Dot ‘n’ Dash Quilt Along Week 9 – Binding

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.

Dot n Dash Quilt Along

Click here for the supply list and links to all of the previous posts for Dot’n’Dash QAL.

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.

Quilt Trimming - Corners

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.

Quilt Trimming - Sides

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.

Binding from leftover jelly roll strips

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!

Sewing the binding

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.

Sewing binding strips

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.

Trim binding corners

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.

Continuous Binding

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.

Attach binding to quilt

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.

Sew the binding to 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.

quilt binding

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.

Binding in progress

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.

Sewing the binding

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.

Binding Ends

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.

Add the binding

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.”

Join binding edges.

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.

Secure the binding

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.

Hand Binding

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.”

Hand Stitch the binding

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.

Hand stitched binding

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!

Machine Quilting on Dot n Dash

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!

Click here for the supply list and start of the quilt along.
Click here to purchase the Dot ‘n’ Dash Quilt Kit or my fabric bundles.

Binding Class – Next Saturday at The Christmas Goose in Las Vegas

If you will be in or near the Las Vegas area, next Saturday, April 9th, from 2-5 PM, I will be teaching Binding A to Z at The Christmas Goose Quilt Shop, located at 2988 South Durango, Las Vegas, NV. The cost is only $25 and you will be binding on a real quilt! Call (702) 877-1158 to register, and I hope to see you there!


Learn to bind on an actual quilt! You supply the quilt, I’ll teach you how!

The Christmas Goose is owned by mother-daughter team Jeanette and Andrea, and they’ve been in business for over 20 years – almost as long as I’ve been quilting!! It’s been fun getting to know them over the years and they have always been supportive of my work.

Mother and Daughter at The Christmas Goose

In fact, if you come to my class on April 9th, you’ll be able to pick up a copy of either of my books at the store, and I’ll be glad to sign them for you, on the spot!


The Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting and Machine Quilting with Style are both available for purchase from The Christmas Goose.

If you can’t make it to this weekend’s class, you can keep up with my teaching schedule here. Jut think – I may be coming to a city near you!!


Christa’s Quilt Along – Abacus Week 6: Binding

Free Quilt Pattern

New to my blog? Be sure to sign up for my email newsletter to get a free pattern!


I have really come to love hand binding my quilts. There’s nothing better than curling up on the sofa with some mindless TV and hand stitching for awhile. However, for those of you who prefer a quicker finish, be sure to check out my machine binding tutorial.

And now, it’s onto binding! It took me a total of 3 hours to bind Abacus.

TrimmingStep 1 – Trim the Quilt and Prepare the Binding (1/4 hr)

I use a large square ruler to square up the corners flush with the edge of the quilt. I use a longer ruler to trim up the sides. Be sure you have 1/4″ of background left around the edges of your beads so they don’t get covered up by the binding.

I love the look of a freshly trimmed quilt, ready to bind!

quilt-trimmedTo calculate the length of binding needed, take the perimeter and add 10 inches:

32+32+32+32+10 = 138

Divide this number by 40 to get the total number of binding strips needed. 138/40 = 3.45 which I will round up to 4 strips. Cut them 2 1/4″ wide.

Join your strips together by sewing mitered seams. Place them right sides together, perpendicular to each other with a little bit sticking off on both sides. You will be sewing a diagonal seam indicated by the black line below:

binding_1Note: if you are working with solids, take care to know which side you are working with! You can put a pin to indicate which is the front or back side of the strip.

Trim off one end at a 45 degree angle and press the binding, wrong sides together along the length. This is what it the binding strips should look like when trimmed and pressed:


Step 2 – Sew the Binding to the Front of the Quilt (1/2 hour)

Start with the trimmed end and stitch with a 1/4″ seam, leaving a tail of about 6″ dangling off the quilt. When you near a corner, make a crease indicating the edge of the quilt underneath. Stop sewing exactly 1/4″ away from the crease and sew off the end at an angle.

binding_3To fold the miter on each corner, lift the strip up and away, parallel to the quilt. Bring it back down upon itself, even with the edge of the quilt, creating some bulk. I call this the “funky fold.”

binding_4Continue sewing from the corner you just folded, all the way around the quilt, mitering each corner as you go.

When you get close to the end of the quilt, leave another tail of about 5″ – 6″.

Join the ends together by opening the beginning tail with the angled edge and placing it on top of the ending tail with the untrimmed edge. Draw a 45 degree line on the untrimmed end. I’ve drawn a black line on the photos below so you can see that more clearly. Cut 1/2″ away from the drawn line. Use a small ruler with a 45 degree angle for an accurate cut.


