How to Bind Your Quilt, Optical Illusion Quilt Along Part 6

When the quilting is finished on your Optical Illusion quilt, or whatever quilt you happen to be making, just the final step of binding is left. I’d like to show you in words, pictures and videos how to bind a quilt. Let’s dive right in.

Optical Illusion Quilt

Finished Optical Illusion Quilt, 67″ x 88″

If you’re still working on your Optical Illusion quilt, no worries! This will be here when you’re ready for it. You can scroll to the bottom for links to all of the steps.

binding-scrappy-OI-christa

The first thing to decide is whether you want to make the binding from just one fabric or you want to make it scrappy.

binding one color OI christa

Which way you go is just a matter of personal preference, as there is not a right or wrong decision.

Step 1 – Calculate and cut your binding strips

A well-written quilt pattern will tell you how many binding strips to cut, but it’s handy to know how to figure it yourself. To determine the length of binding you’ll need, add up the length of the four sides (known as the perimeter) and then add 10″. The extra 10″ is for the seams and gives you a little insurance.

For example, Optical Illusion finishes at 67″ x 88″. This would be the math:

67+67+88+88+10 = 320″

You’ll need 320″ of binding. We use 40″ as the standard width of useable fabric from selvage to selvage, so from each cut across the fabric, we will get 40″ of binding. So we divide 320″ by 40″ to see how many strips to cut.

320″/40″= 8 strips

Just as a side note, if you ever divide by 40 and get something like 6.49, round up to get the number of strips. If you got 6.49, you’d round up to 7 because you’d need 7 strips.

bind_2 christa

How wide should your binding strips be cut? It’s a matter of personal preference. Most of my patterns, including Optical Illusion, give 2-1/4″ as the cut width for binding strips. But over the past few years, I often cut my strips 2″ wide and sew them to the quilt with a scant 1/4″ seam allowance. If you’re a beginner, it may be a little easier to cut binding strips at 2-1/4″ wide.

Step 2 – Sew the binding into a continuous length

bind_3 diagonal seam christa

To join the strips with mitered seams, place two strips right sides together at a 90 degree angle. Sew them together across the diagonal as shown. Join all of the binding strips into one long piece.

Trim the seam allowances to 1/4″ and press the seams open.

bind_4 trim end 45º christa

Trim one end of your binding at a 45 degree angle as shown above. This will be the starting end.

Step 3 – Press the binding

bind_6 press christa

Press the binding wrong sides together along the entire length.

Step 4 – Trim the quilt and walk-around

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_5 trimming christa

Note: the quilt above is Moder X – patern available here while supplies last.

Quickly do a “walk-around” by running 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.

Step 5 – Attach the binding to the quilt

Please note: These instructions are for sewing binding to the front of the quilt and then sewing it by hand on the back to finish. If you prefer to bind completely by machine, see this video. Or:

Click to see a blog post about binding by machine.

Now back to Step 5: Attach the binding to the quilt

Starting at least 6″ – 8″ away from any corner, place your binding on the front side of the quilt and leave a tail of about 6″ – 8″. Line up the raw edges of binding with the raw edges of your quilt. The fold should be toward the quilt.

Attach a walking foot or even-feed foot or use a dual-feed setting on your machine. Starting at the pin as shown, stitch the binding onto the front of the quilt with a 1/4″ seam allowance.

As you come to a corner, stop stitching 1/4″ before you reach the corner and sew off the corner at a 45º angle.

It will look like this. In order to miter the corner, fold the binding up and away from yourself. Keep the raw edges of the binding in line with the raw edges of the quilt as shown.

Next, fold the binding back down toward yourself, creating a tuck of fabric underneath.

The fold will form a little triangle that stands up off the quilt.

The fold will form a little triangle that stands up off the quilt; later it will form the miter on the quilt front. Now the quilt goes back under the machine.

Starting from the edge of the quilt, stitch the next side of binding down until you reach the next corner. Repeat this process for all four corners until you approach your starting point. STOP when you’re about 8″ away from where you began.

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.

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

Sew that last part of the binding to the quilt. Now the binding is attached all the way around the quilt.

Step 6: Sew the binding down

The next step is to fold the binding to the back of the quilt and sew it down by hand. I love using binding clips all round the edges to hold it down. Here’s the only picture I got of my binding Optical Illusion:

binding clips

Click here to see a video of how I sew my binding down by hand.

Congratulations on finishing strong! And thank you for quilting along with me!

Optical Illusion Pattern Cover spread

Click here to get the Optical Illusion pattern in paper format.

Click here to get the Optical Illusion pattern as a pdf that you’ll download instantly to print yourself.

Optical Illusion Quilt Along

Click on each part you’d like to see.

