CQ Engineering Part 2: The French Facing Technique

Allison Aller 2007

Home - Articles  - Readers' Showcase  - Search-
In the April 2007 issue of CQMagOnline, http://www.cqmagonline.com/vol06iss02/articles/697/index.shtml, I wrote about one way to assemble your crazy quilt with batting, a false backing, and a "dressy" back. In this issue I offer an alternative technique for finishing the edges of your crazy quilt. Instead of using a binding as in traditional "sane" quilting, the French Facing will give you a nice finished edge.

I like to use a very thin fabric for my facing to reduce bulk. Silk suit lining fabric is a good choice.

Here are the step by step pictures I took while using this technique:

In preparation for applying my facing, first I stitch right along the edge of my quilt where I will be trimming my border. This keeps all the layers of the quilt together, and will prevent the velvet from shifting when I sew on the facing.
Trimming the edge.
You will need to cut four squares for facing the corners. Here is one of the four corner facing units being cut. The squares can be any size you want, but they should all be the same size. The smaller the square, the more narrow the facing will be on the back of the quilt.
Fold each square in half along the diagonal and press. You will also be cutting four strips, one each the length of the side of the quilt it will face. Cut them twice the width of your finished facing, plus seam allowance. Fold each strip in half lengthwise as shown, and press.
On the front side of the quilt, pin each corner as shown, lining up the edges of the squares and the corners of the quilt. You can machine baste around the corner, very close to the edge of the quilt (in the seam allowance), if you wish.
Pin strips into place as shown, over the square with ends overlapping. Do not carry the strips all the way to the edge, however. Leave a small gap.
Sew around the perimeter of the entire quilt. This picture shows what one of the corners looks like after it has been sewn and trimmed.
Turn everything to the back, tucking the side pieces under the corner piece. Iron and pin all into place, as shown.
Whipstitch all into place. This picture shows that I could have made my corner triangles a little larger. A quilt judge at a competition might think I should have!...but as a functional facing this works just fine.
This is how that corner looks from the front of the quilt. My velvet border acts as the quilt's visual frame; I thought a traditional binding would be a superfluous design element here. This is a nice clean edge!
As a final thought, I show this example so you can see that you can make these facings as wide as you want to. On this quilt I made mine extra wide, as my fancy back fabric just wasn't wide enough to cover the entire back of the quilt; I didn't want any seam in it, as the seam in that silk taffeta would be very noticeable. So your French Facing can solve some technical situations, too.

For an alternative quilt facing technique, Kathleen Loomis has an excellent article in the Projects 2007 issue of American Quilter Magazine.

Home - Articles  - Readers' Showcase  - Search-

Copyright 2002 - 2011, All Rights Reserved
Editor: Published by: Pretty Impressive Stuff