Quilting Tips: Binding

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Here’s another excerpt from our Quiltmaking Basics. Once you’ve basted together and quilted the 3 layers of your quilt (backing, batting, and pieced top), you’re ready to finish it with binding.

After the quilting is completed, trim excess batting and backing from the quilt even with the edges of the quilt top.

Double Fold Straight Grain Binding

If you want a 1/4″ finished binding, cut the binding strips 2″ wide and piece them together with diagonal seams to make a continuous binding strip. Trim the seam allowance to 1/4″. Press the seams open.

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Sew from corner to corner.

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Completed diagonal seam

Press the entire strip in half lengthwise with wrong sides together. With raw edges even, pin the binding to the front edge of the quilt a few inches away from the corner, and leave the first few inches of the binding unattached. Start sewing with a backstitch, using a 1/4″ seam allowance.

Stop 1/4″ away from the first corner (see Step 1), backstitch one stitch. Lift the presser foot and needle. Rotate the quilt one-quarter turn. Fold the binding at a right angle so it extends straight above the quilt and the fold forms a 45° angle in the corner (see Step 2). Then bring the binding strip down even with the edge of the quilt (see Step 3). Begin sewing at the folded edge. Repeat in the same manner at all corners.

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Step 1. Stitch to 1/4˝ from corner.

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Step 2. First fold for miter

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Step 3. Second fold alignment

Continue stitching until you are back near the beginning of the binding strip. See Finishing the Binding Ends for
tips on finishing and hiding the raw edges of the ends of the binding.

Continuous Bias Binding

Continuous bias binding involves using a square sliced in half diagonally and then sewing the resulting triangles together. You then mark strips, sew again to make a tube, and cut to make a continuous binding strip of the desired length. The same instructions can be used to cut bias for piping.

Cut the fabric for the bias binding or piping so it is a square. For example, if yardage is 1/2 yard, cut an 18˝ x 18˝ square. Cut the square in half diagonally, creating two triangles.

Sew these triangles together as shown, using a 1/4″ seam allowance. Press the seam open.

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Sew triangles together.

Using a ruler, mark the parallelogram created by the 2 triangles with lines spaced the width you need to cut your bias. Cut about 5″ along the first line.

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Mark lines and begin cut.

Join Side 1 and Side 2 to form a tube. The raw edge at line A will align with the raw edge at B. This will allow the first line to be offset by one strip width. Pin the raw edges right sides together, making sure that the lines match. Sew with a 1/4″ seam allowance. Press the seam open. Cut along the drawn lines, creating one continuous strip.

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Cut along drawn lines.

Press the entire strip in half lengthwise with wrong sides together. Place binding on quilt and sew as described in Double Fold Straight Grain Binding section.

See Finishing the Binding Ends for tips on finishing and the hiding the raw edges of the ends of the binding.

Finishing the Binding Ends

Method 1:

After stitching around the quilt, fold under the beginning tail of the binding strip 1/4″ so that the raw edge will be inside the binding after it is turned to the backside of the quilt. Place the end tail of the binding strip over the beginning folded end. Continue to attach the binding stitching slightly beyond the starting stitches and backstitch. Trim the excess binding. Fold the binding over the raw edges to the quilt back and hand stitch, mitering the corners.

Method 2:

(Please refer to Completing a Binding with an Invisible Seam.)

Fold the ending tail of the binding back on itself where it meets the beginning binding tail. From the fold, measure and mark the cut width of your binding strip. Cut the ending binding tail to this measurement. For example, if your binding is cut 2 1/8″˝ wide, measure from the fold on the ending tail of the binding 2 1/8″ and cut the binding tail to this length.

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Cut binding tail.

Open both tails. Place one tail on top of the other tail at right angles, right sides together. Mark a diagonal line from corner to corner and stitch on the line. Check that you’ve done it correctly and that the binding fits the quilt, then trim the seam allowance to 1/4″. Press open.

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Stitch ends of binding diagonally.

Refold the binding and stitch this binding section in place on the quilt. Fold the binding over the raw edges to the quilt back and hand stitch.

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7 Comments

  1. Posted April 21, 2013 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

    amazing idea thank you for sharing

  2. Posted May 29, 2012 at 9:30 pm | Permalink

    Youre so cool! I dont suppose Ive read anything like this before.
    So nice to seek out somebody with some original thoughts on this subject.
    realy thank you for starting this up. this website is something which can be needed via internet, someone with a little originality.
    useful job for bringing something new to
    the internet!

  3. joy wilson
    Posted December 16, 2011 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

    this has helped a great deal, i am finishing a quilt now and this has helped, thank you joy

  4. Barbara Angles
    Posted August 20, 2011 at 5:50 am | Permalink

    THanks you so much for the tute for the continuous binding. Very clear and easy to follow.

  5. Carol D
    Posted February 22, 2011 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

    Thank you so much, these instructions for binding are the best. My tablecloth turned out so nice.

  6. Posted October 10, 2010 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

    love carol doak mini paper piecing patterns for the note cards. what a great way to send a note to a friend. it is like a mini painting, many will be put in frames to make the feeling last. thanks so much!

  7. Charlene H
    Posted July 16, 2009 at 10:34 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for sharing this. I really love the step by step instructions and great illistrations.

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