You could make this type of classic bound blanket with any combination of fabrics, but what makes ours so gorgeous is the classic Pendleton wool and the surprise texture of its coordinated corduroy binding. The beautiful jacquard weave of Pendleton wool makes their fabric striking from both the front and the back. This project was chosen to be part of our Beautiful Binding week because it is a truly beautiful example of heavy binding with mitered corners. By taking the time to do a precision job of cutting, wrapping and stitching, you end up with a finished blanket that looks amazing from either side.
We are supremely lucky to live in 'Pendleton Land' where we have local access to their Woolen Mill store. If you ever have a chance to visit Portland, this shop is a must-stop for all fabric lovers. For those of you who are a bit more far-flung, Pendleton has an ebay store.
Sewing Tools You Need
- Any Sewing Machine (we recommend the Janome Horizon 7700QCP)
Fabric and Other Supplies
- For the blanket: 1 large square of soft wool: we used a 65" x 65" square of Pendleton medium weight wool in the Chipara design
- For the binding: 1 yard of medium wale corduroy in a coordinating solid color: we used Sew Classic Corduroy 8 Wale in Turquoise
NOTE: Corduroy's wale count per inch can vary from 1.5 (wide) to 21 (super skinny) with the standard falling between 10 and 12. So our 8 Wale was a chubby medium.
- All purpose thread to match the binding
- Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
- Straight pins
- See-through ruler
- T-square (optional)
- Hand sewing needle
- Iron and ironing board
- Make sure your main wool square is truly square. You will not be able to make a clean mitered corner unless your raw edge corners are sharp and true. Measure and trim with a ruler and t-square. If you're new to squaring-up your fabric, our Quilting Basics tutorial has a good set of illustrated steps.
- Confirm the final measurement of your square. Ours measured 65" x 65", which means a perimeter of 260" (65 x 4).
- If the perimeter is 260" we need that amount of binding, plus a few extra inches to account for seaming together our binding strips and overlapping at the final end point. I'm going to estimate I need at least 270" of binding.
- My corduroy fabric is 44" wide and I want the wale of the corduroy to run vertically - perpendicular to the edge. If I cut each binding strip the full width of the fabric, I'll need to cut 7 strips (270 ÷ 44 = 6.14 ... always round up).
- Our finished binding was designed to be 1" wide. This was completely our design choice. You could certainly go for a wider binding; I wouldn't recommend a narrower binding for this large of a blanket. I need 1" on either side (front and back of the blanket), which means 2" and the binding in doubled to create its clean folded edge (2 x 2), so I need to start with 4".
- Set down your math paper and pencil, and pick up your scissors or rotary cutter and mat. Cut 7 strips of corduroy 4" x 44". Be VERY careful your strips are straight and even. It's critical the wale runs straight up and down all along the binding. Working with corduroy is just like working with a striped fabric. You have to be ultra diligent about keeping your lines in line!
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
Create the binding
- Collect all your binding strips and seam them together end to end to create one long, continuous strip.
- To do this, you match right sides together along the 4" sides and stitch, using a ½" seam allowance. To make your seams nearly invisible, line up the two pieces so you can 'stitch in the ditch' - in between the wales.
NOTE: Remember to make SURE the nap of the corduroy is going in the same direction from piece to piece. Otherwise there will be noticeable color variations between each section.
- Press all your seams open.
- Fold the biding in half, length wise, wrong sides together and press.
- Open up your strip wrong side towards you. Fold each side towards the center crease and press.
- Fold again along your first crease, right sides together, so your two folded edges are together. Press.
Attach the binding and miter the corners
- Always start in the middle of one side and work from the right side of your fabric.
- Lay out the wool square right side up.
- Unfold the binding and position it right side down along the edge of the fabric, lining up the raw edges. I like to position my binding just a tiny bit below the raw edge of my fabric. I think it makes a cleaner edge.
- Stitch the binding to the wool, following the fold of the binding. You are stitching right in the fold line, which makes it real easy to follow and keep your stitching straight.
- Stop stitching approximately ¼" from the corner. Back-tack or lock stitch to secure your seam.
- Remove your project from the machine and clip your threads, but do not cut the binding.
- Fold the binding straight up to create a 45˚ angle at the corner.
- Then, fold binding back down (over the top of the first fold) to make a 90˚ angle at the corner. Make sure your edges are lined up. Pin in place from this angled corner to the next corner.
- Stitch in the fold from the corner point to the next corner. To find the exact corner starting point you can measure from the side edge of the binding to your fold line. Then, measure this same amount from the top edge. Start in the fold at this point.
- Repeat these same steps at all other corners.
- When you're done and have made it back around to where you started, remove your project from your machine and clip all threads.
- Fold your binding up and flip your project over. You'll see that a mitered corner forms automatically on the front side, but you'll need to futz with things a bit on the back. I'm not sure if "futz" is an official sewing term, but it describes what you have to do to work with your corners, which will kind of curve out due to the pleat you made on the other side. Also, you're working with corduroy and wool – both bulky fabrics, this increases the "futzing level" to a 7 or 8 out of a possible 10.
- Fold down the corner so it creates a diagonal line across the edge of your fabric's corner.
- Fold in the left side to create a 45˚ point.
- Fold in the right side to create a matching 45˚ point.
- Press well. Pin everything in place. To be extra safe, you could hand baste everything in place.
- When you get back around to your starting point, trim off any extra binding so you have just about an inch to work with.
- Fold under the edge of this loose end to create a clean edge and wrap around the ends. Overlap about ½" and pin in place, matching your bottom edges.
- Flip your blanket back over to the front.
- Adjust your stitch length to a long stitch. This helps you stitch smoothly and evenly over the wale of the corduroy and keep your seam straight and lovely. We used a stitch length of 4, which is just shy of a basting length stitch.
- Edgestitch around the entire blanket, removing pins as you go.
- Thread your hand sewing needle with matching thread and slip stitch the front and back angles of the mitered corners.
- If you are new to binding, take a look at our Step-by-Step Binding tutorial.
Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation & Instructional Editing: Jacqueline Smerek
Other machines suitable for this project include the Singer 8770 Curvy and the Elna 6600.