Skip to main content

Finishing Your Quilt

Lesson 20 from: T-Shirt Quilting: Warm Up With Your Life Story

Diane Gilleland

buy this class


Sale Ends Soon!

starting under


Unlock this classplus 2200+ more >

Lesson Info

20. Finishing Your Quilt

Lesson Info

Finishing Your Quilt

Before we dive into quilt care, I want to show you all a simpler easier method for finishing a quilt that you might want to use in certain cases especially where you don't have the time to put a full binding on and that is this method that I've used here on the kid's quilt this is what I would call a seam binding my mother refers to it as a pillow case finding probably has a technical name that's even fancier than that, but basically what we're doing is instead of installing a binding will simply finish the edge of the quilt by sewing it and we'll turn it right side out and it'll be a quilt and then we can talk a little bit about how to quilt it, so this is really easy to d'oh and I've made for each of you here in the studio some some more samples to work with so that you can practice this right alongside me if you'd like. So what I've built here for us is a small sample quilt top just made out of a few blocks and then I've given you a fresh piece of binding our sorry fresh piece of ba...

tting and a fresh piece of backing to work with okay? So you'll quickly see how how much less effort the style of quote making is this is a nice thing to have in your back pocket if you just I want to make a quick gift kill quilt or a baby quilts or something where you don't want to put in the hours to install a binding and you don't want to put in a lot of hours on quilting this is just a simplified way to go what we're going to dio is going to start with our quilt top and you guys should be able to do all of this right alongside me here we want to take the quilt top and make that be our pattern to trim are backing and are buying their batting fabric to the same exact size so the whole thing we were doing before about having the batting and the backing b two inches larger on all sides we don't need that for this style of quilting and the quickest and easiest way to get all three of these layers to be the same size is we'll just lay them out flat and then we'll place our finished top here on the top of them can't things nice and smooth and then actually is joan was mentioning in the last segment about trimming with scissors instead of the rotary cutter this for this style of quilting you can absolutely do that so I'm just going to use my finished quote top here as a pattern piece and I'm going to take a paris scissors and I'm just going to trim both layers at the same time and I'm going to trim them so that they match the edge of the top. Really, for this style of very casual quote, finish, you don't even have to mess around with squaring you're backing fabric because this is such a simple sewing process you can really get away with just laying down and cutting exactly like I'm doing here. This is probably not a method that a prize winning quote maker would want to use, but if you need something that's very quick and simple, this is a terrific one to know about and you can aim for let's call it reasonable precision here if you're cut is not absolutely perfectly straight with the edge, it's ok, just getting as close as you can, but if you have a tiny bit of overlapped going on like I have right here, it's not really going to be the end of the world old and so once you have that trimming done, then here's, how we're going to stack up the layers you want to first take your quilt top and your quote backing and you want those to be right sides together. So if you've ever sewn like a pillowcase or any kind of a bag or anything where you turn something right side out, this is a pretty much the same exact process we're going to put the layers right sides facing and then we're going to sew around the edges, and then we're gonna turn the whole thing right side out. So now that I have the quote top and the quilt backing with right sides together, then I'll just take this batting that I've cut, and I'll place that on top of the backing. So since we haven't really cut with a ton of precision, we didn't use the ruler and rotary cutter. It may take a little smoothing to get the layers pretty close to matching, but that's ok, what we're going to do is use the finished quote, top as the basis of everything we're doing so pure the edges of your quote, top or cut straight that's what we're going to so along that's going to take care of any precision issues at the seam binding. And so now that these layers air together, it's just a matter of sewing around three edges and we're going to leave a nice opening in one side, so I would recommend in this case, if europe inner going head and pinning all four edges together before you start sewing. And if you're not a pinar, you get to take a sixty second now ball you could absolutely lot of lot of sores, I know the use their wonder clips in place of regular pins. What's nice about him is they don't distort the fabric at all and then they're super easy to remove as you're selling their actually easier to pull out than a pin while you're in the middle of the seam. So a lot of folks like him for that reason actually these little samples I made for you all would function pretty well is a pet quilt for ah fairly small pet if any of you have them, do any of you have a small pet at home? You could be a good see so it's like a bonus gift for sure today potentially, a question from jennifer just refers back to our last segment briefly but urged doesn't matter it'll when you're doing the binding whether you work clockwise or counterclockwise, is it just too personal reference it's an excellent question I don't think it matters one way or the other I think the comfort would be more how your orient in the sewing and I'm assuming you're speaking about the hand yes sewing at the end not because the installation because you're you're limited by how you have to oriented in the machine it's always going to be the same direction but sowing