Binding the Dragon Princesses

dragon princess banner


This post is part of a series about sewing NotQuilts. If you’re unfamiliar with this method, The NotQuilt series begins here.

Dragon Princess has been determined since day one to thwart my will, but this time I had come thisclose (yes, “thisclose”) to dumping the project. By itself, it was a minor problem, but it was the last straw.

I did not have enough of the solid dark purple fabric to go all the way around and finish the border. The gaps are in two locations, on the left side and the bottom, each of them four inches wide.

Four inches! Times two, that is eight inches of cloth. It might as well be eight feet. If I don’t have it, I don’t have it. Such is the peril of committing yourself to using only what is in the stash: the day will come when you run out of the fabric you most need.

Time to improvise. How about the medium purple I used in the four corners? Not enough.

Back to the stash and burrow around. There’s a medium grayish purple that’s acceptable. It’s not an attractive color, but it suits the criteria. It’s a good contrast both with Dragon Princess’s pink and the dark pink butterfly fabric that will become the border. Most importantly, I have enough.

I tore, pinned, and sewed on those last two patches.

binding notquilt

The finished fashion face of Dragon Princess.

I made pretty good time on this NotQuilt. According to my notes, I started her on Nov. 14, 2016, and I’m writing this on Feb. 10, 2017. I made the fashion face in just under three months. That isn’t too bad for a piece of bedding 98 inches wide and 94 inches long. I could have sewn her faster if I had worked every day, but I did not. I could have sewn her faster if she had not been so damned difficult, but Dragon Princess was determined to frustrate me. I’m happy now just to be almost done with her.

Binding the Princess

Long ago, when I began Dragon Princess, I carefully measured the edges and tore four very long strips of the dark pink butterfly fabric to enclose the edges. They are all the same length. Now I shall find out if I measured them correctly.

I am not going to miter the corners. I never do for a utility NotQuilt and Dragon Princess has caused me more than enough aggravation. Even if I had planned on mitering the corners, I wouldn’t do it now after what she’s put me through. My hope is to get this done with a minimum of fuss.

I started on the bottom, sewing the narrower side of the binding to the back and then pinning and sewing the front side. The binding strip is long enough, with about six inches to spare. Because this is the first strip sewn, all of its raw edges will be enclosed by the subsequent strips. Will that six inches of overage be enough? I deliberately laid out Dragon Princess to be wider than tall, so I assume this will be enough to let me enclose the raw edges when I bind off the top.

Because I plan on squaring my binding at the corners, I am working my way to the top. That is, I bound off the bottom and each of its two raw edges will be enclosed by the side binding strips. I pinned and sewed one side (not sure which one) and where this binding overlaps the bottom strip, I will fold in the raw edges so nothing is exposed. I will do the same with the second side. Then, when I reach the top, where any mistakes will show, particularly in not measuring the binding strip long enough to enclose both ends, I will lay out the binding to cover both ends.

This should leave me with a straight-across seam at the topmost right corner and the topmost left corner and a vertical seam at the bottom-most left corner and the bottom-most right corner.

If I measured right, the last strip, once pinned and sewn, will complete Dragon Princess. I am dreading this point, as I write this, because I am not sure if the binding strip will prove long enough. If I have to piece it, that seam will show, but what can I do? I don’t have enough fabric left to tear another piece 106 inches long. This is the problem with trying to measure precisely so as to not waste cloth. Two extra inches might be wasted as then I end up with some odd bits of scrap left over, but two extra inches on each of the binding strips right now would certainly make me feel more secure.

This is what they mean with penny wise, pound foolish.