Saturday, August 3, 2019

My Own Personal Challenge

Our guild had Nationally known quilter Susan Cleveland a few months back to present a lecture and workshop. I loved all the techniques she showed us and wrote an extensive blog on it. I decided I wanted to try some of the cute tricks she used on her quilts and make a smaller version for myself.. Although her style is so different from mine, I can see myself using many of her techniques altered to suit my tastes.
This was to be a VERY small piece - just a learning piece. I wanted a pieced background with a little bit of interest which I added with some stamps. Once I had the background, it was onto trying some of the fun techniques.
First up, was the piping - one of the things I loved the most was the very teeny, tiny piping she used. I have always been a fan of piping, have used it for years in both quilts and clothing construction. I've also always made my own rather than use the limited colors and coarse quality fabric of store bought...BUT nothing this thin. I love it. I have it laying between a pencil and a large sewing needle to give you an idea of how thin it is.

I thought it might be a little tedious to make because it is so thin but's really quite easy. First,  cut a strip of fabric the length of what you need + 2 ", cut the width @ 1 1/4" wide. This does not have to be perfect. Wrap the strip around the piping so lengthwise edges on both sides match up. Sew as close as you can to the piping without actually stitching on it; most people find a zipper foot to work well. If you have a BERNINA, a #3 foot works like a charm. You can enclose the piping, lay it so it fits into one of the grooves on underneath side, with the side to be sewn to fall under the needle.

Here's Sue's  handy little tool - Piping Hot Binding for cutting the piping evenly and making the placement of it on the edge the perfect distance at every point. The tool has a groove which holds the piping, the excess fabric hangs out beyond the edge and is cut with a rotary cutter. You have your choice of 1/4" seam allowance or 1/2" as you can see if you look carefully at the tool. I've always trimmed my own piping and thought "Why do I need this"....well think again, this simple little tool is wonderful, a time saver and makes such a professional piping. I love piping and will be using this lots and lots.
 You can see how much the piping adds to the above seam.
This was not one of Susan's tricks but I happen to love machine buttonhole stitching and thought this piece lent itself well to it. I must add that I used a size 12 cotton thread and a topstitch needle # 100/16. Top stitching needles have the largest eye and will handle more thicker threads.
The other thing Susan cleverly uses is the Prairie point. I've also used many of them and think they are so neat but Susan uses more than one fabric, adds stitching and other doo-dads here is my version. I was fresh out of "doo-dads" but think they look cute anyway. I mentioned before you can also hand stitch with this heavier thread (below) which I also love to do. I bought some of Susan's thread and realized when I got home I had quite a bit from Sulky who also makes a very nice #12 cotton thread (both on right)
My friend Marene, took up the challenge with me to make a small piece using the very tiny binding....and revealed it at our meeting yesterday. It was a nice surpise as much time had gone by and thought she might have forgotten. Mareen's is on the left.

And here's mine.........I will probably not use it for anything but it will serve as a nice reference and also a nice day of memories with Susan. 


  1. Well, look at you! How cute is this!!!! I took a class from Susan SEVERAL years ago...she was great and seeing how she used the piping was so interesting...did she have a book?? Do I have that book??? Hmmmmmmmm I might have to look her up again! Thanks for the tutorial!!! And you did a great job!

  2. What a cute little quilt! I love your tiny piping and the thicker buttonhole stitch. This little quilt sure makes me smile. :)

  3. Your piece is lovely, and so is your friend's! Thanks for showing us how you do the tiny piping.