My favourite quilt facing finish

Download my My Favourite Facing Finish Tutorial (PDF)

Since I set out on my exploration of alternative quilt finishes over two years ago, I have identified and trialled a multitude of facing techniques. This tutorial represents the culmination of my research and experimentation (so far!) and is suitable for both rectangular quilts and quilts with gentle curves such as Dreamlines #1: Magic Carpet and Dreamlines #5: Allagai Waves.

Magic Carpet ©2008 Brenda Gael Smith  Allagai Waves © 2013 Brenda Gael Smith

I am indebted to Jeri Riggs for her ingenious method of dealing with bulky corners. My variation uses double-layer facing strips (for greater stability and only incremental bulk) and extra pressing steps for a knife-edge finish. Do let me know if you find any further refinements. The quest continues! (All photos are clickable.)

This technique features on Four Fantastic Quilt Finishing Techniques DVD that I presented with Quilters Companion. The DVD is sold out but you can still download the instruction sheets (the facing finish is on pages 3 and 4). Download Instructions: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5

Step 1 - Side FacingsStep 1: Side Facings

  • Cut facing strips 2 1/2in wide or desired width. Fold in half lengthwise (wrong sides together) and press.
  • Pin facing strips to the front of two opposite sides of the quilt top matching raw edges.
  • Sew facing strips with a walking foot using a 1/4in seam.

Steps 2 & 3: Memory pressing
Press side facings outwards and then over to the back of the quilt, “rolling” the seam slightly so that none of the facing is visible from the front.

Step 2 - Pressing Outward  Step 3 - Pressing Over
Step 4: Remaining Facings

  • Bring the side facings back to the front of the quilt.
  • Measure and cut shorter facing strips for top and bottom to overlap approximately 1/2in with side facing strips.
  • Pin shorter facing strips in position
  • Stitch through all layers along the full width of the quilt top with a 1/4in seam.

Step 4 - Top & Bottom Facings

Step 5: Corner Treatments

    Select preferred corner treatment (see diagram). Stitch and trim as required.

Memory press top and bottom facings in the same manner as set out in Steps 2 and 3 above.
Step 5 - Corner Treatments

Step 6: Final Flourish

  • Turn the facings to the back of the quilt taking care not to stretch them.
  • Gently poke out the corners with a cuticle stick or similar tool.
  • Carefully press corners and edges so that the facings are not visible from the front and sit flat on the back
  • Slipstitch facings in place

Step 6 - Turned Facings Step 7 Slip stitch facings on back
See my Free & Non-Binding: Alternative Quilt Finishes post for a listing of other online tutorials for alternative quilt finishes. You may also be interested in my tutorial for Binding Without Bulges.


  1. Snipping the corners worked for me TODAY when I applied a 2″ binding to a journal quilt (finished size 1/2″). This little snip trick made the process so much easier to sew bindings on, and even better….. the corners look perfect. So Brenda, thanks for your clearly detailed tutorial.
    Cheers, Pamela

  2. This is brilliant. I love the way you dealt with the corners. It seems much more efficient than the method I have been using. I will definitely try this on my very next quilt. Thank you very much for this tutorial!


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