Friday, November 17, 2017

How Do You Finish The Edges?

    So, you've just finished the front and back of one of your works... Now you have to decide what to do with the edges to give it a finished look. Do you sew on a binding, a facing, do a pillowcase finish, or leave the edges raw? The answer should depend on the theme of the piece and the style of it. In the beginning, I used to put traditional bindings on my art quilts because I thought it was required. As I look back on them, I think it was a good choice for most of them because of the way I quilted them. They needed the "frame" around them to complete them.
Water Cycles
Then, later on, I started monoprinting my fabrics with paint. That gave a different look to my work, and a framed edge wouldn't look good. They needed a clean edge. So I sewed on a pillowcase backing to these after most of the quilting was done. Then I did a little more quilting through to the backing to secure it.
Beach Walk
     Lately, I've been dyeing my fabrics and doing hand stitches for the quilting. These pieces are fused to ecofelt before I do the stitching. I was going to sew a facing to these, but decided to leave the edges raw instead. The felt backing causes them to hang very straight and the style lends itself to a raw edge. But to give it a finished look, I hand stitch a running stitch around the edge 1/4" to 1/2" from the edge. Since I had running stitches here and there on the front, and stitched it so the stitches were interrupted with spaces periodically, I did the same to the edge. I could have machine stitched the edge, but I wanted the stitches to be the same on the edges as they are throughout the front. Also, I changed thread color as I went around the edge to match the color of the fabric so that the edge stitching blends in rather than standing out. On other pieces in the future, perhaps I'll use a contrasting thread color depending on the look I want.
Taking Root
     To prevent the cloth on the edges from fraying in the future, I dipped a 1/4" flat brush in matte medium and ran it around the edges. 

close-up of one corner
     I've also made some small (5x7) collages and decided to mount these on 8x10 canvasses in order to make them look more like art than little craftsy things. To do that, I finished the edges first with stitching as I did on the larger pieces, put matte medium around the edge to prevent fraying, and fused them with Misty Fuse to canvases that I had wrapped in black linen. 

Little Transformation1
Little Transformation2
     On the back, I glued ecofelt with a label attached, hammered in upholstery tacks, applied hanging wire, and covered the ends of the wire with tape.

back of a collage
side view of a collage
It really does take a while for me to finish off the pieces, but it's worth it to give a more professional look to them.  And, I'm really loving several products for this... EcoFeltMisty Fuse, and Embroidery floss. I'm linking this to Off The Wall Friday where you can find other art quilt blogs. Please make comments on their posts so that they know you stopped by. Thanks for visiting.


  1. Excellent ideas, Regina. Loved this blog post.

  2. Perfect solution, Regina. These look terrific.

    1. Thanks, Norma. I’m glad it’s working because I usually dislike sewing the finishing touches, but enjoy hand stitching.

  3. These are all lovely and you've selected a great presentation. I'm going to try fusing my piece to the wrapped canvas next time instead of the way I'm attaching them currently. I've been centering my piece on the fabric prior to wrapping, and attaching the edges with invisible thread. (machine stitched). This method looks like it'll offer more accurate placement on the canvas. Thank you for this great post!

    1. I was given a demonstration on how to do it by Jane Dunnewold and she suggested not putting the artwork on the fabric before wrapping it to the canvas. It’s easier to center it when the canvas is already wrapped with your background fabric.

  4. I like your suggestion about using matte medium to keep the edges from fraying. I have used wrapped canvas before but wrapped the entire piece around it and have toyed with the idea of attaching a smaller piece to a larger wrapped canvas but had not thought about fusing it. Your pieces look great against the black fabric.

    1. Be careful in applying the matte medium to the edges. It can leave a mark on the fabric. I use a very small flat brush and barely touch the edges. Jane Dunnewold has a great video tutorial on her website on how to fuse with Misty Fuse so that the pieces won’t separate over time.

  5. Love these Regina. Can't wait to see them in February.

  6. Replies
    1. Thanks. I'm trying to get more edgy with my works. Pun intended.


Your comment is appreciated and will be posted after it is approved.