The best thing about a quilt binding tutorial is that you are almost at the end of your work. It means that you get to finish the quilt, take photos, wrap it up and give it away. Or, just admire it! I have learned over time that I like every step of the quilt making process. By the time I get tired of piecing, I get to sew rows, by the time I get tired of that, I get to do the borders and on and on.
My binding technique is pretty basic. I have tried many different binding methods and have settled onto this as my tried and true method. I think some people refer to my approach as double binding.
The first step after quilting your top is to cut the excess backing and batting off the quilt. You can see my quilting tutorial here. I use a rotary cutter and the largest ruler I have. It is key to getting nice and perfect edges. After that, I spend time selecting my binding fabric if I haven’t already done so. I typically like stripes or dots for my border fabric; something that pulls the entire quilt together. I usually like to use a fabric that has NOT been used in the quilt top or backing. This fabric selection is sometimes the hardest selection to make.
After that, I cut 2 1/2″ strips of the selected fabric. I have tried different widths of binding and this is the width that works best for me. I then sew all the strips together. I attach the strips using the diaganol method. See below for details. After sewing together, I cut off the excess fabric so that there is a scant 1/4 seam and then press so you have one long continuous strip of binding.
I then press the entire lenght of the binding in half lengthwise with the wrong sides together. I use Ellen’s spray to guide my pressing and just pull through the binding until it is all pressed in half.
Once you have all of your binding folded and pressed in half lengthwise, it is time to get your quilt out and ready to sew. You will want your quilt facing right side up. You sew the binding onto the right side. It will make sense…I promise!! Start your binding between a quarter and a half way down the quilt. Use your 1/2 foot for this. You will want to start your sewing so that you leave a tail of binding unsewn about 9 to 12 inches.
The raw edge of your quilt should be aligned with the raw edge of your folded binding.
Start your sewing and head down to the corner of the quilt.Stop short about a 1/2″ before the edge of the quilt and backstitch.
Pull the quilt out, cut the strings and rotate the quilt 90 degrees counter clockwise. Now, take your binding piece and fold straight up so that you create a 45 degree angle at the fold. See below.
Continue sewing until you come back around to where you started. You will end up with two pieces of unsewn binding that overlap. Lay the binding pieces over each other and measure. The pieces should overlap the same as the width of the binding; in this case 2 1/2″ inches. Cut the excess binding.
Meet up the edges of the binding with right sides together and created a mitered corner so that you sew on the diagonal and cut off the excess. After this, you should be able to lay your binding back down and finishing your stitching.
Now is the handwork…I like to hand sew on my bindings from here. There are other techniques out there that complete the binding with the machine.
I have tried it a few times and haven’t quite mastered it. And, really, I prefer the process of hand sewing on the binding. I use clips to secure my binding into place. All of your binding is on the front side of your quilt; gently fold over to the back and use the clips to secure. This gives your fingers a rest instead of having to hold your binding in place while stitching.
I then use YLI Hand Quilting thread 40 weight 3 ply. It is great and is easy to use. I use a slight stitch to attach the binding on the back side. I take a small stitch in the backing and pick up just the edge of the binding. My stitches are about a 1/4 inch apart. I sew all the way around and after a few hours it is all done!!!! Here is the completed binding all finished up.
You can see the finished quilt in the photo below and more details on this blog post.
Happy Quilting! :)