Tutorial – How To Bind a Quilt

I love making every part of a quilt, including the binding, so I thought I’d share with you my favorite method for binding my quilts. It’s called continuous length, double fold, straight of grain binding. That’s a mouthful, but it’s how I do all my quilts.

Ready for picture overload? Here goes:

bind_0

Note: I used Kona Solid Charcoal for my binding strips with Aurifil thread #1246.

Step 1 – Calculate and cut your binding strips

bind_1Measure the perimeter of your quilt by adding the length and width of your quilt and multiplying that by 2. Then add an extra 10 inches to deal with seams and corners. For example, my quilt measures 56″ x 70″. Here’s how I calculate my binding:

56+56+70+70+10 = 262 inches needed

Next, take this measurement and divide it by 40 inches. This will tell you the number of strips you will need to cut, with 40″ of useable fabric. My number is 6.55 which I will round up to 7 strips of fabric.

bind_2I like my binding to finish approximately 1/4″ on both front and back. Therefore I will cut my strips at 2 1/4″ wide. You can cut them wider if you prefer more of the binding to show.

I need to cut a total of (7) 2 1/4″ wide strips to bind my quilt.

Step 2 – Sew the binding into a continuous length

Place two strips right sides together at a 90 degree angle. Sew them together at a 45 degree angle across the diagonal. Sewing mitered seams like this helps distribute the bulk. If needed, you can draw a straight line across the diagonal, or press one of the ends along the diagonal to form a sewing line.

bind_3If you are using solid fabric like me, it will be a little trickier to keep track of which is the “right” side. You can use a pin or piece of tape to designate the right side if you like. Be sure to trim the starting edge of your binding at a 45 degree angle, too.

bind_4

Step 3 – Press the binding

Press the binding wrong sides together along the entire length.

bind_6Step 4 – Attach the binding to the quilt

Trim off the excess backing and batting before you attach your binding. I use a large square ruler for the corners, and a long straight ruler for the sides.

bind_5Quickly run your binding along the perimeter of your quilt to ensure you won’t have any seams falling in the corners. If you do – move the binding up or down a few inches to avoid seams at the corners.

bind_7Starting at least 6″ – 8″ away from the corner, place your binding on the front side of the quilt and leave a tail of about 6″ – 8″. Line up the open binding ends with the edge of your quilt. The folded edge should be facing towards the quilt.

bind_8Starting at the pin shown in the previous photo above, stitch the binding onto the front of the quilt with 1/4″ seam allowance. Use a walking foot or even-feed if possible. When you get to a corner, stop stitching 1/4″ away from the corner and sew off the corner.

bind_9At this point, your corner should look like this:

bind_10Take the quilt off the machine and fold the binding up and away from the quilt as shown. Keep the edge of the binding in line with the edge of the quilt as shown.

bind_11Bring the binding back down, creating a tuck of fabric underneath. This will form the miter on the front of the quilt.

bind_12Starting from the edge of the quilt, stitch the next side of binding down until you reach the next corner and repeat this process for all four corners.

bind_13Leave an ending tail of 6″ – 8″ of binding. Trim off the excess leaving a few inches of overlap to work with. Open up the end of binding and place the beginning tail inside it.

bind_14

Using the cut angled end as a guide, lightly mark a line right up next to it. Then cut 1/2″ away from this measurement to account for seam allowances on both ends.

bind_15Put the two tail ends right sides together, and sew with 1/4″ seam to complete the continuous loop of binding.

bind_16Close up the binding and finish stitching it down on the front of the quilt. You are now ready to finish stitching the binding down on the back of the quilt.

bind_17Step 5 – Secure with clips

I find it easier to completely secure the binding to the back of the quilt with clips before I begin hand-stitching it down. For a throw sized quilt it takes about 100 wonder clips to go all the way around the quilt. Pins or hair clips work well, too.

bind_18Step 6 – Hand stitch the binding on back

Put on a good movie and enjoy the relaxing process of hand work for a pretty finish.

Thread several needles using the same cotton thread you used to sew on the binding. Clip off about 18″ of thread to use at a time. Wrap the thread around the needle 3 times and pull it to the end of you thread to create a quilter’s knot. You can double your thread for extra strength and durability.

bind_19I use a thimble to help push the needle through the fabric when needed.

Tuck the knot underneath the binding, then grab a bite of the backing of the quilt and then a bite of the binding to complete each stitch.

bind_20Continue forming each stitch by bringing the needle in behind each previous stitch and pushing it out ahead of the last stitch. Pull the thread slightly taut as you go.

bind_21When you get to the corners, be sure to sew them closed. Take a few stitches on the back to close the miter. Push the needle through to the front, stitch the front of the miter closed, then push the needle to the back again.

bind_22When you are near the end of a length of thread, make a knot, then take a stitch through the backing and batting only, pop it through the backing and cut off the excess. Continue in this manner until you’ve sewn down the entire quilt.

