Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Fancy Finishes! Faux-Piped Binding

This month begins a tutorial series featuring edge-finishes and "Alternate Endings" to use on quilts or other quilted projects, other than a standard binding. 

 Binding ~ Faux Piping! 
A quick machine-binding for a fancy finish!

Faux-Piped Binding
Pre-quilted RBD chevrons/dots with solid red and lime pieced binding

Here's a way to pretend you went to all the work of adding piping to your binding without all the effort. "If there's an easier way...", that's my motto. This is also an easy finish for a quick gift. Today's tutorial is loaded with lots of extra TIPS and thorough steps for binding any quilt.

Faux-Piped Binding

Note: This machine-binding technique is one of my favorite quick fancy finishes - great for pillows, mug rugs, placemats, and kids' quilts.  It adds just the right touch of elegance, even on a fancy quilt.

Supplies ~
A quilt or other project that needs binding   
Pieced binding strips are cut from selvage to selvage on the cross-grain ("width of fabric" = "wof"). CUT: 1-1/4" x wof strips - this is what you'll see as the outer binding. 
ACCENT Print: 1-1/2" x wof strips for flange/piping (NOTE: 1/4" difference creates 1/8" flange) 

1 strip main print, 1 strip accent print = mug rug, hot pad, etc.
2 strips each = placemat or pillow 
5-6 strips = baby quilt
6-8 strips = lap quilt 
8-10 strips = twin/queen 
10 to 12 strips = king size quilt 

Instructions ~   

Today's placemat project used 2/3 yard pre-quilted fabric to yield 4 placemats. 
      Cut (4) 12" x 18" rectangles for placemats 
1/3 yard MAIN print (red)
      Cut 8 ~ 1-1/4" x wof strips 3/8 yard 
ACCENT print (green)
      Cut 8 ~ 1-1/2" x wof strips 

Step 1) Prepare Binding: 
STITCH to join two 1-1/4" main binding strips together end to end;  use a diagonal seam and press seams open to distribute bulk. 

*TIP: Center a strip of painter's tape with your needle. Layer binding strips right sides together at right angles and stitch from "V" to "V" as pictured. Keep your eye on the bottom V for a nice straight line. 

Faux-Piped Binding

Chain piece to save time and thread. :)   Trim excess bulk leaving 1/4" seam allowance and press seams open.  Make 4 sets.

REPEAT with all the 1-1/2" accent print strips. 

Faux-Piped Binding

With right sides together, pair a main print strip set with an accent strip set, and STITCH using 1/4" seam allowance.
*TIP:  Offset so the original joining seams are not together. 

PRESS seams toward the main print.  Binding should now measure 2-1/4" wide.

Faux-Piped Binding

PRESS pieced binding in half, lengthwise; align raw edges. See how the accent color peeks over at the folded edge? That's the "piping"!

Faux-Piped Binding

*TIP:  Use this neat little trick to roll and store binding. Here's a quick video:


Roll and store binding. Tuck the end in the back, and it will stay in place until needed. Pull the binding out of the center and it's ready to apply to the quilt without twisting!

Faux-Piped Binding 

Step 2)  Apply Binding.
STITCH binding to quilt BACK using a 1/4" seam allowance. Place binding with the right side of the main print facing the back side of the quilt. The accent piece will be facing UP.

Faux-Piped Binding 

*TIP:  Before you begin, take a minute to lay out your binding around the perimeter
of your project to make sure no seams land on the corners!! 

MITER the corners as usual when applying the binding. Stop stitching 1/4" from the corner, then backstitch a couple of stitches. Remove from the sewing machine and clip threads. Remove pin.

Faux-Piped Binding

Fold binding up at the corner at a 90-degree angle.
Faux-Piped Binding
Check for the correct angle: raw edges should follow a straight line as pictured ↑. Fold binding back down, keeping the folded edge evenly aligned with the previous corner, then realign the raw edges together to continue stitching. PIN to secure.

Faux-Piped Binding
Begin stitching right at the folded edge and continue to the next corner.  Repeat the steps for each corner. When you get close to the start, leave about an 8-inch open space to work the final splice. 

