Binding your quilt!

As promised, a tutorial on how to bind your quilt…. as I was writing this, I realised I have already done a tutorial on binding!! duh! But it is for a different mitred corner technique - oh, well, to save you going back through the archives, here is another of a basic binding… hope it gives you confidence to finish all of those tops sitting in the cupboard – and as I said a couple of weeks ago, and many agreed – the binding process is a great part of making a quilt from your very own hands.

so here goes – my method – I am sure there are many more out there so take it or leave it!

Okay, first we need to cut our strips – what size to cut?

Work out what size you want your finished binding to be – the standard and most popular is 1/2” but I sometimes like to do a wide binding so its like an extra border to frame the quilt – whatever size you prefer the maths to calculate your cut strips is:

4 times the finished width plus 1/2”

So for a 1/2” finished binding you would cut strips 2 1/2” ( 4 x 1/2 + 1/2)

Lay all of your strips on top of each other and cut each end at a 45 degree angle – most of you would have a 45 degree line on your ruler – line that up along the edge of your strip and cut those little triangles off the ends.

P1080622 P1080623

No place two strips right sides together – see how they sit at 90 degrees to each other with the cut edge even. Stitch a 1/4” seam.

P1080624

when you open out the two strips they lay flat – magic! Join them all together to make one long strip.

P1080625

Press the seams – I press them closed but some like to press these seams open to reduce bulk, then press the whole strip in half along the length wrong sides together.

P1080626

Now to our quilt – now notice I have not yet trimmed back the backing fabric and batting to the edge of my quilt – this is important – I had trimmed then I would have nothing left to fill up the inside of my binding with and it would be thin and floppy – and a big no no if it is intended for exhibition – but even if not – it doesn’t make for a strong binding and the binding takes the most wear and tear on a quilt. So leave it all there for a bit longer.

P1080627

Begin on one side of your quilt top and leave a tail of about 10 inches (25cm).

P1080628

The raw edge of the binding should sit flush with the raw edge of your quilt top – make sure the backing fabric is laying out flat to the side underneath and not tucked under. Use a walking foot for this step – it passes the three layers through the machine much more evenly. We use a 1/4” seam allowance and begin with a backtack to secure. My foot has a small line on the front of the silver bits to mark my 1/4” line.

P1080629

Stitch along until you are about 5” from the end of your first side. Mark a spot 1/4” inside the edge of your quilt top.

P1080630

Stitch to this point and then backtack.

P1080631

Lift the needle and presser foot.

P1080632

Fold the binding strip to the right at a 45 degree angle – if you placed your ruler along the bottom edge of your quit top the binding should bit sitting straight on that edge also.

P1080633

then fold it back on itself with the fold exactly sitting on the edge of the side of the quilt top.

P1080634

turn the whole quilt around and begin stitching in the new direction – start off the quilt and plough right on down the new side using the 1/4” seam.

P1080635

Repeat this for all four corners and stop when you reach about 20” from your start point.

P1080636

remove the quilt from the machine and lay the two ends on top of each other.

Mark where one end overlaps the other. Draw right along the diagonal edge of the top strip. Measure 1/2” longer than this point and trim off that end to the marked line – note: it should be on a 45 degree angle.

P1080637

Turn the two ends right sides together with those diagonal edges together like when we joined all of our strips in the beginning. Pin and stitch. (yes it can be a bit fiddly, especially if you didn’t leave a long enough tail when you started)

P1080638P1080639

finger press the seam and fold closed the binding. P1080640

lay down onto your quilt top and complete the stitching.P1080641                

P1080642

So, now we can trim out backing and batting. If you made a 1/2” finished binding we need to trim back to 1/2” from the stitching line. Lay your ruler along the edge of the quilt with the 1/2” line on your ruler on the stitch line. Use your rotary cutter to trim around all edges of the quilt.

P1080643

P1080644

P1080645

We then take the binding over to the back of the quilt and I use normal pins to pin around the whole quilt (as for as many pins as you have)

P1080673

P1080674

I then stitch the binding down using a matching thread to the binding strip and a blind hem stitch removing the pins as  I go.P1080676

P1080677

At each corner fold the binding so that a mitred corner forms and place a few stitches down the mitre on the front and the back.

  P1080675      

If you look at the other binding tutorial I have done (click on the link on the right) you will see a method particularly good for wider bindings which sews the mitres for you as you go.

Just one final note: a lot of quilters like to cut their binding strips a little smaller at 2 1/4” so they have a nice tight binding – if you cut after you stitch I really don’t think it makes much difference as your binding should still be nice and full – but just thought I’d let you know it is quite commonly done and would be fine to do if you were short on fabric.

I hope this may have helped even just a bit to maybe even one person – I will put it over under the tutorial page also for future reference.

happy binding – now show me all those finished quilts!

hugs, Helen

Tags: howto tutorial
A Quick Gift
When a 7-year-old says, at 5pm,  ‘mum can you make me a present for my teachers birthday tomorrow pleeeeease’ one needs to be inventive with what...
first timer
wow, well, should be working but thought i'd finally play and set up a blog.... will take some time in my 'spare time' to get it looking pretty so for...
Author
Written by Helen Stubbings, designer,  teacher, quilter, author, mum and mad stitcher.
read more ⟶
Leave a comment