Congratulate yourself on a great finish!

The quilt shown is Modern X, made as a free pattern for members of the Modern Quilt Guild. Pattern is available for purchase here.

This entry was posted in Tutorials and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

24 Responses to Tutorial – How To Bind a Quilt

  1. Great tutorial with some great pictures. Thanks Christa!

  2. Carol Wilson says:

    Thanks to you, I’m going to bind my next quilt this way! Your directions are as clear and complete as directions given by Eleanor Burns and her’s are THE BEST! Way to go Christa!

  3. Sara S says:

    Thank you for this tutorial! The corners always drive me BONKERS, so I’m definitely trying this technique on my next quilt!

  4. Linda H. says:

    Great tutorial, Christa! But it’s amazing that two quilters can sew binding to a quilt so completely differently! :-) I don’t do any of the things you do. Your binding looks lovely, in any case. I’m glad it works for you!

  5. stitchinstein says:

    Great tutorial! I mostly make mine the same! The only difference is I use 2-1/2″, I stop at the corner and I don’t sew down the corners. I don’t like the look of sewn corners. The quilt is stricking!

  6. Anne says:

    I am like some of the others. I did not sew off into the corner although I saw that you had done that before. Tried it last night and it worked like a charm. So, it is not a personal preference to sew down the mitered corners, must it be done to hang a quilt for a show or to enter a quilt in a competition? Thanks for the tutorial.

    • Christa says:

      I’m glad you found it helpful. Judges always recommend the corners are your binding to be sewn closed by hand whenever entering them into a quilt show so I’ve just gotten in the habit of it :-)

      But you are right – there are always our own personal preferences to consider. You are the boss of your quilt so go with what you like to do!

  7. Awesome tutorial!! Such great pics. Thank you. I bind my quilts EXACTLY like this, except for a minor difference in the final join: I join them as you did in Step 2 (adding in the 1/2″ for seam allowances) and sew and then cut on the 45. Same difference. :-) I hand-sew the mitred corners on each side too as I’m hand-sewing the binding down. A friend got dinged points once when she entered a quilt into a competition for failing to do this , so I have ever since, even though I’ve only ever entered stuff one time… I’ll recommend this post to ‘all’ my readers, lol, as well as to all my quilting buddies!

  8. LoretteC says:

    This is a wonderful tutorial and will be a good reference! thank you for sharing. Beautiful quilt too!

  9. What a well laid out tutorial with great pictures. This post will be getting a lot of hits! Thanks so much for sharing, Christa!

  10. Connie Campbell says:

    Great tutorial Christa!

  11. Kristy Daum says:

    Look at me, just reading along going…Check…Check…Check…when all of a sudden I got to your “sew off the corner” comment and I’m like….WHAT? I am so going to try this on my Pantone Challenge Quilt, it will be my next one up for binding.

    I always mitered my corners; but just stopped a 1/4″ away from the edge…it never even occurred to me that I should/could sew off the corner.

    Thanks for sharing!

  12. Karen says:

    Thanks, Christa! As a newbie quilter, I’ve never been sure where to start on binding. This tutorial has given me the info I needed to cut that binding and get going.

  13. Renee says:

    It looks like you’re using Kona Charcoal for the binding–if so, what color Aurifil are you using? I am trying to find a matching (or close, I’m really not that picky) thread to charcoal, and don’t have a color card yet.

  14. Alice says:

    Hi Christa. My fingers no longer work well for hand sewing. I have been stitching in the ditch. What else can you suggest for me to try? I do the rest of the process the same as you do.

  15. Yvonne says:

    After you machine stitch the corner at an angle and are ready to hand stitch, do you clip the corners? Hope I worded that clearly. Thanks.

    • Christa says:

      Thanks for your question! No, I haven’t found it necessary to clip any corners. They are nice and sharp by following the steps that I outline :-)

  16. Lis Ostiguy says:

    Christa how can we go wrong with such clear instruction! Thanks for helping. US improve our skills

  17. dtavareslv says:

    Thank you for this tutorial, Christa!!

    Sent from Samsung tablet

  18. pamelabanis says:

    Thank-you for another helpful lesson!

  19. Christine says:

    I almost skipped reading this blog post (so bad, I know), then decided I might learn something new… so why not take the time to read it?! I am SO glad I did! I have not found a good way of sewing the ends of the binding together until now. YES! I am SO excited to try this!! I’ve even bought the binding tool thing, tried other tips and tricks, but this one is so simple and matter-of-fact… I am definitely doing this next time!

    Thanks so much, Christa!

  20. Oh so timely! I have 3 quilts ready to bind. Was going to write it up, but you’ve already done that! I’ll just link back to your directions. Love it! Thanks.

  21. Ellie says:

    I bind the same way but haven’t sewed off into the corner. Great tip I’m going to try it on my next quilt. Thanks

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s