Let’s start with the math (Oh No Mr. Bill).
How many inches of binding you will need? Measure the width of the quilt and the length of the quilt. Add two of the lengths and two of the widths together. This will give the total length of the binding strip needed. Then divide this large number by the width of the fabric measurement. This number will be how many strips of fabric you will need for the binding. Always round this number up. Extra binding is for the corners and the joining at the end.
Ex: Quilt is 64” x 72”. Add 64 + 64 + 72 + 72 = 272” of binding needed. 272/42 = 6.47 strips needed. You will cut 7 strips.
Next, how wide do you want the binding to be. This is based on folding your strip in half and having one raw edge and one folded edge to sew. I like my final binding to be narrow, between ¼ “and 3/8”. Most people cut their binding strips 2 ½” or 2 ¼” to get their binding this size. You will press the strip in half (1 ¼” – 1 1/8” wide). Your binding will be about 1/3 of these widths (Just under ½” to just over 1/3”). If you want your binding bigger, reverse the process for the math.
Ex: ½” binding wanted. Multiply the ½ x 3 = 1 1/2” Now double this number to get the width of your strip – 1 ½ x 2 = 3” strips.
Multiply the width of your strip times the number of strips you will need. This will give you how much fabric you will need for binding. Cut this fabric into strips the width you determined above.
Ex: 3 x 7 = 21" of fabric needed. Closest amount sold is ⅔ yd (24"). Cut this piece of fabric into 7 strips, 3" wide. You will have enough for one additional strip, just incase.
Next you need to sew your strips together. You can sew them end to end. Make sure you trim off the selvedge before sewing and have at least a ¼” seam allowance. After sewing, press the seam open. This works fine for the wear but can give you a lot of bulk in one spot. You can also sew the strips together at an angle which will decrease the bulk. Place your strip ends at a right angle leaving a little extra at each end. Mark across the strips from the little space made from the extra fabric to the same space across the fabric. Sew on this line. Trim the seam allowance to ¼” and press open. You can chain piece putting the ends together. Just be aware of the right and wrong side of the fabric if you are using solids or batiks.
I press the strips in half, wrong sides together at this point. Jenny Doan presses her strips first, uses the pressing lines to line up the strips. Either way works, your preference. Whichever you choose, after you have your strip together and pressed; roll it up and anchor it. I use the legs of my extension table. You can use a paper towel holder, a cone thread holder, or anything that is a vertical pole/dowel. There are also commercial binding holders as well.(A quilting tool for everything!)
You’re ready to attach the binding to your quilt. Put your walking foot on your sewing machine. You are sewing through lots of layers and you don’t want the foot pushing your binding along.
If you will be hand sewing down the finished edge, start by sewing the binding onto the top. If you are going to machine sew down the binding, attach the binding on the back first.
Start along any side and pin the binding, raw edges together, leaving an 8”-12” tail. Pin to the corner. Mark the ¼” spot from the end of the quilt on your binding. Start sewing towards the corner. Back tack at the spot you start sewing. Make sure your are sewing a scant seam allowance of the size of the binding you have decided on, especially at the corners. ( I do a scant ¼” seam. When you get to the ¼” mark, turn and sew towards the corner. This should be at a 45 degree angle and only a couple of stitches.
Next you fold the binding up along the angled stitching. Now fold it down along the two edges of the quilt. Mark a spot on the binding that is the same distance down from the top and side that equals your chosen seam allowance. You will start sewing at this spot. Sew forward a few stitches(4-6). Back stitch the same number of stitches and then go forward to the next corner, stopping the seam allowance distance from the end. Repeat all these steps at each corner. Stop sewing 8” – 12” away from the original starting spot. Back tack at this spot.
To join the ends of your binding, overlap the tails and trim the overlap to the width of your binding piece (whole, unfolded width). With the quilt towards you and the edge at the top, unfold the binding edges, place them right sides together perpendicular to each other and pin them together. Mark and stitch across just like you did for joining the strips. Stitch a thread or two size inside your mark. After sewing press open and trim the seam, fold the binding in half again, and pin the binding down. Now sew the open spot along the edge of the quilt, back tacking at both ends.
Now press – the binding towards the edge. Turn the quilt over and press the binding down, over the edge. The binding should be able to cover the stitching from where the binding was attached on the other side. The corners should fold themselves. I use wonder clips to hold down the binding and the corners. Now you can hand sew the binding or machine sew it down. If you machine sew, the stitching should be on the edge of the folded edge and just next to the binding on the other side.
If the pictures and descriptions are hard to follow, here are a few good videos you can watch are:
Missouri Star Quilts Binding
Just Get It Done Quilts Binding
Connecting Threads Binding Instructions and Videos
Thank you everyone who came in with masks on last week. Until the delta variant slows down, please continue to wear a mask inside. we are doing the same.
On sale this week is the mask panel from Windham designers and elastic packages for the ear loops. 20% off all.
Have a wonderful week and enjoy the lower humidity.
Happy sewing everyone,
Phyllis and the QA staff