Monday, September 24, 2007

Quilt Binding Tutorial

This tutorial is for binding a quilt with straight edges using binding strips cut on the straight grain from your own fabric (not purchased binding).




First of all you need to cut your binding strips. I used strips that were 1 7/8" wide but if it's your first time you should probably use 2 1/4" or 2 1/2" strips. You'll have to figure out how many strips you need to go all the way around your quilt with several inches to spare. You can use math, or cut the strips and physically lay them around the edge of the quilt until you have enough. I've done scrappy quilt bindings before using several different fabrics, and used the physically-laying-it-out method for those quilts.



Using the angle lines on your ruler or mat, cut the ends of the strips to a 45 degree angle.


Cut both ends the same way so the strips are very long parallelograms.

To get them ready to piece together, set two strips next to each other.


Then, flip one over on top of the other so the edges line up for sewing. You will sew a 1/4" seam, so they need to line up 1/4" in from the edge. Pin it.

Sew it. Sew all the strips together this way. The diagonal seam here helps spread out the bulk of the seam, since you'll be folding the binding strip over itself a couple times.

Go to the ironing board; press the binding seams. I press to one side, you can press them open if you want but that's more work.


Now press the entire binding strip in half the long way.


Next, find the end of your binding strip. If your parallelogram went the opposite way from mine, cut the corner off so it points the way mine does in this picture. Press the short edge in 1/4".


Fold it in half lengthwise and press this end again.


You can't really see it in this picture, but I'm leaving it anyway. Lay out the binding around the quilt, with the end you just fiddled with in the middle of one of the sides. Check the seams on the binding to make sure there aren't any of them on the corners of the quilt. If there are, adjust your starting position. Pin the binding in place at the starting position and go to your machine.


For the entire perimeter of the quilt, you need to match up the binding and quilt edge and sew 1/4" in from that edge. I leave the extra backing and batting until after the binding is sewn on. To begin, you will be making a little slot to put the end of the binding in when you get back to your starting place. Open up the fold of the binding and sew down just the bottom layer for about 2 inches. Stop sewing and cut your threads.

Edited 9/2012: *For another way of finishing up the beginning and end of your binding strips (with a diagonal seam) see this blog post.*

Now fold the binding back up and start sewing both layers of the binding down, about 1 3/4 inches down from the beginning.


Sew the binding down that first side. I found that it helped if I pulled the binding a bit taut while sewing. When you get to the corner, stop sewing 1/4" from the edge of the quilt top. Backstitch and cut your threads.


Now, turn the quilt 90 degrees, and fold the binding straight up. Hold that diagonal fold with your finger.


And now, fold it down. You might want to pin.


Start sewing the next side at the edge of the fabric; stop 1/4" from the edge and do the corner thing again. Repeat until you've done all 4 corners.


When you get back around to where you started, you need to trim the end of your binding strip so it will fit in the little pocket you made at the beginning. I trimmed the end of my binding strip so about 1/2" of it went into the slot area past the angled part of the beginning of the binding. You have to look closely to see it in this photo.


Now you get to trim the quilt. For the 1 7/8" binding, I needed to cut the backing and batting right up to the edge of my binding. For wider binding strips, leave a little bit of batting beyond the edge. I have had a couple quilts in quilt shows and one of my judging sheets once explained that it's better (in official quilt world, I guess) to have the binding kind of puffy and nicely filled out than to let it be saggy, limp, and empty. In other words, I got bad marks for not having puffy binding, so learn from my mistakes.


I hand sew the binding to the back of the quilt. I use a ladder stitch, it's my main hand sewing stitch that my mom taught me when I was little. You can use whatever stitch you like. I try to sew the binding down far enough to cover the machine stitching that sewed it to the front of the quilt.


When you get to the corner, trim the seam allowance a bit more than you did on the straight edge.


(I'm left handed. If you aren't, this picture may not look quite right. I sew from the left to the right.) I try to fold the binding down on the top side of the corner, and sew it down past where the seam turns the corner.


Then, I fold the next side down and stitch it in place. I usually put a couple stitches in the binding where it folds on top of itself (the mitered corner), and then continue sewing down the next side of the binding.


All done! I hope this make sense. As always, comment or email me at vickivictoria at the google email service if you have questions or comments!

34 comments:

Carolyn said...

Your quilts are amazing. I look and wonder if I could ever ever do that...... that is beautiful!
Carolyn

Carolyn said...

One more question, do you are can you! :) do a tutorial on a simple 6.5" quilt top? I"m not even sure how to sew the squares together.... and how to get the outside edges... or have you dont this and I couldnt find it?
Thanks!

Vicki said...

is this Carolyn75?

I'd be happy to email you about how to do this... I could do a tutorial too but my sewing schedule is kind of full for the next few weeks.

Carolyn said...

yes it is me! ;) followed your link from your siggy!
my email:
carolyna75 @ earthlink.net

thank you thank you! these squares have been here forever!

Anonymous said...

I just stumbled on your blog yesterday and I just wanted to tell you that your tutorial for how to apply quilt binding is the best I have seen yet. I have a quilt ready to be bound,but am scared of the binding. You make it look achievable with your tutorial. Thanks so much for taking the time to write it and post great pics for this "very visual" sewing person. : )
Cheryl

The Beginning Farmer's Wife said...

Great tutorial on binding! I am adding a link to this post in one of my posts about making bibs. Thanks for the help!

Helen said...