one way or the other is all hand comfort, so feel free to try it both directions I'm a counterclockwise girl myself, but you may find the clockwise sowings more comfortable, so go for it that might also impact whether you're right or left handed. I agree, yeah, you're a lefty, you might find something in the opposite direction much more comfortable and katie katie did it is saying that when it comes to the binding I typically so by machine but that's when I know the court is going to get a lot of use such as the child's quilt. Very nice, yes, and I'm debbie and I were actually having a conversation in the hallway during the break about something similar to that right that in the machine you actually installed by machine usually most the time. Yeah, and it's it's, certainly, and I don't mean to imply that that's a very difficulty unpleasant way to install a binding the way that we've done it in class is just very beginner friendly, but there are many, many ways to bind a quilt. Did you want me to tell them my left? Yeah, you have to hear about your, uh, one of our burning educators showed a way to figure out how you khun make sure you don't miss that didn't sewing blind side, so she put a chord when you fold your binding and half impressive, she put a small like a gimp cord lightweight cotton cord in the fold, so did to the top of her quote, flipped it over and then and and stitch but you could just feel the court so you always knew that you were past the edge of the court and you knew you were going toe get your straits this right where you wanted it her name is nine mcveigh she's wonderful yeah that loved I loved that technique actually brought up a question that I thought would be fun to ask you while we're here in the live space which is how many specialty presser feet would you say that you use very regularly on your machine oh boy well we have almost ninety different kinds of press her feet that's a collection well it is it is I would say probably on an average project I would probably use anywhere from six to ten different ones because I like to do lots of different techniques so you need different presser feet for those saying that interesting and I pretty much operate with my standard press her foot in a walking presser foot most of the time although there are many that I covet in the world for my machine yeah I don't think that I don't think you have to have them but I think the perspective I'm getting from you is that they make these processes significantly easier people right foot for the right task they help make your your ending project look more professionally finished because if you use the right press it put the presser foot it has the right umm technique to get the process done correctly and so just makes it easier for you to get it done and then you look really good all your friends and that's what it's all about you know that's really the whole the whole thing right there you have it pretty much thank you for sharing that with us you're welcome fantastic. All right, so I have pins all these layers yeah. Oh, good. I see some some folks spending with wonder clips here that's great. So what I want to do is I want to start along one side and I want to be since near the corner and I want to so toward the corner that's always your starting point just start close to a corner and so to the corner j k o brought up a question in the last segment which was why don't we leave? You know make the corner are starting and ending point and with this style of simpler binding that comes up is well it's because we need to have a clean seem going around all four corners so that we when we turn this quilt right side out we actually get four nice points and if we started into seem at the corner you're going to have one that looks significantly different than the other three and so that's why we do it this way so let me spend my machine around here one last time and double check that I'm plugged in. Now I'll bet you're finding that you're backing and you're batting and the edges of your quilt top or doing a little bit of a wavy thing here and there. So the way that you cope with that is you make sure that your quilt top is the top layer that your sewing on and you just used that is the thing that you line your presser foot up with, and then any little mismatches are going to get caught in the seam edge. So it's all fine, all right? And so this is sown with just standard stitch length straight seem just like we've been doing with everything else we do want to leave a nice big gap in the side that we're starting, so I do recommend you start just about three inches from the corner and then so forward when we get to the corner, I'll show you how to do a pivot in your scene. So you want to stop sewing a quarter inch away from the garage of the fabric and you want to stop with your needle down in the fabric that's very important, the needle needs to be down inside the fabric, and then what we'll do is lift up the presser foot can just spend the whole thing around. This way, and since the needles in the fabric, you can move the fabric anywhere you need to, but the needle will retain the positions so that you won't lose your nice stitching line, then we'll just bring the presser foot down. We'll make sure we still have our quarter inch alignment with the presser foot and then keep selling in the new direction here when you reach a point where you're getting close to some seem allowances, which you'll do it random places throughout this quilt top, because you will have however, many pieces pieced together, you just want to make sure that they're laying nice and flat before your presser foot advances over them. If you're presser foot happens, tio flip one over the other kind of messed up the seam allowance is a little bit, it is certainly not the end of the world in this context, so you just let it go, but you make an effort to spread amount, it just helps things, life flatter and the meter then I'm getting close to another corner saw stopped again a quarter inch from the raw edge needle in the fabric, and then I'll just