Pin the beginning and ending tails together and sew with a 1/4″ seam, offsetting the edges by 1/4″ (see that little triangle peeking out below). You may have to scrunch the quilt out of the way to make room. Finger press the seam open, fold the binding in half again, and finish sewing the binding to the front of the quilt.

binding_6Step 3 – Pin or Clip the Binding in Place to Sew (1/4 hour)

With an iron, press the binding away from the quilt on the front. This creates a crease making it easier to fold over the binding and sew in place by hand or machine.

binding_7Fold over the edges and hold in place with pins or clips. My favorite are the Clover Wonder Clips in packs of 100. I prefer to clip the whole thing in place so it’s ready to sew, and I place them pretty close together so I can quickly use up a whole bag of clips!


Don’t forget to fold the corners in place and secure with a clip. They will automatically create a nice pretty miter on the back – aim to line up the two corner edges so the miter is right in the middle of the corner.

Step 4 – Finish by Hand (2 Hours)

I forgot to take pictures while sewing the binding down by hand. I guess I was enjoying myself too much. Click here for another hand binding tutorial which basically outlines the steps above with hand stitching closeups.

Congratulations on a great finish!


Click here for all of the Abacus Quilt Along Tutorials.

Sharing is Caring

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




Craftsy Giveaway – Finishing School: Edges and Bindings

As promised, it’s time for another Craftsy class giveaway – whoo hoo!! Since my quilt along tutorial on binding your quilt is coming up later this week, I thought it would be perfect timing to give away the Craftsy class Finishing School: Edges and Bindings with Mimi Dietrich. But first, let me tell you a little bit about this fabulous class.

20141027_finishing_schoolAlthough I pretty much bind my quilts the same way every time, Finishing School teaches you how to do several fun techniques such as prairie points, scallops, piping, ruffles, and more! There’s even a bonus section on the often overlooked finishing touches like adding sleeves and labels to your quilts.

The class is broken down into six easy to swallow lessons, each about 30-45 minutes:

  1. Using Backing as the Binding
  2. Making New Bindings from Scratch
  3. Adding Trims
  4. Rounded Corners and Scalloped Edges
  5. Prairie Points and Ruffles
  6. Sleeves and Labels

20141027_finishing_school_bindingsThere are lots of options for beautiful bindings!

Whenever I check out a Craftsy class, I always love reading the students’ comments and questions to learn more. Seeing what my fellow class-mates are making is super fun, too! Check out the cool coasters and trivets by craftsy member Pam in New Zealand. She was able to bind a project with more than 4 edges after taking this class! 🙂 (And her machine quilting is pretty awesome, too!!)

20141027_coastersCoaster and Trivet set by craftsy member Pam in NZ

Here’s how to enter:

Good luck and thanks for reading! This post was sponsored by my friends at Craftsy.

Herringbone Finish and Tips for Better Binding

Today I get to share the big reveal: Herringbone is finished!

herringbone_finishedHerringbone, 63″ x 73″ designed and made by Christa Watson for Camelot Fabrics

You can click the links below to read my WIP process posts as I worked on this quilt:

Herringbone took a total of 25 hours to complete (13 hours to cut, sew and press the top; 12 hours to baste, quilt and bind by hand.)

I wanted to share a few tips for better binding that I practiced while finishing this quilt:

binding_cornerWhen attaching the binding, I marked my stopping point with a water soluble pen so that I know exactly where to stop stitching at the corners. Whenever I “fudge” this part of the process, it always gives me problems.

binding_ironAfter the binding is attached by machine, I will iron it away from the quilt so that it’s easier to pull over to the back for hand sewing. (By the way, this is another reason I prefer to quilt with cotton thread and natural fiber batting, so I don’t have to worry about melting anything with the iron!)

binding_clips1When I get to the corners, I fold them so that they match up evenly and use Clover Wonder Clips to secure the binding in place. I fold over the corners opposite from how they are folded on the front to reduce bulk. I also prefer to add clips so that the clear side of the clip is showing on the back. It seems less bumpy that way.

binding_clips2I use a liberal amount of clips and space them pretty close together. So far, I’ve invested in two 100 clip packs and am ready to order another set. I prefer to clip all the way around the perimeter of my quilt so that I can sew continuously without having to adjust the clips!

For more step by step pictures, click here for my indepth tutorial on binding by hand.

