Let’s Talk Binding!

Let’s Talk-Tips and Tutorials

You’re finally here at the last step of quilting-binding your quilt! You need your quilt that has been trimmed, and your binding to complete this step. Binding is a long strip of fabric that goes around the outside of your quilt, sealing in all the layers of your quilt and keeping them together. Binding has a “raw edge”, which is where the fabric has been cut, and a folded edge, where it has been ironed in half. You can make your own binding or you can purchase it-which is what I did when I first got started! There are a lot of options especially on Etsy, and one of my favorite is Bessie Pearl

You begin binding by attaching the binding to the back of your quilt. Your quilt will go in to the sewing machine with the back side facing up and the raw edge of the binding right on top of the edge of your quilt. I like to start in the middle on one side so that I have some room to get my binding going before I get to the corner. When you start binding, leave a tail of about 6 inches unattached.

You are going to sew the binding on with a 1/4 inch seam. Insert your needle through the binding and the quilt, lower your presser foot, and begin sewing. Backstitch a few stitches, and then continue sewing until you are 1/4 of an inch from the corner of your quilt.

Once you are 1/4 of an inch from the corner, stop sewing and lift your presser foot, leaving the needle down. With the needle down, turn your quilt so that you are sewing directly towards the corner. Put your presser foot down, stitch to the corner, backstitch and then cut your thread.

Now it is time to fold your binding to create your corner. Your quilt is in front of you, with the attached edge on top and the binding leading off to the right. First, fold your binding up and over the edge you just sewed down. Then, fold your binding back down, making sure not to let go of the fold you first made. This will create a small loop that will be your corner, and your raw edge will now be on top of the next side you will attach the binding to.

Bring your quilt back to your machine, and insert your needle 1/4 of an inch from the corner of your fabric. You do not want to sew over the loop you just created, the needle should be placed right below it.

Lower your presser foot and begin stitching, backstitch, and then continue sewing down to edge until you are 1/4 of an inch from the next corner. Repeat this process until you have created all four corners and are approaching where you originally attached your binding to the quilt. Leaving at least 6 inches between the beginning and end of the binding, backstitch your binding down to the quilt and cut your thread. It is time to join your binding.

To join your binding, your two strips of binding need to overlap by 2.5 inches. Place a ruler alongside the original tail of the binding from where you first attached to the quilt. Lay the end of your binding on top, measure 2.5 inches, and cut off the excess.

Open up both binding strips, and place then right sides together (the sides with the design that were facing out). The bottom strip is running up and down, the top strip is running side to side, and they meet to create a square of overlapped fabric.

You will now sew from corner to corner, backstitching at the beginning and end.

Cut off the excess fabric on the outside of where you just sewed.

You should now have a continuous binding strip that sits flat across the remainder of your quilt!

Return to where you left off binding, and insert the needle with the presser foot 1/4 from the edge once again. Lower your presser foot and begin stitching, backstitch and then continue sewing until you reach the beginning of where you attached the binding. Backstitch again and cut your thread.

Your binding is now attached to the back of your quilt!

To attach the binding to the front of your quilt, turn the quilt over with the front facing up. Take your binding from underneath your quilt and fold it over, pulling the folded edge of the binding towards the center of the quilt. Some people choose to pin or clip down the binding on the entire front of the quilt at this point, but I choose to do this while I sew.

Once again starting in the middle of one side of the quilt, bring your quilt over to the machine and place it under the presser foot. If you are using your 1/4 inch presser foot, the binding should sit neatly under the foot, with the outside edge of the quilt on one side of the foot, and the inside edge of the binding on the other side of the foot.

Insert your needle, lower your presser foot and begin stitching. Backstitch and continue stitching until you approach the corner. Take your time and try your best to keep the presser foot in the same spot on the quilt edge as you sew.

Now it is time to create your corner on the front of your quilt. First fold the side of the binding that you are stitching down towards the center of the quilt.

Then, pull the upcoming side of the binding over, creating your corner.

Continue to stitch slowly, holding your corner in place with your hand, until you have stitched down the corner and you are 1/4 inch from the edge of the quilt. With the needle down, lift your presser foot, and turn the quilt to begin sewing the next side.

Once again, your binding should fit right under the foot, and you can continue to stitch down this next side slowly and carefully. Once you approach the corner, repeat this process until all four corners are attached.

When you return to the side you started on, you will simply continue stitching until you reach your original starting spot.

Once you have reached that point, backstitch and then cut your thread. Congratulations, you have completed your quilt!

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