Sunday, November 25, 2018

A loon, a bear and a binding tutorial

Finished loon

Finished loon quilt mini
The loon mini is quilted in-the-ditch.
I found some fabulous foundation paper pieced patterns for making woodland animals blocks. Here's how it started.

My October DrEAMi! (something that catches your fancy and you just have to Drop Everything And Make It!) was a foundation paper pieced block that I gave my brother for his birthday instead of a card. Since he loves the outdoors, I made him a loon.

This is the first of several minis that I'll be making using Made by Marney's patterns. The finishing of the loon mini and the making of the bear mini are my November DrEAMi!

A bear mini

My next mini was a bear - well actually two bears because I'm making a second one for my husband. The first one I made has a pretty obvious mistake so I'm keeping it for myself and using it in the binding tutorial below.

Extended-border binding technique

These minis are perfect for trying out new techniques. I tried this binding technique on the loon block and then took pictures of the process using the first bear mini for this short tutorial.

Challenge: I didn't want to add a binding to this block. I've tried binding the quilt from the back but didn't really like the results since my corners are not always very good. So I essentially made a wider border and used it to bind the quilt. Here is the tutorial.

Measurement: Decide how wide you want your border, then add ¼" for your seam allowance and add 1" for the binding.
In this case, the border fabric was made from 2¼" strips. (¼" seam allowance + 1" border + 1" binding.) * You can adjust how wide you want your border as well as how much fabric you want to use for your binding.

Attach the border
Attach the border fabric to the top and bottom of the block.
Adding the top and bottom border
 Attached the side borders to the block.
Adding the side borders
Sandwich the quilt with the batting and backing fabric and quilt the piece except for the border.

Quilting in-the-ditch with the "Shorty" ruler
Cut the batting and backing
Once the quilting is finished, flip over the border fabric away from the edge. Then, one side at a time, trim the excess batting and backing. 
(In this case, I cut the batting and backing 1" from the edge of the border.)

Trimming the batting and backing

Trimming the batting and backing from all sides

The front border extends past the backing once each side has been trimmed.
The front border extends past the backing
Finish Quilting 
If you want to quilt your border, this is the time to do it!

Press the border
Fold the extended part of the border in half and press
Pressing the extended fabric in half
Flip the pressed extended border over the back of the quilt. (I use small metal paper clips to keep my border in place.) Stitch the extended border to the back.

Using paper clips to keep the border in place while stitching
This is what the back of the pieces looks like with the border used as the binding.

The back of the bear min when the border is used as binding

The back of the loon mini 

I made a label using some great retro duck fabric and used neutral fabric to write on. As I learned previously, I ironed freezer paper to the back to ensure that the fabric wouldn't shifting around when I wrote on it.
Making a label for the quilt
Using freezer paper to stabilise the fabric to create a label
Happy Thanksgiving to all those who are celebrating today!

What I learned
  • Minis are great to try different techniques. There isn't the investment of time, material and effort that you might have with a larger or more complex quilt.
  • One of the tricky things about foundation paper piecing is that the finished product is the reverse of the pattern. Since I didn't print up the pattern in colour, I mixed up one of the pieces. You can see that the bear block looks like it has a broken leg with a cast instead of the shadow of the leg. I haven't finished quilting the second bear, but it doesn't have a broken leg! 
  • Making the bear pattern a second time was much easier since I knew what to do - and not do! I rarely make something twice but it is a good learning experience. The second time it usually is easier and faster and probably better. I think that I sometimes miss out on the learning aspect of that type of repetition. Since I was so intent on getting the second bear mini right, I wasn't bored 😊
  • I used Angela Walter's "Shorty" ruler to quilt in-the-ditch. This is the second time I use it and I'm very impressed.
  • I've never come across this method of binding a quilt, but if it's out there somewhere under another name, please let me know.
  • I hope you were able to follow the tutorial (it's my first one). If you have any questions or suggestions, please leave me a message in the comment section, or email me at quiltingandlearning (at)
Related links
Linking Parties
I'll be linking this post to Sandra's DrEAMi! party as well as other linkies. Check them out and see what others are doing! Free Motion Mavericks, TGIFF!, Slow Sunday Stitching, Oh Scrap!, Monday Making, Main Crush Monday, Design Wall Monday, Moving It Forward, What I Made Monday, Linky Tuesday, Tuesday Colour Linky Party, Let's Bee Social, Midweek Makers, Needle & Thread ThursdayWondering Camera, Finished or Not Friday, Friday Foto Fun, Can I Get A Whoop Whoop?, TGIFF,

Project Details

Loon Mini, pattern by Made By Marney
8½" X 8¾"
Materials: commercial and hand-dyed cotton, embroidery floss
Techniques: foundation paper piecing and free motion quilting, embroidery


  1. Hi! This is "Marney" from Made By Marney. Thanks so much for sharing the info about my paper piecing patterns. You are such a sweet heart! Love your post.

    1. Thanks Mary, I love your patterns. I'm just sorry that this bear had a cast on its leg :-) The next one will be able to walk well.

  2. Hello Andr ée,

    I can't believe how tiny your loon is! I'm sure you brother loves it.

    Congratulations on working out your method for binding. Sometimes you just have to do things your own way.

    Thank you for linking up with Free Motion Mavericks. Your loon is this week's featured project!

    Love, Muv

    1. Thanks Muv. These are actually bigger than the 4" foundation paper piecing I usually do! Thanks for featuring the loon :-)

  3. Lovely blocks! Love the extended border binding technique, very akin to facing, but with borders.

    Thanks so much for linking up on Wandering Camera!


    1. Thanks Soma - yes very much like the facing technique. I'm hoping to try it out on larger pieces to see how well it does. Thanks again for hosting Wandering Camera and have a great holiday.

  4. Your loon is lovely. I love the idea of giving a mini as a birthday card. Another something to put on my Something-to-Try list.

    1. Thanks Susie. I'm now almost caught up with my mini birthday cards...and replying to the comments! Hope you have a great Christmas!

  5. I love your loon and the bear. And I like the idea of giving a quilt block instead of a birthday card :)

  6. Great little method. I have a friend who used to "bind" a lot of her kids' utility quilts this way. I don't know that the technique has a name though.


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