A Basic Binding

The first thing you need for you binding is 4″ strips.  When I cut my strips, I make my cuts across the width of the fabric (folded in half to make it easier to cut across).  Since the standard width of fabric on the bolt is 45″ wide, each strip is 4 x 45″.  If you measure around the outside of your quilt or table runner, you should be able to calculate about how many strips you will need.

The next step is to sew all the strips into one giant strip.  This is easily accomplished by sewing each strip together end-to-end.  The recommended seam allowance is flexible since there may be a selvage to deal with.

Make one of the ends your “starting” end. Fold it in 1/2″ and press it with the iron to give it a nice finished edge.

Fold the strip in half lengthwise and iron it flat.

I hope you have ironed the seams open and flat

Once the entire strip is ironed in half, take the starting end and line up its raw edge with the quilt’s raw edge. Lower the presser foot to start 1″ down from the top of the strip.  Stitch down using 1/2″ seam allowance.

Keep going until you are 1/2″ away from the end of that side.

Once you have reach that point, lift the presser foot and pull the quilt from the sewing machine. Clip the threads.

We are going to make a lovely mitered edge by performing a pivot

Fold the strip up ninety degrees.

Fold the strip back down onto itself to run down the side of the quilt.

But we need to know where to resume our stitching!  This can be done by peeking back on the other side of the flap and marking it with a pin.

Carefully place it back under the machine so that the needle will begin to fall where you have marked.  (This should correspond with the 1/2″ seam allowance.)  Keep stitching, repeating this pivot step at all corners.  As you approach the starting end, there should be strip overlap.

Remember how we started stitching 1″ down from the top of the strip in the beginning?  This is so we can hide the end-strip inside of it for tidy, continuous binding.  First, trim the end-piece so that it will fit inside the starting-end.

Open the starting-end and lay the end-piece inside.

Resume stitching down until it meets with the beginning stitches.

You’re almost done!  Now you are going to wrap it over the edge to the other side.

Turn the quilt over and pin the binding in place on the other side.

When you get to the corner, keep flattening the fabric in its straight line until it comes to a point over the edge

Pick it up at the point and fold it in.  Pin the mitered corner in place.

Now, a word of caution.  Absolutely DO NOT top-stitch the binding in place using your sewing machine.  It will look terrible and you will want to spend hours picking out the stitches.  Trust me on this one.  Instead, grab a needle and thread.  I like to loop it through so I have a double thread.  Tie a knot at the end.

[I hope you don’t mind if I use pics of another quilt for this stitching demonstration…]  To do a blind stitch, all you are going to do is insert the needle in through the back/batting and bring it up through the edge of the binding.  (I’ve noticed that some quilters use a ladder stitch to sew the binding on, but I prefer this method.)

Repeat, making sure you insert the needle directly below where the thread came through the binding previously.  Repeat this all the way around the quilt.

When you have reached the beginning (or run out of thread), insert the needle into the back/batting and straight up into the binding (near where the thread came through previously). 

Pull the thread through almost all of the way, leave a little loop.  Put your needle through the loop and pull.

Clip the thread.  This gives you a beautiful binding every time.

1 Comment

  1. Cheryl

    March 14, 2011 at 6:15 am

    hands down the best binding tutorial ever! you have taken the time to now only write it out, but show each visual of what you are explaining. Love it!

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