpendicular to the edges of the quilt top.
3. Trim the protruding bit of corner with your thread scissors. Or, if you’d like to avoid this step, trim that corner, or fold it back, before you double-fold and stitch the binding here.
When you’re finished, you have your favorite blanket, and your new favorite quilt, all wrapped up in one! What could be better?