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:
Note: I used Kona Solid Charcoal for my binding strips with Aurifil thread #1246.
Step 1 – Calculate and cut your binding strips
Measure 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.
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.
If 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.
Step 3 – Press the binding
Press the binding wrong sides together along the entire length.
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.
Quickly 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.
Starting 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.
Starting 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
When 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.
When 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!