Herringbone is on it’s way to the Camelot Fabrics quilt booth at Spring Market. I won’t be there, so if any of you go – be sure to snap a picture of it for me, will you?


Tutorial – How To Bind a Quilt

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.

the quilt Shown is Modern X. Pattern available here.

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

bind_1Measure 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.

bind_2I like my binding to finish approximately 1/4″ on both front and back. Therefore I will cut my strips at 2 1/4″ wide. You can cut them wider if you prefer more of the binding to show.

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.

bind_3If 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.

bind_6Step 4 – Attach the binding to the quilt

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.

bind_5Quickly 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.

bind_7Starting 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.

bind_8Starting 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.

bind_9At this point, your corner should look like this:

bind_10Take the quilt off the machine and fold the binding up and away from the quilt as shown. Keep the edge of the binding in line with the edge of the quilt as shown.

bind_11Bring the binding back down, creating a tuck of fabric underneath. This will form the miter on the front of the quilt.

bind_12Starting from the edge of the quilt, stitch the next side of binding down until you reach the next corner and repeat this process for all four corners.

bind_13Leave an ending tail of 6″ – 8″ of binding. Trim off the excess leaving a few inches of overlap to work with. Open up the end of binding and place the beginning tail inside it.


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.

bind_15Put the two tail ends right sides together, and sew with 1/4″ seam to complete the continuous loop of binding.

bind_16Close up the binding and finish stitching it down on the front of the quilt. You are now ready to finish stitching the binding down on the back of the quilt.

bind_17Step 5 – Secure with clips

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.

bind_18Step 6 – Hand stitch the binding on back

Put on a good movie and enjoy the relaxing process of hand work for a pretty finish.

Don’t want To Hand Stitch? machine binding tutorial Here.

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.

bind_19I use a thimble to help push the needle through the fabric when needed.

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.

bind_20Continue forming each stitch by bringing the needle in behind each previous stitch and pushing it out ahead of the last stitch. Pull the thread slightly taut as you go.

bind_21When 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.

bind_22When 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!



Modern X Pattern is available for purchase here.

Christa’s Quilt Along 2.7 – Binding Baby Bricks

To finish off both the girl and boy versions of Baby Bricks, I am finishing my bindings by hand. I’m always needing a hand project that I can stitch while watching TV with the family!

A limited number of Baby Bricks Quilt Kits are available, using these exact fabrics shown.

Girl Baby Bricks My quilts are trimmed and ready for binding. I think that binding by hand gives a tidy finish which helps the quilt to lie flat and straight; very important when being hung in a show!

Boy Baby Bricks

Step 1 – Securing the Binding to the Front of the Quilt by Machine

Please review my Jolly Jelly Roll quilt tutorial for step-by-step photos of this process. I show how to sew continuous binding strips using my favorite method called double fold, French binding. I also demonstrate how to complete it by machine, for a faster finish.

Step 2 – Pin Basting and Preparing Needles and Thread

I enjoy binding by hand if I am not rushed and everything is prepared ahead of time. I chose a heavier weight cotton thread that matches the binding. I like to thread several needles onto my spool so I can cut off a new length of thread and not have to worry about re-threading so many needles.

Thread Several Needles

Next, I use pins and Pinmoors to secure the edges while sewing. I usually pin one large section at a time (enough for one length of sewing thread). Then I repin and move onto the next section as I go.

Pinmoor Basting

Step 3 – Sewing by Hand

Cut off about 18 inches of thread and knot it on one end. Then slip the needle between the backing fabric and the binding. The knot will be hidden under the binding.

Beginning StitchHand SewingMake one stitch at a time, backtracking slightly as you enter the needle for each new stitch.

This is very similar to hand applique or a blind hem stitch.

Be sure to stitch the corners closed on front and back.

Corner FrontCorner BackYou can click on any of the smaller photos to see more detailed closeups of the sewing.

It takes longer to sew by hand, but it’s a very relaxing and enjoyable process!

Smaller needles make a tiny stitch.

When I get near the end of my thread, I simply make a knot, take a last stitch and pop the knot into the binding. Then I start the process again until the entire binding is finished.

Knot the Thread

I will finish up the binding on both of my quilts, then post photos of the finished quilts next week. I have decided to add on a bonus week to this project so that I can talk about blocking and labeling your quilt.

Here is the complete tutorial schedule below:

If you enjoyed these tutorials, please join me when I begin the next quilt-along series, called Charming Chevrons! I will post the supply list next week. Here’s a hint: it’s made from charm packs! (4 charm packs total – 2 of the same light/background and 2 of the same dark/print)