A friend pointed me to your quilting blog. Too late for the advice on quilting (I've completely fluffed that) but just in time to do the border as per your tutorial. You've explained it beautifully and it will be on my screen as I sew. I'm a beginner and a great believer in getting it wrong before I get it right! Thankyou.

Kristin said...

This tutorial was awesome! Directions and pictures together were so simple, I was pretty proud of myself :) It's so easy to have right on my screen next to the machine so I can make sure I'm doing everything right. I'm bookmarking this one, thanks so much!
~Kristin

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for this tutorial, it was so well explained, I can finally make the binding on my quilts look great, and not like my three year old did them!!! This really was a great tutorial. Thanks.

mamitosami said...

You may have already posted this, but I cannot find it; I was wondering if you can post a pattern or steer me in the right direction of a pattern for that amazing quilt that you use in your banner, the watercolour quilt. I just love it, it is so gorgeous. Perhaps you can post it in a follow up comment? I think your website is wonderful, I love your work, you are an inspiration.
Jessie.

Kristi said...

I have done a couple of projects now using books that were great for the sewing of the quilt, but I could NEVER get the binding to look right! Now looking at your instructions I know EXACTLY what I was doing wrong. Thank you very much!

Mel said...

Thanks Vicki! I was working between your how to and the heather bailey tute, but I had a hard time visualizing my ends coming together with hers. It seemed like I had something wrong... so I worked a little backwards to do it your way. Much easier! I should have just did it your way in the first place... if only my dh didn't have my laptop I wouldn't have to keep running upstairs to print these out... LOL

Lorraine said...

I just wanted to say thank you thank you! I had remembered seeing you post the link to this at SM and looked it up yesterday to do my first real quilt binding. It went along beautifully, your directions were perfect and I'm THRILLED with my results. Thank you SO much!

Lorna said...

Great tutorial! Very clear and understandable, with the photographs to help! I just am finishing up a binding having used your tutorial. Thanks for taking the time to help out!

Emma said...

I have just found your tutorial and it is the best I have ever seen. Thank you so much, you make binding seem so much less scary than some other sites!

Anonymous said...

Just discovered your tutorial when I was looking for directions on how to bind a quilt. They are fantastic! I am such a "visual" person that I know this will make my binding task so much easier. Thanks so much!!


Jessie from Nova Scotia, Canada

Anonymous said...

i have had this tutorial bookmarked for 2 years...it helped me when making my first quilt for my daughter. now i am making one for my son,and am using store-bought binding. can you tell me what i need to do differently when using this kind? i dont know if it gets sewed on different than your directions. thank you!!!please email me at nocurtain@yahoo.com

Kristopher K said...

found your blog from a friends suggestion at FB - wonderful post - thank-you <3 looking forward to following :)

Susan said...

Thanks for the hint on step one!! You really saved me this weekend with 5 quilts to bind for another quilter. Great blog, and I'll be back to visit.
Susan,
Missouri

Faye said...

this is seriously easy to follow. i semi knew what i was doing, but i get lost in details. .. i hvae tried watching videos on youtube but THIS was so easy to fillow thanks so much!

singer said...

super! thanks for posting this tutorial. Now I am ready to bind my quilt I have made for my first grandchild! Thanks!

momk said...

Thank you so much for this tutorial. I am working on my first quilt and it has been easier than I thought but each step has been slow for me. and then came the binding and I came to a halt. In searching for tutorials I found your and knew it was the right one...our fabric is the same. Followed step by step and it was so easy. thank you again so much.

Anonymous said...

I made a t-shirt quilt, my sister-in-law quilted it for me on her long arm quilting machine. Now it's my job to do the binding. I was a little nervous until I saw this site. I am sure I can handle this. Thanks for your help.

Anonymous said...

THANK YOU!

Lizzie said...

Great post about making binding and binding a quilt - thanks

dreamalittle said...

This is a great tutorial - I've even posted it on my blog!

Stacey Harper said...

I really don't sew...I can sew straight lines, know how to make my machine back up and lock stitches, can thread my machine (w/o directions), but anything else...well, I have to get out my sewing machine instruction book. But, I wanted to make my soon to be a mom daughter a quilt from her baby clothes. So, I cut the squares, sewed them together, did a little research, and found your site. THANK YOU! THANK YOU! The quilt is done, it has a border, a binding, and it's in the gift bag awaiting "labor day". I found your web site to be more helpful than most everything else, including sites with videos. I had never done most of the sewing techniques needed to do this quilt until now...mitered corners and all! Again, THANKS!

giddy said...

7-9-2011 - I have made a lot of quilts and hated the way I had been shown for connecting the machine sewn beginning & ending binding at completion. This technique is so easy and awesome - the starting is the key. Thanks so much, Happy Quilting

Anonymous said...

I love your instructions. I wish there was a convenient way to print them out! I am working on my first T-shirt quilt and needed this info for binding it! I haven't quilted in about 18 years and some is coming back and I am falling in love with it again! Thanks for your inspiration! I am signing Anonomys as I don't have a google acct and don't know those other options!

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for such clear instructions! The pictures are extremely helpful. I just found your site - it's been ages since I had to bind a quilt - and I could not remember how to do it. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Do you think this would work for a Double Wedding ring that is scalloped all the way around?

Vicki said...

Anonymous 2/15: No, this will not work for a quilt with a scalloped edge. You need to use binding strips cut on the bias for binding any curved edges. Just do a search for quilt binding with bias strips or quilt binding scalloped edges. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Thank you! This is just what I needed for our wonderful group of volunteer quilters!

helen marasco said...

Great tutorial,pictures are great.