December 22, 2010

How To Bind A Quilt

I put A LOT of work into my quilts. 

I spend hours at the fabric store comparing fabrics and picking the perfect ones for my project.  Each quilt is carefully hand cut, machine pieced, unpicked several times and pieced again, I want it to be perfect. 

I hand quilt all (one exception) my quilts, which takes days to weeks to months depending on the size of the quilt and the pattern I choose to Quilt. 

The final touch on my quilt is the binding and after all my hard work the last thing I am going to do is slap a strip of fabric on the end pin it and machine stitch it on. 

So! I've taken the time to learn how to make a beautiful continuous binding with mitered corners.  Here's how I do it.  If you care to see.

Cut Your Binding Strips
2 1/2" by the width of the fabric ( usually 44-45")

Depending on the size of your quilt you'll need several strips. 
For the small 38"x38" quilt I am doing, I used 4 strips.

Lay one binding strip on top of the other at a 90° angle.  Layers should make a square. 

Stitch a diagonal line.  (I have a hard time describing how to stitch it to it's understandable...) Basically look at the picture (left).  When you unfold your strips they should make one continuous strip of binding and the sides should line up.

Trim your excess fabric leaving 1/4" seam allowance.

Repeat until all your binding strips have been connected and trimmed.

Fold your binding in half and press it with a hot iron.  The right side of the fabric should now be seen from front and back.

Take the side with the raw edges and line it up with the unfinished edge of your quilt.  Machine stitch your binding, top, batting and backing together along the edge of the quilt. 

Starting about 1/4 way down the quilt and leaving several inches of binding un-sewn.  (We'll come back to that in a minute.)  And stopping 1/4" from the nearest corner.

To make mitered corners: After you have stopped 1/4" from the corner and trimmed your threads.  Take the binding and fold it back at a 90° angle so it looks like it's heading in the opposite direction it should be. 

Put your finger on the fold to hold it in place.  ( You can use pins if you wish, I personally don't like pins)  While holding the fold, take the binding and fold it over so the raw edges of the binding are laying on the edge of the quilt.  Like shown in the picture.  Stitch from the corner all the way to the next corner.

If you did this correctly you should have a small triangle shaped fold that you can flip from side to side on your corner.
When your quilt is flipped right side up, you binding and mitered corner should look like this.

If you did it correctly continue this process until you finish the last corner, then stop Several inches from the top of your starting point.  Your progress should look something like this.

Layer the Long un-sewn binding end on top of the short and trim so the overlay is about 2 1/2 inches.

This is where it gets a little bit tricky!

Open both ends of binding to reveal the wrong side of the fabric. 
1. Take your ending binding and simply open it and lay it flat.
2. Take your starting piece of binding, opened, and turn it upside down. 

3. Place the ends together just as you did when you started your binding, at a 90° angle with the right sides facing together.  Pin and stitch your diagonal line just as you did before.  

*BEFORE YOU TRIM THE EXCESS* Unfold your strip and Make Sure It Lays Right!*

Turn your quilt over and pull the un-sewn end of the binding over, just covering the seam (so you can't see the threads) and with a needle and thread simply slip stitch the binding on.  Using small stitches with a matching color of thread. 

Once this is completed tie off the end of the thread and pull a small  knot inside the backing layer so it doesn't come undone.  Trim your thread and your beautifully finished quilt is now ready for use... or display... whichever you prefer ☺

This technique obviously takes a bit more time than a simple binding but the end result is worth it.

If you have any questions feel free to leave a comment.  I check them regularly and I'll get back with you as soon as I can.  For an easier response include your e-mail address.

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