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Binding Finally Part 1

Binding Finally - Part 1

 It's finally time to bind your quilt. 


Oh, wait, have you squared up your quilt? Trim off the extra batting and backing to the edge of the quilt top, unless you are using the backing for your binding. Then see below. You may trim off some of the top because the quilting has left the edge a little wonky. The wonky is normal. You need to make sure the corners are square. Use a ruler with a good 90 degree corner, a carpenter’s square, or a laser marker. I worry about the corners more than I do about the sides. I usually measure a consistent distance from a seam in the quilt. It can be the seam from the border or another seam in the quilt. Make sure you have a good sharp blade in your rotary cutter so you can do one smooth cut along the side. You don’t want to saw back and forth here. There are many good videos for squaring up you can view too, for you visual people.

Man Sewing

Just Get It Done (first part of the binding video)

Now on to binding.

Let’s talk about what the choices are first.  

1) You can envelope the quilt before quilting it and just have a sewn edge. I usually top stitch the edges with this type of finishing.

2) You can roll over the backing to bind your quilt.

3) You can interface the quilt.

4) You can do a raw edge finish.

5) You can do a traditional binding of the width you choose.

Doing an envelope style BEFORE you quilt it.

Square up all layers of the quilt to the same size. Put right sides of the top and bottom together. Next add the batting to the wrong side of the top or bottom. Make sure all layers are smoothed from the center out. If needed pin it like you were going to quilt it (this may help keep everything taut). Sew around all four sides, leaving an opening big enough the pull the quilt and batting through. Trim the corners. Pull the quilt through the opening and poke/push out the corners. Stitch the opening shut. Now you can quilt the quilt and it will be done.


You can also create a two layer sandwich (the top and batting) and quilt that. Then put the back on, right sides together of the top and bottom. Sew around the edges, leaving the opening. Trim and pull through. Top stitch around the edge and maybe put some quilting through all the layers (through the middle across and up and down).

I do enveloping with playmats that will be used on the floor. I quilt it lightly because I have used fusible medium weight interfacing or fusible batting. I start with topstitching all around the edge. I then usually follow the roads on the mat or quilt around the big items pictured (castles, town’s buildings, boats, airports, etc). I may also do this with wall hangings or small items such as placemats and table runners.

Here's a good tutorial:

Quilts by Jen

Rolling the backing around to be the binding too.

This only gives you one layer of fabric on the edge of the quilt and at the back. When picking out your back, make sure you like it with your top because it will be the binding too. Make sure your backing and batting are at least 3” bigger than the top. Make your sandwich and quilt the top or send it to a long armer. Try to not go beyond the edge of the quilt top when quilting. Figure how big you want your binding to be around the edge of the quilt. Double this number and trim your back and batting down to that amount all the way around the edge of the quilt (for a ½” binding, cut down to 1”).  Trim the just the binding down to the edge of the quilt top, carefully. You don’t want a hole in the backing/binding.  Make sure you get the corners really square. On one side, press the backing to the edge of the top, wrong sides together. Now fold the backing/binding over once more to cover the edge of the top. Press and clip the binding down. At one corner, fold the corner to form a 45 degree angle. Now repeat the folding to the quilt edge and then over the quilt edge on the side where you just folded. This will give you a mitered corner. Repeat all the way around. Machine stitch all the way around on the edge of the binding.


Here are a couple of good tutorials:

Missouri Star Quilting

New Quilters

Facing your quilt

This would be for an art quilt or wall hanging. You don't need a beautiful back or binding, but you want a finished edge. I found this great tutorial at Colorado Creations Quilting "5 Tested Ways to Easily Finish Your Creative Art Quilt" by Jackie Vujcich. It's the section on artist's binding. For the entire tutorial, click here.

  1.     Measure each side of your quilt. Cut each strip 2 ½” wide by the length of the sides less 2”.   You may need to piece strips to get the length if it’s a large quilt.


  2.     Then aligning the raw edges and with wrong sides together, press along the long side.
  3.     Cut four squares; fold (wrong sides together) along the diagonal and press.


    I use anywhere from 3” to 6” squares for each corner-the larger the quilt, the larger the square’s size. (For this tiny sample, I used 3” squares.)
  4.     First, pin the triangles to the quilt top in the corners aligning the raw edges; then center and pin each binding to the quilt top’s sides.  The length is intentionally short to help reduce bulk in the corners. 

  5.     Sew binding to the front of your quilt all the way around using a ¼” seam.  Cut the bulk away from the corner.

  6.     Flip the binding to the back of the quilt so that the binding does NOT show at all on the front of the quilt.


    Push out the corners with a blunt object like the Purple Thang or a chopstick.

    You should see some of the front of the quilt on the back side.  


Hand-stitch the binding down to the back of the quilt; making sure the thread only goes through the back and batting. 

All of the videos and tutorials are a little different from what I write about and from each other. Remember there are no quilt police but there are many ways of doing the same thing. Each time I watch the videos I learn something new that improves my techniques. I hope you can do the same.                                         

Next week we will see how to miter the corners for a facing, how to raw edge finish, and how to do traditional quilt bindings.

Don't forget to come in for our 100 Days to Halloween Sale this week. 20% off everything Halloween. 


Happy sewing everyone

Phyllis and the QA staff

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