Step 3) Join Final Seam. 
Work this final mystical seam with the quilt away from you and the binding toward you. 
Overlap binding tails. About 1/3 of the way into the unstitched area, grab both binding tails together and clip a 1/8" notch through all four layers. Do not clip the quilt.

Faux-Piped Binding

CUT off the (right) ending tail, exactly at the notch.

Faux-Piped Binding 

Use the discarded binding as your measuring tool. Align the strip over the left binding tail with the clipped notch at the left. CUT off any excess binding to the right.

Faux-Piped Binding

Open out the right binding tail with the right side up.  Open the left binding tail so it's wrong side up. Here's how I remember:
Right Side = Right Side
Left side = Wrong Side

Faux-Piped Binding 

FOLD the left tail corner "Up" into a triangle, aligning the point with the clipped notches,  Crease to establish the stitching line. Mark the line if you'd like. 

Faux-Piped Binding 

Place the left tail perpendicular to the right tail, with right sides together, with the point towards you.  It's a little "V" (for "Victory!)

Faux-Piped Binding 

STITCH on the creased line.

* TIP: FOLD the quilt to give enough ease so you're not fighting to stitch the final seam. 

* Another TIP: The stitching line is ALWAYS parallel with the quilt edge.

Faux-Piped Binding 
* Yet Another TIP:  Take time to test the seam to make sure nothing has twisted before you trim the seam!  

TRIM off excess bulk, leaving 1/4" seam allowance. Finger-press the seam open. Realign binding with the quilt edge and STITCH that final gap.  Looks good!

Faux-Piped Binding 

*TIP: Take a minute to lightly PRESS the binding away from the quilt, 
before folding the binding around to the front, getting a nice crisp fold at the seam.

Faux-Ppiped Binding 

Step 4)  Big Finish!  
Bring binding around to the front of the quilt and PIN or CLIP the corners to form identical miters.
Faux-Piped Binding 

STITCH in the DITCH. The top thread should match the accent color.  Pivot at the corners.

Faux-Piped Binding

*TIP:  Use a large pin, stiletto, or seam ripper to hold the binding in place as you go.
 Or try Clover Binding Clipsthose seem to work well too.
Sometimes I'll use latex gloves just to grip it. 
Or skip the pins and the clamps and just get out a glue stick! 
That works as well as anything!

Overlap the beginning stitches, and you're finished!

Here's the back - look, it's reversible!!

Faux-Piped Binding

I don't mind the finished stitches showing on the back; they're pretty even! 

PLEASE NOTE:  I use the mitered corners (Step 2) and final spliced seam technique (Step 3) to bind all of my quilts, whether machine or hand-finished. In the case of a hand-stitched finish, I initially stitch the binding to the FRONT of the quilt.

Faux-Piped Binding 

Sure hope you can use this tutorial to help finish your projects!   Join me next month for more sewing basics. If you have any questions, please leave a comment below or send an email to  And you're always welcome to stop by Quiltscapes for a visit!

*P.S.  This kickoff tutorial is one I've had a lot of fun with as I begin my fourth year of writing monthly "Sewing/Quilting Basics" tutorials sponsored by Riley Blake Designs. See more HERE

Comments from RBD:

  1. I love this very clever idea and can't wait to try it. Thanks!
    by Marti
    January 05th, 2015 at 1:50 p.m.
  2. Thanks, Deonn. I've seen this technique before but your tuts are always so clear and accurate. I'm going to use this binding when I finally finish the quilt I'm working on.
    by LJ
    January 07th, 2015 at 8:23 p.m.
  3. This looks so beautiful and your tutorial is excellent! Thank you.
    by Kate
    January 08th, 2015 at 7:58 a.m.
  4. Deonn, this is a wonderful tutorial. Thank you! I'm excited to try this binding finish on my next project!
    by SherylW
    January 08th, 2015 at 10:51 a.m.
  5. Thanks Deonn! I've tried this not quite so successfully in the past, and this is a good explanation of what I've done wrong! LOL!
    by Ruthiequilts


  1. Ahh I have some Fig Tree fabric calling my name for a zig zag quilt

  2. Awesome Deonn!!! I'm going to use it on my next project!

  3. I just love how easy it is to sit down and sew some placemats!

    Gretta Hewson
    Veritable Movers in San Antonio website


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