Anna Hergert, Art & Design

Tutorial: How to Apply Facing to a Quilt

Maybe There's a WorldA few days ago an email from Judy S. arrived with the following request: “I attended your class at Quilt Canada.  I was the one who did the tree project. Could you explain to me the facing again as I am going to finish my hanging and I have forgotten how to do it. Thank you.”

I emailed Judy back with step by step instruction, but while composing the instructions I realized that most of us are visual learners. So, inspired by Judy’s email I set out to create a detailed tutorial for applying facing to a quilt.

Introduction: Why add facings? Why is a regular binding not enough? I use facings in most of my work. That and pillow turn finishes are what is most common on my wall hangings. Why? I find facings add a certain amount of stability to my work, especially when I don’t observe “the rules” of keeping my edges absolutely square. Since most of my work is deemed for exhibition in a gallery I want to make sure that the work hangs straight and does not curl. Across Canada and into the US we have varying environmental conditions, some of which add a lot of humidity to a building. This humidity can affect the way textile art hangs… and there is nothing more annoying when your perfect hanging creation is away from the studio and misbehaves – heaven forbid: My worst nightmare includes a curling and misshapen fiber piece!

The answer for me has been to use the following method of finishing 80 % of all textile pieces I create. Hope you find this tutorial helpful!

Step 1: Sandwich and quilt your piece. Trim off all loose threads.

Step 1: Sandwich and quilt your piece. Trim off all loose threads.

Step 2: Ensure that the back is free of long threads. Carefully square work.

Step 2: Ensure that the back is free of long threads. Carefully square work.

Step 3: Cut a length of fabric or canvas. Since this sample is relatively small I cut my strip 4 “ wide for the length of the the fabric. For a larger piece I might cut 5 - 6 “ wide and proceed as following.

Step 3: Cut a length of fabric or canvas. Since this sample is relatively small I cut my strip 4 “ wide for the length of the the fabric. For a larger piece I might cut 5 – 6 “ wide and proceed as following.

Step 4: Press the fabric strip, fold in half and press again. This strip is now 2” wide.

Step 4: Press the fabric strip, fold in half and press again. This strip is now 2” wide.

Step 5: Cut two strips exactly the length of left and right of quilt. Cut two more strips approximately 1” longer on either side of the edge.

Step 5: Cut two strips exactly the length of left and right of quilt. Cut two more strips approximately 1” longer on either side of the edge.

Step 6: Attach the two side strips to the front of the quilt using small stitches (suggested setting: 2.2 to 2.4)

Step 6: Attach the two side strips to the front of the quilt using small stitches (suggested setting: 2.2 to 2.4)

Step 7: Carefully trim back the “top layer” of the facing strip. Use caution as it is easy to clip the sewing stitches.

Step 7: Carefully trim back the “top layer” of the facing strip. Use caution as it is easy to clip the sewing stitches.

Step 8: Turn the quilt over and trim back the batting and back layers close to the sewing line that is holding the facing strip in place.

Step 8: Turn the quilt over and trim back the batting and back layers close to the sewing line that is holding the facing strip in place.

Step 9: Your quilt will look similar to this example.

Step 9: Your quilt will look similar to this example.

Step 10: Take the quilt to the iron and press along the sewing edge.

Step 10: Take the quilt to the iron and press along the sewing edge.

Step 11: Trim the corner of each strip by about 1 “. Discard the trimmed fabric.

Step 11: Trim the corner of each strip by about 1 “. Discard the trimmed fabric.

Step 12: Press the strip to the back. Notice, there will be no bulk at the sewn edge and the facing strips will be nice and flat on the back. No facing fabric will be visible on the front.

Step 12: Press the strip to the back. Notice, there will be no bulk at the sewn edge and the facing strips will be nice and flat on the back. No facing fabric will be visible on the front.

Step 13: Pin the facing in place.

Step 13: Pin the facing in place.

Step 14: Stitch the facing in place using matching thread. I have used black here to make the stitches a bit more visible for the purpose of the example. Had this been a quilt for a show I would have used a tan coloured thread.

Step 14: Stitch the facing in place using matching thread. I have used black here to make the stitches a bit more visible for the purpose of the example. Had this been a quilt for a show I would have used a tan colored thread.