lift the presser foot pivot one more time you're making obviously are for use, whether it's for wrapping yourself up warm in your memories whatever or even if it's for your pets but we do have a question from an who's asking dan do you ever made quilts toe hanging display and do you have any tips for those as well for people who perhaps do want to have it preserve as a memorial to perhaps somebody that's a lovely idea you can absolutely hang in display this style of quote a t shirt quilt there are some good ways to dio hanging mechanism type of thing in the back and a lot depends on the size and weight of the quilt if the quote you're making for a while hanging is very large the t shirt fabric does add quite a bit of weight to that so you're probably going to want to dio channel and the top so that you can actually put a wooden rod through that and hang it and I can definitely speak a little bit about how to do that another very easy way to do hangers for the back of a quilt is actually when you have a abound quilt you can take some squares of fabric and press them in half so you have fabric triangles and then you can position those in the corners of the quilt and install the binding around them this is not this is a technique lots of people use so what you can always do is doing online search for you know, quilt, hangar by triangle or cool tanger triangle something similar and you'll probably find a youtube video or something that will cover that technique for you, but you can definitely build in a hangar and then that's very easy to installing hang on your wall and enjoy and then for care just, you know, keep the dust will accumulate slowly on it over time, so maybe shake it out. Apparently occasionally you shouldn't really need to launder it if it's just hanging on a wall, but it sounds like a beautiful idea toe hang a memorial quotes on the wall and enjoy it all the time thank you. When you reach your last side of this, a very common rookie mistake is to over so and so all four sides together with no opening, so make sure that you stop selling some appropriate point. I'm gonna get speedy here to finish this, of course, when you're working at this kind of thing at full size once again and I know I keep making this point, but it is such a big difference from making a small piece like this I would have significantly more bulk of fabric, so if you can imagine what I'm doing right now but working with something this size, take a look at just how much fabric I am supporting as I feed it through the sewing machine. And understand that this is weighty and this is a lot to manage so you're going to be doing a lot of wrangling and moving the quilt around to try to keep it weightless and supported issue go so working at full size is always a very different animal than working with these little sample pieces but the sample pieces they're useful for just demonstrating the basic techniques so we'll do that ok so I've got a nice open and going here I'll go ahead and finish off my seem and then get this out of my way so now I've got the four sides seemed finished and I can turn this right side out but there are a couple of good little tips I can give you before you turn it right side out that'll given a nicer finish the first of these is to clip across the four corners the reason being is that there's actually quite a lot of bulky seem allowance here in the corner but when you turn this corner right side out all of that bulk has to fit into a tiny pointed corner and what happens is it can't make a good shape what you get us something very blunt and rounded that looks like that but if you trim away the excess seem allowance at the corner then you can get a nice pointed corner main thing to do is you cut straight across like a forty five degree angle but you're very careful not to clip across the stitching you've just put in place. The next thing that I do is over here at the ironing board, and this is a little trick that I don't see too many sewing teachers teaching, but I think it's really dandy, and that is when you're going to turn something right side out, he pressed the seam allowance open first along the edges, you'll be amazed at how much flatter the thing lies, so if I try to turn this right side out along, it seems right now, it's it's a little tough to get these toe life flat and to get them even so what you do instead shake that back out to its original? Yes, we're just gonna open up the seam allowance here at the edge and press it. And so what that looks like finished, is this? So I'm just opening that out so there's, nothing happening on the batting side, it's staying as is, but the two layers of the top and the backing of pressed those apart, and you want to do that on all four sides? I did not get a comment from manner who's watching a man, a man who was saying she does hope the holly will upload. The images of the quilt said you'd already made into our galleries. I put things on instagram and I put it on pinterest so after molly tanner strauss her until those I think way too much because I usually put the process with the cat in the hole that's really? What makes it so does I just want to remind everybody was watching that any work that you've been making this particular course oil, any other crafting courses? We would love to see that please go to our course page, you can click the share your work button, so actually great, but I think on that course page and then as it's friday tash, tag it with I made it, and we'd love to see that in the galleries. Please do share all of your work with us, even if you finish it next month. We still love to see it and how you are, how you're getting on with your quilting? I would love to see what anyone makes from this class, and I will be eagerly watching the galleries, wishing you can always ask me and I could do you a great and delicious yale. So here this side of this quote, that has the open end where we're going to turn it. I still want to follow the same pressing line so I'm pressing my seem allowances open and at the same time I'm simply turning a quarter inch of