How To Bind A Quilt

How to Bind a QuiltAfter talking to some new quilter friends of mine, I’ve quickly realized that there are so many different ways to do the same thing in quilting and sewing! A lot of people have questions about how to quilt their tops and how to do binding. Last week I went over how to quilt your project (see that post here!), and after quilting comes binding! My favorite way to do this involves a sewing machine and some hand sewing, let me show you how.

Cutting Quilt Binding

To cut your quilt binding, you’ll start by measuring your quilt. We’ll use my Building Blocks Quilt as an example: the length is 52″ and it’s 36″ wide. Add up all sides and divide by the width of your fabric (typically 42″ once you remove selvedge edges). For my quilt I would add all sides ((52 x 2)+(36 x 2)= 176″), and then divide that number by the width of fabric (176″/42= 4.1…) and round up. So, I would need 5 strips. I typically make them 2-1/2″ wide. So for my quilt I would need to cut 5: 2-1/2″ x 42″ strips. If that last paragraph looked like a high school math class, I apologize. Take a look and print out the guide below to help you figure out how much fabric you’ll need!

how to calculate binding

Piecing Binding

Piecing binding is really simple, and you can just use a straight line, but if you’d like to disguise your seam, it’s just as simple! Take one strip and place it on a flat surface in front of you, right side up. Take a second strip and match the corners to the first piece in the perpendicular direction, right side down. Draw a line diagonally, from corner to corner and pin. Sew along the line that you drew.

how to join binding strips

Use a rotary cutter to trim the corner to 1/4″ seam.

Trimming seams

Press the seam to one side. If you prefer a diagram view—here’s the last few steps:

how to piece binding

Repeat on remaining strips until you have one long strip.

Adding Binding to Your Quilt

After piecing you binding, lay it on your ironing board, wrong side up. Fold in half lengthwise, wrong sides together, and press. Do this until the entire length is complete.

Carefully place your quilt, top up, on your sewing machine. Place your binding strip on top, matching the raw edges to the raw edge of the quilt. Leaving a tail of 9″ at the beginning and end, sew the binding onto the quilt using 1/4″ seam.

How to sew binding onto a quilt

When you get to a corner, stop 1/4″ before the edge. Put your needle down into the fabric, raise the presser foot, and turn so that the corner is at a 45 degree angle. Sew straight to the corner. Backstitch. Remove quilt from under presser foot and trim threads. Fold binding up, making a straight line with the quilt edge (first image below). Holding the fold in place, fold the binding back down along the quilt edge (second image below). Start sewing again at the corner and repeat this at each corner. For a full tutorial on this, make sure to see my post about Getting the Perfect Binding Corner!How to sew corners on binding

Finishing Binding

My favorite way to join the binding ends is to use the Fons & Porter Binding Tool—it turns your binding into a continuous loop. There’s no weird fold or anything, just a nice seam that looks like the rest. Make sure to check out my step-by-step tutorial on how to use the Binding Tool!

Joining Binding

Hand Sewing Binding

The last step to finishing your quilt is to hand sew the binding. I like to snuggle down with a good movie and hand stitch the binding onto the back side of the quilt:

Start by folding the binding over from the front to the back. This will cover all the raw edges. I like to use binding clips, rather than pins to keep everything in place. I get much better results this way and there’s no poking!

Then, I simply hand stitch the loose binding edge to my quilt back. I try to hide my stitches between the layers of binding and the back of the quilt. The way the stitch looks will vary from person to person; some people will completely hide their stitch while others will show a little bit—it’s totally up to you and your style!

How to use binding clips

Now that you’re on your way to wrapping up that quilting project, let me know how it goes! Were there any tips or tricks that you’d like to share?

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