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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
(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.
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.
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.