Infrastructure Week 12 – Binding by Machine

Have you enjoyed following along with Infrastructure? Remember, even if you haven’t even started your quilt, you can make it anytime and I’m here to help cheer you on! We’ve come to the very last step of making the quilt and I’m “sew” excited to share my tutorial for binding by machine.

Infrastructure Quilt

Click here to get the Infrastructure quilt kit while supplies last.

Step 1 Trim the Quilt

Infrastructure Quilt in Progress

I like to use a large square ruler at the corners and along straight ruler for the sides. I trim the extra batting and backing flush with the edges of the quilt so that I can get a nice, tight binding. I’ll sew with an accurate 1/4″ seam and try not to cut off any points along the edges.

Step 2 – Cut the Strips and Sew Continuously

Geo Pop fabric for binding

The length to cut your strips is a personal preference. For this quilt I experimented and cut them out at 2 1/2″ wide so it would give me enough room to finish by machine. But I usually like to cut them narrower at 2″ so I get a nice tight binding that’s even on both sides. Here’s an easy way to calculate the # of strips you’ll need. Take the perimeter of the quilt and add 10″. Then divide that number by 40″ and that will tell you how many strips to cut.

Tiny Hex Fabric Binding

Sew the strips together end to end, mitering each of the corners so you get a long continuous strip. Cut one end at a 45 degree angle so the end and beginning are hidden. Then press the entire binding in half, wrong sides together.

Step 3 – Bind by Machine

Sew the binding to the BACK of the quilt and then secure it to the FRONT of the quilt with a decorative stitch so that it becomes part of the design!

Infrastructure Quilt using Geo Pop

Watch me sew the Binding & Follow Me on YouTube!

I’ve put together a short 6 minute video showing how I sew the strips and attach the binding by machine.

The difference between hand binding and machine binding is which side of the quilt I sew it on. I sew it to the back and finish by front by machine. Or I sew it to the front and finish on the back by hand. But whichever technique you choose is completely up to you!

Click here for my hand binding tutorial.

THIS WEEK’S GIVEAWAY & HEATHER’S VERSION

Click here to check out Heather Black’s tips for binding by hand on her blog at Quiltachusetts.

While you are there be sure to enter the giveaway on Heather’s blog. Aurifil is giving away two large cones of their 40 weight, 3 ply thread in fave colors of dove and light beige.

Aurifil Thread Cones

QUICK LINKS

I sure love seeing everyone’s progress pics. You can also share on instagram by tagging  us @christaquilts  and @quiltachusetts and use the search hashtag #infrastructurequilt in your post so others can see, too!

Christa’s Quilt Along 4.9 – Sea of Squares Binding by Machine

Machine Binding

Today I am going to show you a quicker way to bind your quilt – by machine. Sometimes when I am in a hurry (like this week trying to finish all my quilting tasks before heading off to QuiltCon), a machine binding is just what I need!

It took me a total of 2 hours to bind this quilt using my home sewing machine. I love how it looked outside today with the quilt against the cloudy sky. A cool juxtaposition…

Sea of Squares Finished

Step 1 – Trim Your Quilt (10 Minutes)

Before binding, you want to start with a nicely trimmed edge, flush with your quilt. I don’t leave any batting peaking out. My method ends up with a fully stuffed, flat binding.

Using a large square ruler, I trim up all 4 corners first. If anything is out of alignment, I gently tug it back into place. Then I trim up all the sides with a long ruler.

Trim Corners FirstTrim the Sides


By starting with trimmed corners, I can match up the cutting lines so that things stay straight (as possible). You can throw your trimmings away or recycle them as pillow stuffing. 🙂

Step 2 – Calculate the Length of Binding Needed & Cut Strips (10 Minutes)

My favorite binding is called double fold straight grain binding, and it is super easy to make. You start off with strips of fabric, cut them on the straight of grain, then fold them in half twice to get the double fold. It holds up well especially on quilts that get a lot of use.

Measure the Perimeter

First, measure the perimeter of your quilt and add on 10 inches for corner folding, seams and “insurance.” In this case, my Sea of Squares quilt measures 50″ x 58″. It shrunk about 2 inches due to the intensity of the quilting on it.

