We’ve finally come to the end of our quilt along and I sure have enjoyed seeing everyone’s progress so far! This week we will finish the quilt with machine binding. Now usually, I prefer the clean look of binding by hand. However, I was in a hurry to make this quilt so I decided to make the machine stitched binding an overall part of the design.
This tutorial is pretty heavy on the videos because I thought it would be much easier to SHOW you my process for binding and explain what I’m doing each step of the way. The videos don’t have any sound because I’m still getting comfortable with the process, but I’m learning so much along the way (just like quilting right?)! They are pretty short, just about a minute or two each, and pretty easy to follow along what I’m doing.
Binding Step 1: Square up the quilt
Trim off all sides evenly with a long acrylic corner. I like to use square rulers at the corners to keep things nice and square. I trim the backing and batting even with the quilt top so I can wrap the binding snugly around the edges.
Binding Step 2 – Make Continuous Binding Strips
The pattern gives the number of strips to cut and how wide. I actually like to cut mine a little narrower, at 2″ wide so that they finish an even 1/4″ on both sides of the quilt. To join them end to end, place the strips right sides together and sew from corner to corner. I’m pretty good at eyeballing the middle; if you need more help, you can mark the sewing line ahead of time.
When you open up the strip, you want the top and bottom of the strip to be nice and even. Trim off the excess fabric and press seams open. Trim off one tail of the binding at a 45 degree angle. This will be your starting end. Finally, press the binding in half wrong sides together with a hot, dry iron.
Binding Step 3 – Sew the Binding to the Quilt
Usually, I attach the binding to the FRONT of the quilt and then wrap it around the back to finish by hand. However, when binding by machine, I sew the binding to the BACK of the quilt and wrap to the front, then finish with a decorative stitch.
Attach the binding with 1/4″ seam starting on any side and leaving about 10″ of starting tail loose from the quilt. When you get to the corner, stop 1/4″ away from the edge and sew off the quilt. Fold the binding up so the edges are even, then fold back down on itself to form the corner miter. (Watch this part several times if needed to get the hang of it!)
Continuing sewing the next side in the same manner. When you reach the end of your quilt, leave a gap between the ending and beginning binding tails. Open up the ending tail (with the flat end) and place the beginning tail (with the angle) gently on top. Mark the angled edge on the ending tail and add 1/2″ for seam allowances on both ends. Carefully pin the ends together and sew. Finger press the seam open and clip off the excess fabric. Smooth it back down on the quilt and stitch by machine to close the gap.
Binding Step 4 – Secure the Binding with Decorative Stitches
When machine binding it’s nearly impossible to hide the stitches evenly in the ditch. So I make them a decorative part of the quilt! Fold over the binding to hide your stitching and secure with clips. The corners will form a natural miter when you fold them down. Fold them in opposite directions from the back of the quilt to reduce bulk.
I used the same variegated thread for the binding as I used for the machine quilting so it looked like part of the quilting design. First I stitched one line of stitching all the way around the quilt, right along the edge of the binding to secure it to the quilt. This is similar to topstitching near the seam of a garment. Then I went back and added another line of stitching about 1/4″ away to complete the pattern. I used a straight stitch but you could also try using a decorative stitch for a different look!
Ta Da! This is what it looks like when it’s all done. The quilt is secure and ready to use!
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