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Saturday, July 6, 2013

Beginner QAL- Binding Your Quilt

Okay peeps!  This is the very last step of the quilt along!  I completely forgot to take process pictures of my QAL quilt while binding, so you'll have to settle for seeing pictures of binding on another quilt- oops!

You may have looked other machine binding tutorials, but there are a couple of things that I do differently than others I've seen.

Binding is much easier to show rather than tell, so I'll warn you now that this is a picture heavy post- which will make it much easier!

Start by folding your binding fabric in half selvage to selvage, so that when you cut your strips, they will be as long as possible.  Cut seven strips, each 2.5 inches wide.

Sew the strips end to end so you have one long, continuous strip.  Many quilters sew these at a 45 degree angle to reduce the bulk of the seam, but I join them normally, then press the seam open.  I've always found this to be easier, and the seam bulkiness is still reduced.

Then press your binding fabric in half, along the length.  This sounds a lot more difficult than it really is.  I promise, it's not too tedious!  Take care to press it evenly though, because you will need every bit of the width!

Once you get it all pressed, it's time to put it on the quilt!  Make sure your walking foot is still on your machine (a quilter's best friend, remember!).  You will want to use the same thread that you used for quilting in your bobbin, and you may want to choose a thread color for the top that matches the binding so it just disappears (and any little mistakes are hidden this way as well).

Turn your quilt over to the back side.  Start on one of the sides rather than a corner.

Leave about six inches of binding loose, then start sewing your binding to the back of your quilt.  Use a quarter inch seam (use those walking foot teeth to help you), and make sure the open edge is lined up with the edge of your quilt.  Don't let your seam migrate any further over, or you won't have enough binding to wrap around to the front.

Again, it's easier to show than explain!

Sew until you get to the first corner, but stop about 1/4 inch away.  It is very important to leave this space.

The only tricky part about binding is...the corners!  But if you know how to fold them properly, they're not hard at all.  You'll end up with beautiful, mitered corners on the front and back of your quilt.  Here's how-

When you get to the corner, flip your binding straight up and angle it from the corner.

Then, leaving that fold intact, fold your binding straight down so that it looks like this-

Scoot that folded corner under your walking foot and sew the next side (remember your quarter inch seam!)  Repeat this process for the other three corners.  

After you've rounded that last corner, you should be looking at the open tail of binding where you started sewing.  Trim one of the strips so that they overlap about two inches.

Here's where my method differs from others I've seen.  Most tutorials have you sew these two pieces together which seems to make sense, right?  The problem is, when I've done that, I've never been able to get the length just right, so it ends up looking a mess.  Here's what I do instead.  

Take your starting binding strip tail and fold it down.  We're creating a faux "seam" Give it a finger press, so the "seam" is nice and crisp.

Then open it up and tuck the other end of the binding inside nice and tight.  The raw edge of the other side is hidden inside, so all you can see is our folded "seam"!  Stitch this down until you meet your starting seam.  Be sure to backstitch to lock it in place!

To finish off our binding, we'll stitch it to the front!  Turn your quilt over, and once again, start on one of the sides (not on a corner).  Pull your binding around to the front.  Take note of the stitching line that shows where you sewed your binding to the back.  You need to be certain that you pull your binding past this seam and stitch it down.  Take your time and try to stitch as close to the edge of the binding as possible.

If you don't pull your binding past this stitching, you will end up stitching over your binding on the back- which isn't the end of the world.  It happens to all of us sometimes!  

When you pull the seam far enough over, you end up with a nice line on the back of your quilt that blends right in with your quilting (because you used the same color thread in the bobbin).

Keep stitching until you get about 6 inches from the corner.

Miter your corner and hold it in place.  It takes a little practice to get the hang of this.  Just play around with it!  You may want to use a straight pin here to hold it in place, but be sure to remove it just before you stitch.  Don't stitch over it or you'll break your needle!

Stitch right around your corner!  Repeat for the other three corners until you meet your beginning stitch.  Backstitch to lock it in place.  

Now stand up, and do a little happy dance,'re done with your quilt!!  

Check out your awesome corners from the front-

and the back!

There's nothing left to do now except link up and show off next week!  

Oh, and snuggle up with your newly finished quilt, of course!

I can't wait to see everyone's fabulous creations!


  1. This has been a great series of posts Kelly! Fantastic work!

  2. Nice tut! It is amazing how many different ways there are for attaching binding. Thanks!!

  3. Nice! I've only done machine binding once or twice. There's something about hand stitching the binding to the back that I just enjoy doing. Then there is the time problem.... Guess I should learn how to hit the machine! :)

    BY the way - I broke up with google which means my bloglovin feed has changed. If you follow me, will you switch your feed to Thanks!

  4. Great photos. I always machine bind my quilts, almost the exact same way!

  5. Nice Tutorial, and such a pointy corner:)

  6. Thank you so much for sharing your talents. It is nice to find new tips to make things go faster and easier.

  7. Newbie here, how do you miter the corners?


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