I need a total length of 226 inches (50+50+58+58+10). If I divide this by 40 inches (the length of a fabric strip), I end up with 5.65 strips which I round up to 6 binding strips needed for this quilt. I cut all my strips 2.25 inches wide.

Binding Strips

Cut Six 2.25″ Wide Strips

For those of you sewing along using one of my Sea of Squares kits, binding fabric is included.

Step 3 – Sewing the Binding Strips Together (5 Minutes)

Join all of your binding strips into one long piece. Sew the ends on a mitered angle so that the bulk of the seam will be distributed more evenly. Be sure to cut one end of the binding on the same 45 degree angle. Fold the strips wrong sides together and press along the length with a dry iron.

Sew Continuous StripsFirst Fold

Before attaching to the quilt, I will pin part of the binding to one side, starting somewhere in the middle. Loosely walk the binding all the way around the quilt to ensure there will not be any mitered seams falling on the corners of your quilt.

Step 4 – Attaching the Binding to the Quilt (30 Minutes)

Sew from the front.Whether finishing the binding by hand or machine, this part is the same. Using coordinating or matching thread in top and bobbin, sew the binding to the front side of the quilt.

Starting with the binding on the angled end, leave a few inches of unsewn “tail” and use quarter-inch seams.

Be sure that you are sewing with the raw edges of the binding and the raw edges of the quilt in the seam. These will be covered with you flip your binding to the back.

You may wish to add a few pins to secure.

When you near a corner, be sure to mark a line 1/4″ away from the corner. Stop sewing at this line, then turn your quilt 90 degrees and sew off the edge.

Stop 1/4 inch from end.

Sew perpendicular to edge.


Flip the binding strip to create a 45 degree angle, pinch the excess, and then fold it back down. This creates the excess fabric allowing for a nice miter on both front and back of the quilt. Begin sewing the next side starting at the corner of your quilt. Repeat for all 4 corners.

Flip binding up.Flip binding down.


Leave about 6 inches of tail when you finish sewing. This will be joined next to create a continuous binding.

Step 6 – Joining the Ends Together (5 Minutes)

This is probably the trickiest part of the whole binding process. You want the ends to be joined with a nice miter seam that does not give any extra slack.

Leave a Tail

Open the Blunt End


Open both tail ends. Place the angled tail on top of the blunt tail and draw an erasable line along the edge of the angled tail where it meets the blunt end. You will need to account for both seam allowances, so cut 1/2 inch away from this line, keeping the 45 degree angle.

Trace the Angle

Now join the two ends together with 1/4″ seam. Use pins if needed and offset each of the triangle tips by about 1/4″. Finish attaching the binding to the front of the quilt.

Cut 1/2 inch wider.Pin ends and sew.


Step 7 – Binding by Machine (1 Hour)

I have a tendency to pull on my binding as I’m sewing, stretching  it and creating a wavy edge that needs to be blocked. By pinning first, this can eliminate most of the stretching.

Pin Binding

There are several different ways you can finish stitching the binding on by machine. For example, you can stitch in the ditch from the front side but only if you are absolutely sure you are catching the binding on the backside, too. You can stitch using straight lines or decorative stitches. Just sew slowly and be sure to catch the corners as you go around the quilt. A decorative stitch can hide a lot of mistakes!

For Sea of Squares I chose to use a reverse blanket stitch (similar to the regular blanket stitch I used for my machine applique table runner). The stitching won’t line up perfectly on the back but if you use a blending thread it won’t matter too much.

Sea of Squares Binding

Often times I have finished by quilting a decorative stitch from the backside, too.The picture below shows the binding I did on my first quilt-along, the Jolly Jelly Roll Quilt. I used one of my favorite stitches on my machine, a wavy serpentine stitch.

Jolly Jelly Roll QuiltI hope you have enjoyed following along as I made my Sea of Squares Quilt. I learned a lot from it and I encourage you to give this quilt a try. If you are currently working your way through your own version of Sea of Squares, I’d love to see it! You can share photos of your work in progress on my flickr group: Christa’s Quilt Along.

Here is a picture of the back of Sea of Squares, showing all that machine quilted texture.

Backside of Quilt


Complete Quilt-Along Schedule for Sea of Squares
Click any of the links below and follow along at your own pace.

Sharing is Caring

Please share your work in progress in my facebook group: Quilt With Christa . 🙂