There are as many ways to bind a quilt as there are to sew a half square triangle. None of them are wrong. It all boils down to what method works best for you. I am sure I haven’t tried every method out there, but believe me, I have tried A LOT, A LOT of them! Binding is a study in and of itself.
After all of the trials and many errors, this is my fail proof method of making a beautiful binding. I like it because #1 it is all machine stitched. #2 there is no apparent stitching on the front. #3 it finishes so pretty on the front and back.
So, without any more introduction, if you have a few minutes to read, here we go:
- Trim backing and batting to match the top.
- Sew or serge the edges together. This is important because if you don’t, the backing will shift as you are sewing the binding down. Make sure your corners are square.
- Cut your binding material into 2 1/2″ inch strips and join together by placing right sides together, matching one short end to one long end in a backwards L shape. Sew diagonally from point to point as shown. I sew these chain style and then trim and seperate them in one step.
- Press the entire strip in half. Be as exact as you can. Press the joining seams open as you go. This will help with bulk when you are folding the binding over. Trim the little dog ears flush with the binding.
- Leaving about a 12″ tail, begin sewing the binding to the FRONT of the quilt. Start in the middle of one side. Use a 1/4″ seam allowance. Try to leave a slight peak of the backing as you go.
- Sew to the corner leaving a close guessed 1/4″ inch unsewn.
- Line the bottom quilt edge up to something that is straight like the edge of your machine, a table, or a quilt mat. While holding the edge straight, pull the binding back and make it straight with the same long edge. Check the fold to see if it looks like a nice diagonal miter.
- Fold the binding back onto the quilt making sure to hold the miter. Turn the quilt and continue sewing 1/4″ down the next side.
- I like to stop about 12″ down and check my corner. If it doesn’t fold on itself the way I like it, then I only have to remove a few stitches and try it again. I really suggest you do this. It isn’t hard if you catch it right away.
- Continue this way all around the 4 sides and four corners of the quilt. Stop about 8-10″ from the end of the beginning binding. (To join the binding together, I like the Perkins Dry Goods Method)
- With the top facing up, place the unfinished binding edges on a flat surface. Fold binding back on itself to the left and to the right and flat against the quilt edge. Leave about 1/4″ space between the folds
- Cut the left binding on the fold
- Open the cut piece and measure the right side binding with it. Cut the top two layers of the right side binding to that measurement.
- Fold the left side in on the diagonal and place the right side inside of it like a finished binding.
- This next step feels a little awkward– Hold the fabric pieces together very tightly. Open the fabric up, square the pieces together nicely and sew them together on the folded line of the left side. The quilt will be to the side, pulling a little. You might want to pin if this bothers you.
- Open and check your accuracy in stitching, trim the excess fabric and finish sewing the binding down. Yea! It fits perfectly every time!
- Now comes the all important step of ironing. Your iron is your best friend when sewing anything, but especially when binding. The iron wants to help you get those perfect corners and well matched seams on the back. It does most of the work. I can not stress enough–Use your iron!
- On the right side, press the binding away from the quilt. Do not worry about the corners yet.
- Turn the quilt over, fold the binding down making sure to be covering the stitching and press AGAIN.
- When you get to the corner, take care to make the angles opposite on the back from the front. I sometimes use a dot of glue under the folded fabric and then give it a press to hold it together.
Finally, time to sew down the binding!
- Change to a stitch in the ditch foot or a blind hem foot on your sewing machine. Most machines have one. It has a small piece of metal hanging down from the foot. The blind hem foot has a little screw on the side to adjust the plate to the needle. Yours may look different than mine. Mine is a white blind hemmer and did not come with my machine. Here are some pictures of a few feet on Amazon.com
- With the right side up, place a corner of the quilt under the foot and make the needle go directly into the corner. Adjust the foot so the metal guide is directly in seam or ditch.
- Begin sewing. Watch the edge of the fabric on metal plate. Do not worry about the needle. It will be in the right place if you get the plate right. You can sew rather quickly now:).
- Use your fingers to feel that the backing is folding nicely over the back stitching and every so often look on the back to check the accuracy of the fold. This is especially important at the beginning. If it isn’t catching the back, adjust your needle or the plate to the needle with the screw.
- Sew all around the quilt making sure to stop in the corners with your needle in the down position and turn.
- Hand sew the corners closed for a PERFECT corner:). Yea!! This is optional, but I like how it really matches up the fabrics.
Thank you for stopping by! Let me know if you have any binding tips.