How to Bind a Quilt

So you’ve finally finished your first quilt and boy are you excited! You have one thing left to do though; binding. This is the part that even the most expert quilters don’t like. However, it is quite necessary. I mean, what else will you do with those pesky raw edges?

So to help you out, today we’ll discuss some easy approaches for how to bind a quilt, leaving it neat and ready to use.

How to make binding for a quilt

Before we get into the step by step process of actually binding a quilt, you first need to get some binding material. While you can buy binding from a store, you can also make some at home. The major advantage of making your own is that it gives you a lot of creative freedom.

Whether you want to go with colorful flowery fabric or a simple neutral tone, it is totally up to you. Interestingly, binding strips can either be cut from the straight grain or the diagonal (bias) of the fabric. While the former doesn’t stretch, the latter is quite stretchy and works well on rounded edges.

Whichever type of binding strip you go with though, the process of making them is the same. Here are the steps:

  1. Cutting out the strips

When making binding, you should cut out a single strip for each quilt edge or simply join several strips to form one long one. As it is easier to work with a single strip, most quilters go for this option. When you’re creating your strip though, don’t forget to add a little fabric length to be safe.

Just measure out your quilt’s perimeter and add around 10 inches to find your strip’s length. This is more than enough to cater for joins and mitered corners. On the other hand, the binding strips should be at least 2 inches wide. 

Since most quilt bindings are sewn with a seam allowance of ¼ inches, anything narrower than this will be difficult to sew. 

  1. Choosing between a single fold and double fold
bind a quilt
Source: Treasurie

The main factor to consider when deciding whether to go with a single fold or double fold strip is your project needs. As such, since single fold strips are unfolded and have only one layer of fabric, they are mainly reserved for wall hangings and miniatures. (If you want to learn more you can check out our guide about how to hang a quilt too!)

On the other hand, double fold strips are durable, popular, and can be used for a variety of projects. Since they are a favorite among quilters, our tutorial will focus on working with them as opposed to their single fold counterparts.

  1. Joining the binding

To reduce bulk in the joins, sew the binding strips diagonally. To accomplish this, place two strips perpendicularly on top of each other, the bottom one with the right side up and the top one with the wrong side up. After that, sew from one corner of the intersection to the other as shown below.

Source: Village Bound Quilts

Once you’re done, trim around ⅛ inches from the stitches, press open the seam, and trim the edges.

How to Bind a Quilt

Before we go any further, we have to mention that binding can be done either by hand or using a sewing machine. As such, we will provide instructions for both.

How to Machine Bind a Quilt

  1. Prepare your quilt

Now that you have your binding strips ready, it is time to prepare your quilt for binding. First of all, you should use a rotary cutter to square your edges. To make your edges cleaner and crisper, use large rulers to guide you. This way, you can get perfect 90-degree corners.

While it may seem tedious and unnecessary, squaring your edges makes binding easier. To further simplify things, you can serger or zig-zag the edges as well.

  1. Start binding

The first thing you should do is lay your binding strip along the perimeter of your quilt, ensuring that the seams don’t fall on the quilt’s corners. Ensure that the binding is laying on the right side of the quilt with their raw edges together. 

Then insert the walking foot into your sewing machine and start sewing. Your stitches should be located ¼ inches from your quilt’s edge and start 6 to 8 inches from your quilt’s corner, leaving a tail of the same distance. Stop sewing ¼ inches from the first corner you encounter and remove your quilt from the sewing machine.

  1. Bind your quilt’s corners

Create a tuck by lifting the binding up and folding it away from the quilt. The binding edge should be in line with the quilt’s edge. Bring the binding back down to complete the tuck as shown below.

Source: Treasurie

Continue sewing on the edge, maintaining your ¼ inch seam allowance and making tucks on the corners you encounter along the way. Stop sewing when you get to where you started and leave a tail of 6 to 8 inches. Let the binding tails meet in the middle and mark where they meet. 

Put the right sides of the ends together and stitch across where you had marked. Fold the binding back in place and continue sewing along the remaining edge maintaining your ¼ inch seam allowance. For a finished look, trim the corners.

  1. Bind the wrong side

Now, it’s time to turn your quilt to its wrong side and bind it as well. Hold your binding in place using pins or clips and fold the corners into diagonals. Afterward, sew by hand or machine. 

How to bind a quilt with the backing

Although it isn’t as neat as using binding strips, this is an easy way to bind small quilts. This process only involves three steps. These are:

  1. Prepare the patchwork and backing

After you’re done with the front, attach the batting to the wrong side, and neaten the edges to create a perfect square or rectangle. Then cut out backing fabric that is 2 inches larger than the front, creating a 2-inch boundary all around the front.

  1. Quilt and fold binding

Quilt the top, as usual, stopping at the top raw edge. Afterward, you should trim the backing to now be 1 inch wide all around. Fold the corners inwards and secure them with pins. Then fold them again, hiding the raw edges as much as you can. 

Fold the backing edges in half and then fold them again to hide their edges. Pin the folded area all around the top and neaten the corners where necessary. This creates a binding all around the quilt top. 

  1. Stitch

Now you can sew the binding, starting a few inches from the corner of the quilt. You can either sew by hand or by machine. If you’re using a sewing machine, use a straight stitch or a zig-zag one.

How to Bind a Quilt by Hand

Source: Farm & Folk

When it comes to beautiful and intricate patchwork, it is best to bind by hand. This reduces the chances of messy stitches, leaving you with simple invisible ones. You should press the binding and use a slip stitch to attach it, making sure that the corners are sewn closed. 

What is the easiest way to bind a quilt?

If you’re looking for an easy and efficient way to bind your quilt, you should use your sewing machine. While using your hand also works and it is almost invisible, it can be quite tedious. However, at the end of the day, you should always go with the method that best suits you! 

Be sure to check out our other quilting guides too!

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