Step 15: When both side facing strips have been securely stitched in place, turn the quilt over to the front. Place the top and bottom strips along the edges and stitch the strips in place (as in step 6), leaving 1 “ allowance on top and bottom of each strip.

Step 15: When both side facing strips have been securely stitched in place, turn the quilt over to the front. Place the top and bottom strips along the edges and stitch the strips in place (as in step 6), leaving 1 “ allowance on top and bottom of each strip.

Step 16: Trim away the fabric (as in step 7).

Step 16: Trim away the fabric (as in step 7).

Step 17: Turn over the quilt and trim away the batting and backing layers (as in step 8).

Step 17: Turn over the quilt and trim away the batting and backing layers (as in step 8).

Step 18: Trim excess fabrics as demonstrated here. This will further reduce bulk when finishing the corners of the quilt.

Step 18: Trim excess fabrics as demonstrated here. This will further reduce bulk when finishing the corners of the quilt.

Step 19: Take the quilt to the ironing board. Carefully press the strips to the back (as in  step 12).

Step 19: Take the quilt to the ironing board. Carefully press the strips to the back (as in step 12).

Step 20: Ensure the corners have as little bulk as possible. Trim more fabric at your discretion and as you see necessary.

Step 20: Ensure the corners have as little bulk as possible. Trim more fabric at your discretion and as you see necessary.

Step 21: Pin and press the facing strips in place.

Step 21: Pin and press the facing strips in place.

Step 22: Securely stitch the strips in place.

Step 22: Securely stitch the strips in place.

Step 23: The completed back. Note: there is no sign of the front fabric. Your quilt is now ready for a hanging sleeve and the label.

Step 23: The completed back. Note: there is no sign of the front fabric. Your quilt is now ready for a hanging sleeve and the label.

Step 24:The completed quilt with facing in place. The facing fabric is not visible on the front.

Step 24:The completed quilt with facing in place. The facing fabric is not visible on the front.

In closing I want to acknowledge the fact that I am not the one who invented this technique. It has been around for many years. I want to thank Elizabeth Busch of Bangor, Main for sharing this technique in a class I took with her in 2005.

Also, some quilter will use a facing with mitered corners. I have tried this technique myself, but favor to use the above steps. I find I have better control of creating square corners. Best of luck! Let me know if it works for you! Happy finishing…

This entry was published on August 5, 2013 at 6:30 am. It’s filed under Creativity Update, Design, Exhibition, Journaling, Special Project, Studio / Workshop / Creative Space Challenge and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

20 thoughts on “Tutorial: How to Apply Facing to a Quilt

  1. Pingback: Inspiration Kantha is shipping! Bonus Tutorial for those who ordered the book: | Anna Hergert, Art & Design

  2. Thanks so much for sharing this method with us. it works very well & the directions/photos are easily understood. I love how the corners have such reduced bulk & lay so flat. Thanks Anna

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  3. Pingback: Kicking “it” up a notch… | Anna Hergert, Art & Design

  4. Thanks, Anna, for this post. It is quite timely for me as I get nearer to finishing my latest project. I will definitely be bookmarking this!

    Like

  5. Bush Eastep on said:

    Thanks, Anna! This is really clear. I’ll definitely keep this for future reference.

    Like

  6. After you have completed a facing
    Another hint – if your edge is still bulky – from the back: using a press cloth hold your steam iron over the area to infuse steam into the fabric layers. Place books on the quilt edge and leave over night. Allow to dry. This is similar to blocking a sweater to shape it.

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    • Thanks, Vivian. Good suggestion – but it most likely will not be necessary with the way I trim my edges. After eight years of using the technique demonstrated in this tutorial I have never had to block the edges.

      Like

  7. debby on said:

    This is really helpful. I learned how to make a facing, and I like the way it looks, but I always had a problem with the bulk at the seam and at the corners. This takes care of that problem! Thanks!

    Like

  8. Wendy Findlay on said:

    Great tutorial Anna now I know to trim some of the excess fabric the next time I try this!

    Like

  9. Linda Dirkson on said:

    This is so helpful Anna. Will definitely be bookmarked.

    Like

  10. Fabulous, clear
    explanation! Thanks so much for taking the time to photograph step by step!

    Like

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