Finishing a Quilt with a Facing – Tutorial from Susan Brubaker Knapp – Quilting Daily

Of all the ways of finishing a quilt, creating a facing will give an art quilt the most contemporary, clean look, says Susan Brubaker Knapp.

Butterfly quilt by Susan Brubaker Knapp. Facing gives
the quilt a more contemporary finish than a quilt binding.

Susan, who admits to actually enjoying the quilt finishing process, also thinks facing-rather than binding-a quilt makes it look less like a quilt and more like a piece of art.

Facing is certainly no more work than attaching a binding. Susan shows you how to do it and offers tricks for getting a polished finish in her new Quilting Arts WorkshopTM video, Fabulous Finishes: Seven Techniques for Binding, Facing, Framing, & Hanging a Quilt.

Here are Susan’s basic steps to finish a quilt with a facing.

1. Measure the top and bottom of your quilt and cut 2 pieces of fabric the length of that measurement plus 2″.

2. Place the top and bottom facing pieces on the front of your quilt and measure the distance between the facing pieces, plus 2″. Cut 2 side facing pieces to this length.

3. Turn over the strips ¼” and press.

finishing a quilt measuring side strips
Above: Measure your side facing strips so they overlap
the top and bottom strips by about 1″ on each end.
finishing a quilt with facing hand stitching
Pin the facing, then sew a running stitch around
the outer perimeter, making sure not to stitch into
the front of the quilt.
finishing a quilt completed
The the back side, showing the completed
quilt finishing technique.

4. With right sides together and the raw edge flush with the edge of the quilt, place your top strip. Start from one 2″ side of the facing, backstitch, and then stitch down to ¼” from the end of the quilt. Pivot, stitch along the length of the top ¼” from the other end, pivot, and stitch down the other 2″ side, and backstitch. Use a ¼” seam allowance and a walking foot to keep the fabric from slipping. Stitch the opposite end of the quilt facing the same way.

5. Place your first side strip along one side of the quilt, allowing the ends to overlap the top and bottom facing by the same amount on each end. Using a ¼” seam allowance and the walking foot, back stitch and then stitch down the entire length of the side facing, backstitching at the end. Repeat on the other side.

6. Staystitch along the sides of the facing fabric, 1/8″ from the seam, backstitching at each end. This will help keep the finished edge clean and lying flat. Repeat with the top and bottom facings, nudging your presser foot into the corner as far as you can (you will not be able to get all the way into the corner).

7. Trim the corners and turn the piece, using a blunt tool to poke out the corners.

8. Press, making sure the front edges of the quilt roll slightly to the back, so that none of the facing shows on the front. Pin the facing in place to keep it flat for the next step.

9. With a needle and thread that matches your facing fabric, make a running stitch about ¼” from the edge of the quilt. Make sure you stitch through the facing and backing fabrics, but not through to the front of the quilt. When you have finished, hand stitch the turned-under edges of the facing to the back of the quilt with a fell stitch.

Finish it off with a quilt label and quilt sleeve.

Susan makes it so easy to follow her directions for finishing a quilt, whether you want to learn quilt binding techniques, how to make a quilt hanging sleeve, or how to frame a quilt. Plus, her hints and tips are invaluable. Fabulous Finishes is, truly, fabulous.

P.S. What’s your favorite way of finishing a quilt? Leave your answer below.

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