Quilt binding is one of my all time favorite parts about making a quilt. There's something about those crisp finished edges! Today I'm sharing a tutorial showing you all how I make, attach, and finish the binding on my quilts. I prefer to use a double fold binding that is machine stitched onto the front and hand stitched to the back. Here we go!
:: MATERIALS NEEDED ::
a basic sewing machine foot (I use my 1/4" almost all of the time)
a walking foot
:: PREPPING YOUR BINDING ::
First start by calculating how many binding strips you will need. If you need a little help, Robert Kaufman has a great phone app called QuiltingCalc -- plus it's free! Once you've figured out how many strips you need, cut your binding fabric. I cut my binding strips 2 1/2" x WOF (width of fabric).
I like to join my binding strips at a 45 degree angle. I've found that it makes for a clean, crisp binding that appears almost seam-less. Start by placing two binding strips, right sides together, at a 90 degree angle. Overlap selvedges, this will help you see your corners better when sewing the strips together.
Using your basic sewing machine foot, stitch from corner to corner (see picture below). Trim corner & selvedges , leaving a 1/4" seam allowance. Repeat until you have one continuous binding strip.
Press seams open.
Press binding in half, wrong sides together.
Now you're ready to attach it to the quilt.
:: ATTACHING THE BINDING TO THE QUILT ::
Start by laying your quilt out in front of you, right side up. Now place the binding along one edge. The folded edge should point towards the quilt, raw edges along the outside. Leave an 8" to 10" tail and place a pin -- this is where you are going to start sewing.
Using your walking foot and a 1/4" seam allowance, start sewing at the pin. Backstitch to secure your seam, and continue sewing along the straight edge of the quilt.
:: CORNERS ::
The next few steps are very important in order to keep the corners crisp & pretty.
Continue sewing until you are 1/4" away from the edge of the quilt. Backstitch.
Remove your quilt from the sewing machine and lay it out in front of you. The quilt should be on your left, the remaining binding to the right.
Take the binding strip and flip it up, creating a 45 degree angle. Finger press.
Now fold the binding strip straight down, onto itself. Make sure the folded top edge of the corner you just created is flush with the edge of the quilt. Finger press. Place a pin to hold the corner in place if necessary.
Using your walking foot & a 1/4" seam allowance, start sewing at the top of the corner. Backstitch. Continue sewing down the side of the quilt.
Repeat these steps to the remaining 3 corners.
:: JOINING YOUR BINDING ::
Now this step may or may not be a little different than what you are used to. I like to join my binding ends with a 45 degree angle, just like I joined the strips together.
Leave a 12" to 15" gap between the binding ends. Make sure to backstitch at both ends.
Lay the binding on the right down (the end you started with) and trip off a 1" piece of binding. Don't throw it away.
Now lay the binding on the left on top, the two strips should overlap.
Here's where that 1" piece of binding comes in handy. You now need to measure an overlap of 2 1/2" (the width of the binding strip). Rather than dig out my ruler, I use this 1" piece of binding (unfolded) to measure the overlap. Trim the top/left binding.
Your binding should now look like this.
Take the binding on the right and place it unfolded, right side up.
Take the binding on the left and place it unfolded, right side down.
Together, the two strips should look like this.
Careful not to twist the strips, place the binding of the left on top of the binding on the right at a 90 degree angle. Make sure the edges are flush (no overlap). Pin in place.
Using a regular sewing machine foot, stitch from corner to corner. Backstitch at both ends. Trim a 1/4" seam allowance.
Now lay your quilt flat and you shouldn't be able to tell where the two binding strips joined. Sew the remaining binding, using a 1/4" seam allowance and a walking foot.
Ready to hand stitch? Check out part two, Double Fold Binding :: Hand Stitch Tutorial.
The binding fabric I used in this tutorial is Tempo by Kanvas for Benartex Fabrics, you can find it at Fat Quarter Shop.