  1. Part 1: Cutting for Optical Illusion
  2. Part 2: How to Make the Blocks
  3. Part 3: How to Sew the Quilt Top
  4. Part 4: Prepare Backing, Batting and How to Baste the Layers
  5. Part 5: Machine Quilting

Christa’s Quilt Along 3.9 – Finishing Charming Chevrons

Free Quilt Pattern

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

I’ve come to the end of my Charming Chevrons tutorial and it’s kind of sad. I really loved every minute of making this quilt! Today I will demo binding. Scroll to the end for links to the previous steps plus my announcement for my next DIY quilt-along starting next week!

Charming Chevrons Quilt

Christa’s Charming Chevrons

If you like this quilt and want to make one just like it, Charming Chevrons quilt kits are available from my shop for a limited time.

Step 1 – Trimming The Edges (10 Minutes)

When the quilting has been completed and all of your basting pins removed, it’s time to trim the extra backing and batting and square up your quilt.

CornersEdges


Use a large square ruler for the corners and a long 6 to 8 inch wide ruler for the sides. The markings on the ruler help keep things nice and even. I use the long lines to make sure I am cutting straight.

If the quilt seems a little wavy, I will block it at the end after binding by soaking it in the washing machine, and laying it out flat on a table to dry. (I do this only if I know for sure the fabrics won’t bleed when wet – I’ve had way too many “accidents.”)

Step 2 – Making the Binding Strips (15 Minutes)

Binding 2I sew continuous double fold straight grain binding strips that I make myself.

Cut enough 2 1/4″ wide strips to go around the perimeter plus about 10 extra inches.

For this quilt I cut a total of 7 strips that measured 2 1/4″ by the width of the fabric (40″-42″).

Join the strips together on a mitered (45 degree) angle to smooth out the seam formed by sewing the strips.

Join all the strips together so that you have one continuous piece with the joined seams all going the same direction.


At the beginning of the binding, cut off one end at a 45 degree angle. Then press the binding in half lengthwise (press seam allowances open).

Angled Binding

Press Binding


Step 3 – Attaching the Binding to the Quilt by Machine (35 Minutes)

Sewing the BindingLeave a few inches of a “tail” unsewn when you begin.

Do not start at a corner, and quickly measure your binding around the perimeter of the quilt to ensure it is long enough.

Try not to end up where you have any of your seams in the corners. Adjust your start if needed.

Use a matching cotton thread in the top and bobbin and use the same thread to finish your binding (whether by hand or machine).

Using a walking foot, sew with 1/4″ seam allowances and stop when you reach exactly 1/4″ inch from the end of your first corner. Take the quilt off the machine and fold the corner like the pictures below. This will create nice crisp mitered corners when you fold them over.

Click on the pictures below to see a larger version for more detailed closeups.


Stop at Corner

Fold Up

Fold Down


Repeat for all corners of the quilt and leave a few inches of “tail” when you near the end.

Binding EndOpen up both folded ends and with a pen, mark where the beginning meets the end.

Cut off the excess 1/2″ away from the marked line (for seam allowances) and join the two ends together.

You can see I cut off a full extra strip’s length of binding but just barely!

It’s better to have too much length than not enough!

Once your ends are joined, finish  sewing down the binding completely to the front of the quilt.


Step 4 – Hold the Binding in Place With Pins or Glue  (30 Minutes)

To baste the binding in place on back, I usually use pins and Pinmoors.  However, for this quilt, I wanted to try a glue pen to temporarily adhere the binding to the back of the quilt.  It worked like a charm and I got to see what the quilt looked like before it was done. I was even able to glue the corners in place to form a pretty miter. That will be much easier to sew!

Glue Stick


Step 4 – Finish by Hand or Machine (Hand Sewing 5 Hours)

Whether I finish my binding by hand or machine, the above steps are still the same. Because I finished this quilt for QuiltCon (and possibly other quilt shows), I chose to sew by hand.  So I got nice and comfy on the couch and watched a couple movies while I stitched away.

Binding by Hand

For more info on both types of finishes, you can read my post about hand-binding and my machine binding tutorial.

Charming Chevrons Tutorials. Click the links below to go to that post.

Here are Charming Chevron’s Vital Statistics

  • Original design, pieced and quilted by Christa Watson
  • Finished size 46″ x 54″, completed November 2012
  • Finished block size 8″, 42 blocks total
  • Made from 4 packs of Kona Cotton charm squares (2 New Classic colors, 2 Ash grey)
  • Pieced backing, shades of grey with pops of color
  • Double batting (Warm-N-Natural and Legacy Wool)
  • Superior Highlights trilobal polyester in top and bobbin  for pebbles (18 colors)
  • Isacord Sterling polyester in top and bobbin for chevron outlines
  • Total piecing time: 9.5 hours
  • Marking and basting: 2.5 hours
  • Total quilting time: 28 hours
  • Total binding time: 6.75 hours

Sharing is Caring

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