Tuesday, February 1, 2011

BINDING LESSON - Photo Tutorial

A French double-fold cross-grain binding is my favorite method to bind a quilt.

I use 2" strips cut the width of fabric, and join with mitered seams to distribute bulk. The folded binding is stitched to the front side of the quilt using a 1/4" seam allowance, with raw edges aligned (greatest invention ever: 1/4" sewing machine foot!); corners are mitered, and binding is hand-stitched to the back of the quilt. The 2" binding strips with 1/4" seam allowance makes a consistent finished binding width on both front and back of the quilt.

PLEASE NOTE: This method may be applied to ANY width of binding strip. You may need to experiment to find the ideal seam allowance.

1) JOIN BINDING STRIPS. Using the grid on your cutting mat,

lay binding strips end to end, right sides together at a 45-degree
angle, overlapping slightly. STITCH from valley to valley.
TRIM seam allowance to a scant 1/4" then PRESS seams open to
distribute the bulk of seams.

2) FOLD binding lengthwise in half, wrong sides together;
PRESS. Now you are ready to begin.

3) ALIGN raw edges of binding with edges of quilt front.
Leave about an 8" tail.  Begin to STITCH, using 1/4" seam allowance.

4)  Place a PIN 1/4" away (always one seam-allowance width)
from the corner to indicate the stopping point.

5)  STOP stitching about 1 stitch away from pin,
STITCH.  Remove the quilt and trim threads.

6)  FOLD the binding strip at a 45-degree angle to create
miter.  The raw edges should form a straight line. 

7)  FOLD binding strip back down, even with the next
edge of the quilt.  Fold should be aligned straight with

the previous side.

8)  Begin to STITCH at the edge of the quilt.  BACK-
STITCH to secure, and continue sewing. 
REPEAT at all corners.

9)  After last corner is mitered, STOP stitching about
8" from beginning stitches.

10)  OVERLAP the beginning tail over the ending tail. 
MEASURE about 2/3 of the way through the open space,
then CLIP a 1/8" notch through all four layers of
binding strips.  DO NOT clip quilt.  CUT OFF right
binding tail exactly at clipped notch.

11)  TRIM a little slice from the discarded binding tail to
use as a measuring tool.

12)  OPEN slice of binding and place on trimmed binding,
aligning ends. 

13)  OVERLAP the remaining binding strip, using the slice of
binding to measure, then CUT left binding strip at the
right edge of the measuring strip.  In this case, 2" from clipped notches.

14)  UNFOLD and flatten the right binding tail RIGHT
SIDE UP;  Left binding tail WRONG SIDE UP.
(Remember:  Right side = RIGHT Side, Left side = WRONG side)

15)  FOLD the end of the left binding piece at a 45-degree
angle and crease to find the stitching line. 

16)  MARK, then STITCH on the line .
This is always parallel to the edge of the quilt.

17)  CHECK to make sure binding did not twist,
then TRIM seam allowance.  PRESS seam open.

18)  Re-ALIGN binding with edge of the quilt and STITCH remaining seam. 
PRESS binding away from quilt front.

19)  TURN binding to back of the quilt, forming identical
miters on the back as on the front.  PIN to secure.

20)  HAND-STITCH binding to the back of the quilt. 
Use thread color that matches binding.

Prize-Winning binding every time!!

p.s.  This adorable dragon is adapted from the pattern "Not All Dragons are Scary" <<

p.p.s.  Here are some comments from Cutting Corners:

  1. Great tutorial - I always have to search my magazines to figure out how to do this - I pretty much have the corners figured out, but it's the ending that always trips me up. BTW, what is that wonderful pattern?!?
    by SuzK
    March 08th, 2011 at 11:24 a.m.
  2. Thanks, SuzK, Hope the tute helps! The quilt was designed for last year's Home Machine Quilting Show fabric challenge sponsored by Riley Blake Designs, featuring fabrics from their "Sublime" line. Based on the theme "Every Quilt Has a Story", the little dragon is adapted from Allicia Politis' pattern called "Not All Dragons are Scary." My friends and I won 3rd place in the challenge, and won some great friends here at Riley Blake!
    by Deonn
    March 08th, 2011 at 12:16 p.m.
  3. Thanks so much for this! I am wondering about the hand-stitching... do some people machine stitch it to get a nice top-stitch, or is it always done by hand?
    by Jen Allyson
    March 08th, 2011 at 8:20 p.m.
  4. Good question, Jen! This process works great with machine stitching too! For best results, I apply the binding to the BACK of the quilt, then bring the binding around to the front to machine stitch closed. Edge stitch, or try a decorative or serpentine stitch. Mitered corners still work beautifully!
    by Deonn
    March 08th, 2011 at 9:59 p.m.
  5. This was really very helpful. I love the way you cut that piece to use as a measure when you were ending the binding.
    by Jean
    March 12th, 2011 at 7:16 a.m.


  1. fabulous!! I have never seen a concrete way to finish (connect) the ends of the binding. I always just guess and check (what a pain) Thank you.

    I wish wish wish I could come to the next SLC modern quilters mtg. to see your class but I guess I should go to my daughter's family birthday party. Love my daughter. Dis-love Chuck-E-Cheese :).


    P.S. check out my blog. I am going to blog about my latest quilt... soon.


  2. Thank you so much for these instructions - they are very clear, concise, and the pictures are great! I put the binding on a table runner today and it was the only perfect part of the quilt. The instructions for the runner were completely wrong and it was a bear to put together. Your instructions for the binding were the shining part of my runner, so thank you!!

  3. Have you ever thought of doing a video on this process.

    1. You can find a video of the same process HERE: https://youtu.be/i9riC03FNRQ


So happy you stopped by for a visit! Thank you!