Bindings: Is there an easier way?

We’ve all been there. We have finished the piecing and quilting and are ready to bind. I have read so many times on how to bind that you would think I would remember! But I keep going back to my printed materials and read up on it every time. So, I thought this time I would write about it at the Cafe so I would always know where to go for the information.

I like my bindings to look a bit scrappy from the front of my quilt. Meaning, I piece the fabrics together that I used in the quilt to make my binding or I use the fabric on the back of the quilt for my binding. I like the look of something different and not real ‘matchy-matchy’.

After I have my fabric ready, I cut my fabric into 2.5 inch strips. I connect them together and make sure that I have enough to go around the entire quilt. For me, this is not a magic math problem! I lay out my quilt and lay the binding around it to measure it. Very Easy!

To ‘connect’ the pieces together, I sew a diagonal seam on the ends of 2 strips.

Here is another picture once I have sewn the seam.

Once I have the length I need for the entire quilt, I press my strips in half. Laying the raw edge along the raw edge of my quilt I pin the binding all the way around my quilt. Now, I like to miter my corners. When I first started sewing-quilting I would round my corners. Now, I really don’t think it looks bad to do this and quite frankly it was the only way I knew how. But, I have learned to miter and now I like the way it looks, so I continue. Bring the binding all the way to the corner of your quilt. Fold the binding over itself making a triangle so the corner of the triangular part of the binding meets up with the corner of your quilt. Then take the rest of your binding and lay it back over your triangle and begin laying it down the next side of your quilt.

Pin, Pin, Pin!! I use a lot of pins in my bindings. I don’t use clips with my bindings because once I have pinned them in place, I know they are in place! Pin this corner down and move on all the way around your quilt. Once you get back to where you started, leave a 6.5 space between where you start sewing your binding and where you stop sewing your binding. This space will be where you will complete your binding and you need that space! Cut your tails so they overlap one another for the 6.5 inches. Now, taking the tails bring them to the center of the 6.5 space you’ve created so they meet in the middle. Finger press where they meet up with one another.

From where you have finger pressed, measure 1.5 inches back (towards the raw edges of the binding) and mark this spot. This is where you will cut the binding of the extra fabric. Now, you are working in the 6.5 inch space you created. Take the binding on the right side of your quilt and lay it out away from the quilt right side up. Take the binding on your left and place it across the right side up binding at an angle right sides together. Because I cut my bindings giving my a bit of extra space to work with, I overlap my pieces with about a half inch to spare. Then sew a seam starting on the inside of your binding.

Before cutting off any excess fabric, lay the completed binding down along the edge of your quilt. If it lays flat perfect. If not, rip it out and move your fabric more so you have even more excess and sew again. This step may take a couple of times because you want it to lay flat, not so tight it bunches and not so loose that you are stuffing the binding to make a seam.

I usually hand sew my bindings to my quilts (no matter the size), but I am trying to learn how to sew them on the machine. My corners don’t look great but I am able to sew the bindings down so it looked nice.
After all, it is a learning process, right? I hope this has helped with sewing a binding. Until next time from the Cafe,
Cheers~
nj

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