Have you enjoyed quilting along with me? Or are you just now finding this quilt along? Either way, I want to remind you that Dot ‘n’ Dash quilt along will stay up on my blog indefinitely so you can make this quilt any time you wish, on your own time, and at your own schedule. Dot ‘n’ Dash Kits are still available and you can pick up a signed copy of my book to get the pattern.
This week it’s time to bind the quilt! Follow the steps below for my favorite method, or adapt it to your own process as desired. This method uses straight of grain strips that are double folded and attached with smooth seams ensuring no lumps and bumps. I use it for all of my quilts!
Step 1 – Trim the Quilt
I like to trim off the excess batting and backing flush with the edge of the quilt so that I can sew the binding on nice, straight, and even. I use a large square acrylic ruler to trim off all four corners first. This ensures that the corners of the quilt will stay nice and square. I use the lines on the ruler to nudge the quilt into shape if needed.
Once the corners are trimmed, I use a long acrylic ruler to trim up the sides the same way. I line up the already cut corner with the edge of the straight ruler so that I can continue to get a straight, clean cut around all four sides of the quilt.
Step 2 – Sew the Binding Strips
To figure out how much binding I need, I take the perimeter of the quilt, add 10″ to the total, and divide by 40″ (the width of fabric) to figure out how many binding strips I need. See pages 52-55 of the book for this particular pattern.
Because I wanted to use the fabric efficiently, I used leftover precut strips from the Strip-pie bundle (aka jellyroll) to make a scrappy binding. Because you don’t use the entire strip when you cut and sew the blocks, there’s enough leftover for the binding. You can trim them narrower if desired, but I went ahead and left them at 2 1/2″ since I was in a hurry to finish!
Join the binding strips with a mitered seam by placing them wrong sides together at a 90 degree angle. Sew from one corner to the other to join the seams. I can usually eyeball it (see image above), but feel free to mark the sewing line if you need to stay straight.
To chain piece (assembly line sew), I add each next strip as I go, flipping over the top strip so that I join them right sides together each time.
Because the strips are very colorful, I joined them with a neutral colored Aurifil 50 weight thread and sewed with a shorter stitch length (2.0 instead of 2.5). This prevents the thread from poking through the seam and makes a nice tight stitch that won’t split when I press the seams open.
Once all of the seams are sewn, I trim off the excess with 1/4″ seam and press all seams open.
I’ll designate one of the binding ends as the starting “tail” and trim it off at a 45 degree angle. That will come in handy later when it’s time to join the ends together seamlessly.
Finally, I’ll press the entire binding in half wrong sides together lengthwise, and it’s ready to sew to the quilt!
Step 3 – Attach Binding to Quilt
I line up the open ends of the binding to the raw edge of the quilt. I leave about 10″-12″ of a starting “tail” so that I have room to join it up later. I’ll put a pin in place to indicate where I’ll start sewing. Sew with 1/4″ seam for skinnier binding strips, or slightly wider if using wider strips.
If you want the pieced seams to avoid ending up in the corners, quickly measure the binding around the perimeter of the quilt before you start sewing. If any of the seams ends up in the corners, adjust your starting tail by an inch or two in either direction.
When you get to the end of one side, stop sewing about 1/4″ away from the edge (or the width of your seam allowance), and sew off the corner at a diagonal. this will enable to you create a pretty miter on the front of the quilt.
Next, remove the quilt from the machine, rotate it and fold up the next unsewn binding side.
Make sure the edge of the binding matches up to the edge of the quilt as shown in the photo below. This will ensure that everything lines up perfectly.
Notice that a nice diagonal crease will form across the corner.
Fold the binding back down upon itself at the corner. (See photo below.) You want the top of the fold to line up exactly with the top of the sewn quilt. This will ensure a nice crisp corner.
Continue sewing at the corner. You might need to grasp the starting threads because this will be a thick seam to start. In my image below, I’m using the BERNINA integrated dual feed with the open toe embroidery foot (20D) so that I can see what I’m doing. I recommend using a walking foot if you don’t have the dual feed, so your fabric doesn’t slip or pucker.
Continue sewing all four sides and corners the same way. Leave an ending tail of about 5″-6″ that will join up with the starting tail. Trim off the excess binding if needed.
Step 4 – Secure the Binding Ends
To join up the ends, I’ll use some photos from another quilt because I was in such a hurry to finish this one, that I forgot to snap photos, LOL!!
Place the cut angled end (the beginning tail) inside of the ending tail and mark the 45 degree angle where they meet exactly.
Add 1/2″ to this line for seam allowances and trim off the ending tail at a 45 degree angle, using a small square acrylic ruler with a 45 degree line.
Match up the beginning and ending tails and sew them together with a 1/4″ seam. You’ll notice the triangle tips sticking off at each end. Press the seam open and trim off those tips, also known as “dog ears.”
Finish sewing the binding to the back of the quilt. If desired, flip the binding to the front and press away from the quilt to make it easier to fold over to the back.
I secure the entire binding with Clover Wonder Clips so that nothing shifts while I hand sew the binding down on the back.
Step 5 – Hand Sewing to Finish
I prefer to finish my binding by hand because it gives a nice, clean finish to the quilt. However if you prefer to finish by machine, I suggest using a decorative stitch on your machine so that the binding becomes a decorative element of your quilt.
I like to use a blending thread color to secure my binding. I normally use whatever is leftover in the bobbin after I’ve attached the binding to the quilt. Thread a hand sewing needle with about 16″ of thread and knot one end.
Notice that I hold the quilt away from me and stitch from right to left. I make each stitch by catching a little bit of the backing and the folded edge of the binding each time. Some people call this a “ladder stitch.”
Whenever I run out of thread, I knot the end and hide it underneath the binding, then start with a new length of thread. When I get to the corners, I fold them over in the opposite order of how they are folded on the front to reduce bulk.
I also sew the corner miters closed for a nice finish. It usually takes me about one hour per side when hand stitching a throw sized quilt. That’s a couple of evenings of movies with the family which is a fun way to finish!
I enjoyed finishing this quilt just before we took a beach vacation earlier this summer, so I have fond memories of working on this quilt!
Share your Finishes!
Be sure to share your progress on instagram #dotndashqal and also in my Christa Quilts Facebook group. Even if you are just starting, I’d love to cheer you on!