Several of my small Dresden Plate quilts have facing instead of binding. When I shared them during a recent program, people asked for instructions. I wrote “Let’s Face It” for Quiltmaker in years past, so I got their permission to post that article here. I hope you’ll give it a try. It’s a great skill to have in your toolbox.
“Let’s Face It” by Diane Harris
Courtesy of Quiltmaker and The Quilting Company
A useful alternative to binding a quilt is adding a facing. Binding adds a frame of sorts around the quilt’s edges. Facing comes in handy when you don’t want such a frame, and it’s fast and easy to do.
Follow these steps to add facing to any quilt. I used dark thread in some of the photographed samples for visibility. In reality, use matching thread.
Layer and quilt as you normally would. Trim all the layers of the quilt even and square up if needed.
Cut the facing strips 2½” wide; cut enough strips to go around your quilt’s perimeter. If necessary, join the strips end to end. The strip length is determined as follows: for the top and bottom strips, measure across the quilt width. Cut the top and bottom facing strips to this measurement minus ¼”. (Having the strips ¼” shorter than the quilt’s width will help pull the facing to the back and be unseen.)
On both strips, fold one long edge under ¼” and press. Place one strip right side down at each end of the quilt, matching the ends of the strips to the sides of the quilt as shown. Pin both strips at each end.
With the quilt on the bottom (nearest the machine bed), sew both of the strips to the quilt with a ¼” seam allowance, beginning at one short end and turning the corner with one diagonal stitch as shown below. Turn the second corner in the same way and end the line of stitching as it began.
Now lay facing strips right sides down on the quilt front sides. Trim the strips so the ends extend about ¾” past the folded edge of the top and bottom strips as shown below. Fold one long edge under ¼” on both strips and press. Sew the side facing strips to the quilt as shown with a ¼” seam allowance. Carefully trim the bulk from each corner.
To make the facing lie flat, sew a line of sharpstitching, also called edgestitching: first, fold the side facing strip up as shown below. Beginning about 2½” from the corner, sew through all the seam allowances and the facing very close to the seam, ending about the same distance from the next corner. Repeat for all the sides.
Turn the facing to the back of the quilt and gently push out the corners. Press the facing flat. Sew the facing to the quilt back by hand with a blind stitch.
As you can see, a quilt facing is similar to a garment facing, but it’s easier to do because there are no curves. I use this technique on many small quilts and it’s really a nice way to finish.
My thanks to Quiltmaker for giving permission to post “Let’s Face It.” When you see Quiltmaker on the newsstand, please pick it up! Visit quiltingcompany.com for lots of inspiration.