thie open raw edge over and pressing that which will come in very handy later when I want to sew this opening closed you don't have to really measure that you can eyeball it and completely get away with it just try to do a visual quarter inch and you'll be fine and then the last thing to do is actually to trim the binding in there the batting rather in a little bit because I need to be able to get this out of the way of where I need to sew the opening closed and so I will just actually take the binding at this opening edge and all trim inward just almost with a little different here see see how that looks I haven't interrupted the seam line at all have simply cut the binding so it dips below the same line along that opening that will make a whole lot of sense in a minute for your confused look there holly weigh all do and I know everybody is that a little bit different stage here but I want to check in one more corner okay good james changeover because in the debate I think given where the opening is correct the's clover clips are also holding my might go on the back of my truck clover wonder clips are excellent from microphone uses maybe give everybody just a minute to catch up to where we are way back quicks questions only just come images about the binding again from our last segment because men are saying and several other people have clicked. This is a favorite question, so I must be if using a lot of people is the math isn't making sense. If you start with a two and a quarter with inch with binding, you folded in half, then so a court into machine seem if you then folded over, it seems like you would get mohr than a quarter of an inch overlap on the backing fabric side, so have they missed something here? But sure, I'm fully understanding that question I'm on least because it involves a lot of a lot of math. It sounds like there might be a tiny bit of overthought thinking going on there because and then debbie, you look like you're ready to weigh in, so I'm happy we did not again if I read it again yeah, actually. So you start with a tune a quarter inch with binding fold in half, then so a quarter inch machines seem if you then folded over, it seems like you would get mme or on a quarter of an inch overlap on the backing fabric side you would you would get so they're saying that when I make that fold, the folded edge is going to not completely match the rise of the quilt. I'm guessing that's well, I think that's what that means thickness in there, so it kind of you? And even if it does leave a tiny sliver of space that doesn't hurt anything, people actually make bindings with two and a half inch wide strips, and then there's there's, even a little bigger margin of space between the edge of the quilt on that fold, I don't. It does not hurt the functionality of the binding it's really a cosmetic difference, and some people like wider bindings for larger quilts just because of the visual framing of the courtroom. So, you know, if you're working on something really small, you might want something narrow, but if you're working on something really, really big, then you might want a wider finding, and so I've even had people do three inch on icy on make him really wide, pretty great. Thank you for that. And if you need any further clarification manner police post your question again, but hopefully that answered, I think it did, but thank you, please, there was no excellent, yeah, that was a great question, all right, so are we in a pretty good place for we're ready to turn e heard all the sewing stop so I see no money did you clip then press there you press thing click click or done press ok yes so I have clipped the four corners I've pressed the four seam allowances open and I have cut into my binding to make a little dip there now I'm ready to turn the sky inside out so once again as we're doing this on this comfortable little tiny piece fabric I want you to think about my doing it on something this big right I would so in other words, if I reach in like so I first go to the farthest away corner either one of them and I pull that through okay when I do that with a quilt this size what I'm doing is like reaching in all the way up to my shoulder right it's a little bit different because it's larger so you can pull the first farthest away corner through and then you congrats the second faraway corner and then here's where it's good to have something that's pointy but not sharp on hand. There are specialty tools called bodkins that air lovely for this purpose but you could also use a chopstick or the end of a pen something like that and you just take that and you come in here and you poke the corner from the inside so that it can get a sharp is possible but the whole reason you don't use something sharp for that like say a scissor blade is because it's terribly easy to just stab right up through the corner and ruin here your quote even though the seam has had a ninety degree angle and it was perfectly sharp as a corner when we sewed it of course you're still pushing a lot of seem allowance into that corner when you turn it right side out so it's not going to be perfectly square you're just going to get something that's kind of pleasantly rounded like that and then we'll turn the two corners that are nearest are opening and we'll do the same thing ho coming from the inside kid imus pointed as we can okay so already that's lying pretty flat because we pressed the seam allowances open and now we have to do is take that over to the ironing board and sort of encourage it all the way flat so already we've made an edge binding in what I don't know what percentage ten percent of the time that we would use to install a full binding it might be good to mention just in case I didn't make it clear at the top of the segment that we actually have not quilted this before doing this process we're going toe edge bind this first and then we will quilt it but with a traditional t shirt quilt with a binding, you would sandwich in quilted. And then you would install your binding. So the order of operations is a little different here.

