In last week's article, I highlighted a mug mat and mentioned a technique to add a continuous/loop binding to small projects. Since I had a question or two about this technique, I thought you might like to see how I add a binding to a small project, such as a 5" square mug mat.
Of course, there's always the option to make the backing a bit larger than the trimmed top and batting. Then fold the backing edges to the front. That works, but I think the folding and mitering can be tricky for a consistent finish.
So here's how I bind a small square or rectangular piece.
For this example, I used two 5" squares, one for the top and one for the bottom and a 5" square of fusible foam batting. For a quilt, I typically cut 2-1/4" strips for binding, but for something this size, I'm going with a 2" binding strip. That's the width.
To determine how long the binding strip needs to be, I measure the sides (5" for each side) and add them up. 4 sides at 5" long is 20". Then I add one binding width, or 2" to that. I trim my strip to 22" long. Last week, I mentioned adding twice the width of the binding to the perimeter - that's not correct!
I press the binding strip in half lengthwise, then I form a loop, without twisting, and connect the ends with a diagonal seam as shown.
I know this looks like it's twisted, but it's okay. . . .
For the mug mat, I fused the front and back materials to the fusible foam square. Then quilted lightly. To bind the mini quilt, I start adding the binding loop to the quilted mug mat, one side at a time, much like I would add binding to a full-sized quilt.
Using a 1/4" seam, I start sewing the binding onto the front of the mug mat starting about 2" or so from the first corner (under the red arrow head). See the photo below.
Then I miter the corner like any other binding. The arrow in the photo below shows where I'm fold the binding back onto itself toward the right at a 45-degree angle . . .
Then I fold the binding it back onto itself to the left at a 90-degree angle (below). Be sure that the 90-degree fold is even or just a *tiny* bit overlapping the corner edge of the quilted mug mat center.
Sew from the top edge to 1/4" away from the bottom edge, then miter again. Keep an accurate 1/4" seam for each side.
The true test will be when you're about to miter that last corner. The remaining binging should lie flat. And the last seem will meet at the point where you started sewing the first side, without any bulges, stretches, or ripples.
Turn the folded edge of the binding to the back, and secure it by hand, mitering the backside of the binding as you go.
There you have it.
By the way, this little 5" mug mat is a great way to use up fabric scraps and make handy little mug mats for gifts or for any room in your house. I like them for the water glass in the bathroom, or for the bedroom night stand. Kitchen table, desk for hot or cold beverages, under the teapot. . . the list goes on and on. The foam batting is entirely washable with little, if any shrinkage.
You can get a 6-pack of pre-cut fusible foam 5" squares here, if you like, then start creating.