Quilt bindings are the most magical, and sometime confusing part of quilt making, especially for a new quilter! I shared a tutorial a few years back, but have adapted and made a few changes as I’ve grown as a quilter, and thought it was enough to update the post. Any tips or suggestions you might have, I’d love to hear them in the comments!
The first change I made is I cut my strips at 2 1/4″ now, instead of 2 1/2″. I found that my bindings were feeling a little floppy, and not full, so I tried it and liked it better. It’s amazing how much a difference 1/4″ can make in the binding details.
To begin, leave 10″ -12″ of binding not stitched down, to complete later. I usually like to start in the middle of a side, or the bottom, away from a corner. Use 1/4″ seam allowance.
Another big change, I stopped taking the time to press a crease down the length of the binding. It can take forever, depending on how big your quilt is, and I’m usually binding quilts in multiples, so it takes even more time. I also like having a nice open pocket for stitching through by hand. Instead I fold the binding as I attach it to the quilt top.
To keep the binding tangles to a minimum, I wrap the binding around a 6″-6 1/2″ ruler and then wear it as a bracelet on my wrist. Be sure to pull the length out, instead of letting it unwrap and twist off the roll. An arm length will do.
I’m always stopping to adjust the mass of quilt, and it is in those moments that I fold the binding as well. Line it up, nice and straight and keep stitching. Using the needle-down position on the machine is super helpful for keeping the quilt in place, and the seam straight.
When I arrive at a corner, I stop stitching 1/4″ away from the edge of the quilt. Backstitch to secure the stitches, and cut the thread to make the miter.
I pinch the corner, so that the edges line up, and the fold lays flat.
I don’t use a lot of pins to sew the bindings, but in this space I do! I want to be sure nothing is shifting as I go back to the sewing machine.
Start stitching 1/4″ away from the edge, and back stitch to secure once more.
Cut one length of binding, so that it ends in the center of the unstitched space. I always add a pin here to keep it in place. It should be pulled flat, but not be stretched out.
Lay the second piece of binding over the top, again pulling it smooth, but not stretching the fabric. Measure the overlap, to match the width of the binding. In my case 2 1/4″.
Mark the length to cut, you can use any marking tool, I prefer to quickly crease the binding with the edge of the ruler.
Then trim away the excess.
Now release the first piece of binding, to sew the pieces together on a diagonal.
Careful not to twist the pieces (I’ve only done that once!), lay them right sides together matching the corners and edges as shown. Add a couple pins to keep things secure, then move the entire quilt to the sewing machine again.
Stitch from corner to corner, you may want to mark the center line, but it gets easier to eyeball with experience.
Remove the pins, and verify the length fits your quilt. If for any reason your binding isn’t fitting, or the line of the binding isn’t to your liking (say if you missed a corner when stitching) quickly take out your stitches and try again. It’s a forgiving process, and can take some practice.
Once you are happy with how it fits, trim away the excess binding, and press the seam allowance open.
Pin the binding in place to reduce puckers as you arrive at the starting point, and stitch in place.
Hopefully that helps! I’m planning a machine binding tutorial for next week, I hope you’ll stop back by for more then!