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

Bonus Project Cozy Pet Quilt
Bonus Project Pocket Graphic Pillow
Bonus Project Scrappy Trivet Potholder
T-Shirt Quilt Class Workbook
Getting Ready Guide

Ratings and Reviews


This was a really fabulous class with an excellent instructor. It took us from a pile of t-shirts through every step to a finished quilt. There was a lot of time spent in design which was great, since t-shirts are highly variable in color and design. The second half of the class was all about basics, including information on backing, batting, and quilt top. Then making the "sandwich" with several options on basting. And then quilting (fancy, which was discussed but not included), hand tie and a couple of machine quilting options. Then binding. Each step was explained and demonstrated. Options were very often given, with easy, non-stressful techniques encouraged. This was a excellent class and the instructor was really awesome. Questions were anticipated and thoroughly answered. The instructor was always helpful and pleasant. This course expects some basic sewing machine knowledge, but you definitely do not have to be an quilting expert to enjoy this class and end up with a wonderful quilt.

user 08dcb9

Diane Gilleland is a fantastic teacher. One of the problems I always face with quilting classes is that the teacher seems to forget that everyone is at a different ability. I love the way Diane goes slowly enough for beginners while at the same time adding tidbits of information that even an experienced quilter could appreciate. Her "laid back" approach is appealing and non-threatening, which made for a very comfortable learning experience. It is such a wonderful idea, to be able to save the memories of your t-shirts, by making them into a comfy quilt.


Diane was fantastic! I am fairly new to sewing and have taken a tee-shirt quilt class before, but Diane's class was so much more informative, helpful, easy to understand and professional. I can't say enough good things about the class and how impressed I was. This was my first visit to creativelive, you can be sure it will not be my last. Thank you

Student Work