Facing a Quilt

19 03 2008

Tonight was color class and I haven’t discussed this month’s project yet.  I’m afraid the further along we get in class the lazier I get.  While I was at my sister’s house, I went “shopping” in her stash.  (She says I stole it, but I plan to return the finished quilt to her.)  I didn’t come up with my own design this month.  I used the BQ2 pattern from Maple Island Quilts.  However, rather than the 18 inch block in the pattern, I reduced my blocks to 7 inches.  I wanted to do 6 inch blocks, but the measurements got really wacky at that size.  Our assignment was to do a triad — three colors equidistant on the color wheel.  I was thinking I was doing violet, orange and green, but can make a much stronger argument for blue violet, red orange and yellow green.

If you have been following my journey in color class, you know I try to do something new to me on each project.  I had never faced a quilt and thought this was the perfect opportunity to achieve a more contemporary look.  I know I have read articles on facing a quilt and I have even seen a write up on someone’s blog, but I decided to just do it my way without any instructions.  I approached it the same way I would face a garment.

First I squared up the quilt and trimmed the batting and backing flush with the top of the quilt.


Next I cut four facing strips.  I happened to cut them 2-1/4″ wide, but they could be any measurement you wanted.  I pressed under one long edge of each strip 1/4″.


Then I measured the quilt’s width and height somewhere near the center, exactly as if I were going to measure for a border.


I used the measurement from the quilt and measured that same length on the facing strip.  I marked the ends of that measurement with pins, leaving tails on both ends.


Start and end the stitching 1/4″ from the edge of the quilt using a 1/4″ seam allowance.


Apply all four sides exactly the same way.  Press the facings away from the quilt.


Fold the corner of the quilt at a 45 degree angle and place the facing strips right sides together.  Mark a 45 degree line from the end of the stitching to the pressed edge of the facing.  This line will  go the opposite direction from what it would for a border.  The line and the fold of the quilt should create a 90 degree angle.  Stitch on this line, back stitching a stitch or two at the beginning and end of the seam.


Trim the tails of the facing so you have approximately a 1/4″ seam allowance.   Press the seam allowance open.  Trim the corner very close to the stitching to remove excess bulk.


Repeat this step for all four corners.  The quilt will now look like this.


Open out the facing and understitch through the facing and the seam allowance.  This stitching is about 1/8″ from the seam.  You will not be able to get all the way to the corners, just get as close as you can.  Understitching is used in garment construction to help facings turn to the wrong side.


This is how the stitching looks on the facing.


Turn the facing to the back side of the quilt.  You may need to use a point turner for the corners.  Press so the facing does not show on the front of the quilt.  This picture shows the facing turned to the back of the quilt prior to hand stitching it down, which would be the next step.


This is how the quilt looks from the front after facing.  (It doesn’t look much different than the trimmed quilt at the beginning of this post.)


I’m calling this quilt “Sticks and Stones” which is appropriate at this point in time.



8 responses

19 03 2008
The Sister

Where’s the label?

20 03 2008

Saw this pattern yesterday at the local quilt shop here in AZ—I am going back to get it, it really looks nice made up. See you soon!

20 03 2008

Forget about the facing, I want t say how WONDERFUL your quilting looks!!!

20 03 2008

Hi Sonya, thanks for the tutorial on facing. Loved your quilt, as usual.

21 03 2008

Response to THE SISTER

Some people are just NEVER satisfied! 🙄

15 04 2009
Maggie Burns

Thank you Sonya for your excellent instructions and photos on facing a quilt. This is exactly what I have been looking for to finish my landscape and art quilts. Maggie

4 01 2010
Lori S.

This is a great tutorial. You’re pictures are helpful and you have enough of them that I can follow this really well. Thank you for posting it!!

1 03 2011
Pamela Gregan

Nice job on tutorial. Fantastic job on quilt! Just got the same pattern and was debating about using black! Lol thx for answering that question! I look forward to more! Pamela

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