Machine Binding Demo

Here’s the step-by-step process I use when binding my quilts by machine. The method is similar for traditional hand finished hidden-stitched bindings, too. Be advised, this post has lots of pictures. Many are shrunk to fit. Click on the individual pictures for closeup details.

First, start by squaring up your quilt with a 90 degree corner. Use long rulers to trim the sides. Trim the batting and backing flush with the top.

Square Up the QuiltEdges Trimmed EvenYes, I dress up when I sew. Don’t you?? 🙂

Next, I select my binding pieces. Usually it’s a color to match the top. For this quilt, I used leftover pieces for a scrappy binding. Measure around the perimeter to find the total length needed. I cut enough 2 1/4″ strips to go around, adding about 10-12 inches to the total perimeter for seam allowances and mitering at the corners. Join the strips together with a miter to form a continuous strip. Trim the excess corners.

Measure the Perimeter

Measure Perimeter

Join Strips with a Miter

Miter Corners

Trim Excess

Trim Excess

Press all of the seams open, then fold the whole strip wrong sides together and press along the length with an iron. It should now measure about 1 1/8 inches wide with right sides showing. Trim the start of your binding on a 45 degree angle. For your convenience and to prevent tangles, you can wrap a ready-to-sew binding around an empty spool of thread.

Press Seams Open

Press Open

Right Sides Out

Right Sides Out

Binding Spool

Binding Storage

Top Stitch

Top Stitch

Sew off Corner

Sew off Corner

Angle Binding Up

Angle Up

Start sewing with the binding on top of the quilt, face up. Stitch with a slightly wider than 1/4″ seam.

Leave at least a 5 inch “tail” and start on a side, away from the corners.

When you get to the corner, stop 1/4″ away from the edge, pivot and sew off at the corner. Then, take the binding out of the machine, and flip it up so that it is flush with the edge. Next,  flip it back down and create a tuck underneath by folding the excess piece.

Folding Down

Folding Down

Excess Tuck

Excess Tuck

Fold Back

Fold Back

The excess piece will form the miter on the front.

You can now start sewing the rest of the binding onto the front, stopping and repeating the same process at each corner. When you get back to the beginning, stop with a gap between the beginning and ending pieces. Trim off some of the excess (green in the photo) but not too much. Then mark the angle where the beginning piece meets the end.

Begin Again

Begin Again

Leave a Gap

Leave a Gap

Mark the Fit

Mark the Fit

Using a small ruler, measure 1/2″ away from this marked line. The line should be on a 45 degree angle and you are cutting 1/2″ away from this. This will enable the ending and beginning pieces to fit nicely together. Sew them together, offsetting the little dog eared triangles to get an even seam. This will connect your continuous binding, start to end.

Measure 1/2 Inch

1/2" From Mark

Close The Gap

Close The Gap

Connect the Ends

Connect the Ends

Close the Fold

Close the Fold

Stitch Down the Rest

Sew the Close

Close the fold and trim the “ears”.

Then sew the gap closed.

Now you are ready to flip the binding to the back and stitch it down by machine (or hand if desired). I stitch from the backside of the quilt, so the bobbin thread will be in a color to match the topside of the quilt. My favorite machine stitch is the serpentine stitch. It is both functional and decorative and it hides mistakes. Plus if you meander a little off the edge it still works!

Stitch on Back

Stitch on Back

Be sure to click on the picture to see details!

Serpentine Stitch

Serpentine Stitch

When you get to a corner you need to fold up one edge, then the other and continue sewing.

Fold Corner

Fold Corner

Other Side

Other Side

This binding looks as pretty on the back….

Machine Stitched BindingAs it does on the front!

Front

9 thoughts on “Machine Binding Demo

  1. thatfabricfeelingcom says:

    Thanks for this awesome tutorial. I have been machine sewing the binding and allowing a little extra stitch to run along the inside front of my quilt. It’s not perfect, but it works for smaller quilts. I’ld love to try your method but i’m confused with one aspect. Doesn’t the serpentine leave the inner edge of the binding able to flip up? I often have loose threads and such that would possibly be visible underneath.

  2. Judy Young says:

    More on binding a quilt. Sherri Driver, a McCalls quilt magazine editor has a four part series on
    Binding A quilt on You Tube.

  3. Darlene Crosby says:

    Thanks so much Christa! I have been quilting/doing patchwork for about 8 months now, and your tutorials are great! The pictures really help me, and I appreciate your patience, and your time, -just doing this for us, with pictures, for us to learn the technique. I am a customer of yours too, and think YOU are awesome and wonderful!

  4. Christa says:

    Thanks Ladies, I’m glad you liked the demo. I would some day love to publish a simple quilting book or make more tutorials, but my goodness, there are so many pictures to take, editing to be done, etc…For now I’ll stick with simple self-published patterns which will some day make it onto my website…..

  5. Heather Campbell says:

    I am so glad you put this up. I know it was a lot of work but it will be so helpful to those of us who bind, then forget how, then relearn, then bind, then forget how. This post is now part of my quilting bible.

  6. Gillian Rapson says:

    Another happy customer! I am a novice patchworker and I found your demonstration very helpful and easy to follow. I was having trouble with mitring but your idea of sewing off at the corner will help me tremendously. I have saved your demo on my computer for future reference. Thanks Christa!

  7. Rita Goshorn says:

    Thank you, Christa! This fine tutorial on machine stitching your binding is great! It will keep me from fumbling along making do. On small pieces, mug rugs, potholders, I’ve zigzagged the back of the binding down, with so-so results. Your serpentine stitch looks so good! I’ll use mine! It will sure save my fingers and wrists!

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