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How To Finish A Quilt Without Binding

Quilting is still a fun and fulfilling activity for those who are new as well as the experienced in decorative sewing. A big chunk of your time will go towards designing and putting those designs to the fabric but all that work can go to waste if your finishing isn’t up to par. Most people choose the easy route by binding but you can achieve better results through a non-bonded finish to your quilt. So, how would you finish a quilt without binding?

How To Finish A Quilt Without Binding

Finishing an already designed quilt without binding requires the use of backing fabric and some precise sewing and trimming at the end. We’ll assume that you have already gone through the design process and have your quilts ready to be finished without binding. At this point, you will need to find a backing fabric of your choice (preferably or an interesting color or just plain and not too different from the one used on the quilting material). 

Cut your backing material into two squares using a rotary cutter or any cutter that you use. You can cut it to different shapes also depending on the shape of your quilt and what you are trying to achieve. Make sure to leave a least 1- or 2-inches allowance on the edges. We’ll assume that you’ve already ironed your backing and cut it to size ready to be attached to your quilt.

Place your backing on a flat surface with the right side facing up ready for the quilt. Next, take your finished quilt and position it on top of the backing with the wrong side facing up. You might find it easier to pin both of them together all around so that you don’t have to worry about positioning when it comes to sewing.

Determine your seam allowance (probably 1.4 of an inch) and stitch the two together using a normal running stitch of your desired length. Remember to leave an opening on any side of the whole quilt so that you can turn it inside out after sewing! Trim your edges with a rotary cutter and then turn your finished quilt inside out using the hole/gap you left to reveal the quilt. You can hand sew the opening to complete the job.

Step by Step to Finish A Quilt Without Binding 

Finishing a quilt without binding requires some ingenuity and patience. Most traditional quilts did not have binding but could still have a professional finish. With the right materials and time on your hands, you can finish your quilts and have them ready for use in no time.

Here is a more detailed and easier to follow guide you can use to finish your quilts without binding:

Step 1- Preparing Your Materials

You will need your finished quilt to follow this process. Ensure you have already prepared your quilt and also cut it to shape, trimmed it and are ready to finish it as needed. You will also need backing fabric of any color but a color that goes well with your quilt design is preferable. 

Have some thread ready to sew the seam of your finished quilt with.  The color of the thread matters if you plan to have it show up on the right side of your finished quilt otherwise a matching color would suffice. You could also choose to use the same color thread that is predominant on your quilt to achieve some uniformity in the design but that is definitely up to your stylistic preferences.

Step 2- Placing Your Fabric Backing

Cut your fabric backing to size so that it matches the shape and probably a few inches larger in size than your quilt. This will allow you to have an allowance when sewing the seam. Next, set your backing on a flat surface with the right side facing up and iron it down to be ready for the quilt and sewing.

Step 3- Placing Your Quilt

Place your finished quilt on top of the fabric backing with the right side facing down. Make sure both the quilt and backing are properly aligned before you secure them together using a series of straight pins ready for stitching. The quilt is placed this way because you will eventually turn the two of them (quilt and backing) inside out. 

Step 4- Stitching the Seam

Measure a seam allowance of about 1.4 inches and run a stitch around attaching the backing to the quilt. Leave a hole/gap on one side of the finished seam so that you can use it to turn it after finishing. You can sew the gap shut by hand later using a ladder stitch. In terms of the stitch, a simple running stitch or backstitch would do so long as its set to the right tension to secure the seam.

Step 5 Trimming the Seam 

Place the finished piece on a flat surface and use a rotary cutter to trim the allowance down to less than an inch depending on your stylistic preferences. It’s best that you use a guiding ruler when trimming the edges and that you use a sharp cutter.  At this point, you can iron the finished quilt down again to make sure it’s well-aligned and secure. 

Some people also like to go an extra step to secure the edges from fraying by adding a zigzag or Serger to the edges at this point. You can do this if the material you are working with is prone to fraying even if the edges will be on the inside of the quilt during use.

Final Step- Turning and Finishing by Hand

Now, use the gap you left on the side to turn the finished piece inside out and reveal the right side with your finished quilt. Use a simple hand stitch (ladder stitch) to close the gap and voila, your unbonded quilt is ready! How easy was that?

Related Questions

How Do You Finish the Edge of a Quilt?

The most popular method for finishing the edges of the quilt is by adding a binding. This usually involves choosing the right binding, cutting it to size and attaching it to the edges of the quilt. However, there are alternative methods as described in this guide that would be more convenient if you are not interested in traditional binding. 

You can use fabric backing and sew a seam all around the quilt, therefore, making a neat edge that is also quite invisible on the outside of your quilt. However, this method tends to work well with some types of quilts such as decorative quilts and wall hangings. Quilts that see a lot of use such as beddings may need binding.

Do I Quilt or Bind First?

Binding comes last as far as quilting is concerned. You will first need to design and make your desired quilt before you even think about binding. You can, however, prepare or buy your binding material way before you even get started with your quilt. Complete quilting means designing and making the front and back of your quilt and attaching the two pieces. Only then can you know the size of binding to cut and how to attach to your quilt and finish the job.

How Do You Bind A Quilt with Store-Bought Binding?

Some people find it more convenient to buy ready-made binding from the store and only attach it to their quilt. This is perfectly ok so long as you get the right size and dimensions of binding for your quilt preferably with some allowance since you will be cutting some material off as you fit it into your quilt. 

The process for attaching the bind to your quilt is pretty much the same as you would with a homemade binding. Just cut the binding to size and sew it along the edges making all the angles and folds as you desire to finish the quilt.

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