“Binding-less” Flat Corners

Currently it is very “trendy” to hang art on the wall without a frame. My daughter-in-law is a talented artist and often hangs her canvases in this manor:

This has become popular with fiber artists too. It is very “in” to hang wall quilts without borders or bindings.  I’ve made a number of wall quilts that I just didn’t think would look great with a binding.

I call this quilt “Interchange” and it is an example of one of my faced quilts. It was made for a challenge entitled “Colorwheel Opposites”. I chose pinks and greens and quilted it with “wheels”.

I love the visual “feeling” that the squares are about to tumble past the outer edge.

“The Narrow Gate” is another one of my faced quilts. It was made for a different challenge, this one entitled “Portals”, and it’s one of my spiritual journey quilts. The tree depicts the cross, and the portal is a sliver of the heaven we are promised when we are saved by Jesus. The leaves are 3-D and are printed with Scripture verses which tell about this amazing gift. Once again, I thought a binding would be too confining.

So, how does one get this look without a lot of effort? Well, I have two favorite techniques for accomplishing this quite easily. I’ll share the easiest in this week’s post and my favorite way next week.

The simple way is to “turn” small quilts (envelope style: layer batt, top and back; sew all the way around and leave an opening to turn right sides out) instead of binding them.

My least favorite part of turning a quilt is having an unsightly hand-stitched area along the quilt edge where it was turned. In a previous post I shared my favorite technique for eliminating that problem (click here for that post and scroll down about half way through the post for the turning trick).

My second frustration when turning a quilt is lumps at the corners. No matter how much I trim the batt and fabrics, there is always a lump… and worse – I sometimes trim it so close my turning tool pushes through the corner! UGH!

Well – I have a solution for that problem too. Here goes:

• Stitch all the way around the quilt, using a 1/4″ seam allowance, but don’t  pivot at the corners. Instead, stitch off the ends of each edge as in the picture, yielding crossed seams at the corners:

• Choose a corner and “unstitch” the last inch in both directions. You’ll be able to see the holes where the stitches were when you pull back the fabric:

• Pull the backing fabric out of the way too, and angle cut the batting away just inside the intersection:

• Lay everything back in place and resew the seam, pivoting at the corner this time.

• Trim the corners as usual for turning.

• Repeat for the remaining corners.

• Turn the quilt, right side out, and enjoy the “lumpless” results!

Do you turn your quilts? Do you have problems with lumps? If so, I hope you’ll give this a try, and I’d love to hear your thoughts about the technique.

Please return next week for step-by-step facing instructions. I think you’ll find it quite interesting!

4 Opinions

  • Jim Curtis said:

    I have a question? It looks like you have sewed about 1 inch from the outside edge all around the quilt. Why did you do so instead of 1/4 inch as in a regular seam?

    • clkquilt admin

      Hi Jim, I’m glad you pointed this out. I did use a 1/4″ seam allowance, and have now added that to the post. I think it just looks larger because the pictures are so “close-up”. I did actually remove the stitches back about an inch from each edge in the second picture. I hope that puts it into perspective. Thanks.

  • Kai Oelke said:

    I have envelope turned most of my quilts for years, much easier/time saving. Some bunch up, some do not but I like your cure for that. Thanks for all the small techniques/tips that help so much.

  • Gail Maslan said:

    Whenever I make a mini or small wall hanging, I sew the backing to the front all around, leaving NO opening. Then I lay the batting (a little larger than quilt) on the table, put the quilt over it, backing side on top. Pin quilt to the batting. Using a longer stitch length, sew the batting down, just a little to the right of the previous seam line. Cut off excess batting and trim corners. Decide on a label size and exactly where it will go. Very carefully cut a slit in the backing, just a little smaller than the label will be. Reach through the slit and turn it inside out, poking out the corners. Press quilt. Write info on your label and then press Heat ‘n Bond regular, to the back of it. Then press the label over the slit. This way you don’t have any hand stitching on the edge of the quilt which sometimes is not exactly straight. Machine quilt it and Voila!! All done and no hand stitching. I’ve been doing this for years. I call it my Quick Turn Method. It works best on smaller minis, wall hangings up to about 25″ or table runners. I will now use your corner trick to make them smoother. Thanks for a great blog.


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