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How To Put Binding On A Quilt

You can use binding as the fabric that keeps the edges of the quilt covered to keep them protected and add another layer to your design. If you’ve been learning to make quilts, putting binding on a quilt is one of the last things to do before completing it. 

Our post below takes you through a step-by-step process to help you feel more confident when it comes to binding your quilts and finishing your projects. 

How To Put Binding On A Quilt

Most of the time, the binding is connected to the quilt by using a machine. You then sew the folded edge by hand stitching or using a machine. You’re able to create a brand new element to your quilt when you add the binding. Let’s take a look at where to start and how to put binding on a quilt. 

Preparation 

The first step toward binding your quilt is to have it properly prepared. Before you square up your quilt, it’s a good idea to put down a basting stitch around the exterior of the quilt. Adding this stitching around the border of your quilt makes it easier for you to add the binding strip without causing the sandwich edges to move. 

You can also place straight pins on the edges of the quilt that have the pointed end facing the edge of the quilt. This can be useful for ensuring that the basting stitch is easier to put down. 

Once the basting stitch has been applied, you’ll want to get rid of the extra batting and materials by squaring up the top of the quilt. An overlock or serger machine can make the squaring up process even easier, but they aren’t a necessity. 

Laying Out The Quilt 

You’ll want to make sure that the binding seams don’t interfere with the quilt corners by laying it out properly. When you begin sewing, the binding seams can become bulky and more tricky to maintain crisp corners. 

It’s pretty common for this to happen and you can fix the problem by moving the binding until you’re confident that there are no seams on the quilt corners. If you work too close to the corners, it can make things more difficult, which is why we recommend that you begin the binding process in the middle part of one side of the quilt.

Another crucial element of the preparation process is deciding where you want to have the binding attached when it comes to sewing it on. You can place it on the front or back of the quilt at the top. This part comes down to personal preference. 

You should also take this opportunity to double-check that you’ve measured up your binding to the correct length so it fits the quilt properly. If the binding strip ends don’t overlap the fabric width, you’ll want to add more binding to make it a minimum of double the width of the fabric. 

For example, the fabric width is 2”, you’ll want the binding width to be at least 2”. If you’re having to add extra binding, you can make it double the width of the fabric width. So, in this example, a fabric width of 2” would mean adding binding width of 4”. 

Don’t worry too much if the extra binding seems excessive because you’ll be cutting most of it off later on. It simply helps to make the binding process simpler as you don’t have to be concerned about the ends matching up perfectly.

After you’re happy with how the binding looks on your quilt, you can start making the edge of the binding and the quilt more secure. There are different ways you can do this with one of them involving pinning the binding around the edge of the quilt. 

You could also choose to pin one side of the binding to the quilt as you go to prevent accidentally being poked by the pins. Some people also prefer not to add any pins but it’s a step that others find to be useful. You could simply use your hands to line up the binding to the quilt edges as you go along. 

Time To Sew

Now that you’ve got your binding set up correctly with your quilt, you can start sewing it together. It’s best to be approximately 10” from the end of the binding and start sewing the binding to your quilt with a stitch length of 2.5 while backstitching to begin with. 

This is the standard stitch length and you’ll want to use an appropriate seam allowance depending on the width of your binding. For example, a binding width of 2.25” would mean using a seam allowance of ¼” around the exterior of the quilt. 

As you begin to stitch, you’ll need to make this seam allowance larger so make sure that the binding is as close to being even on every side of the quilt. Once you reach the end of the binding, be sure to leave a gap of 10” or more in between your starting and ending stitch as the points where the binding hasn’t been connected. You can then backstitch the end to keep the stitches securely in place. 

Using Mitered Corners

Implementing mitered corners provides your quilt with corners that look super sharp. To add mitered corners, stop sewing when you’re around ¼” from the end while working on an edge and cut the threads. 

Bring up the edge that you’re working on to the binding strip on the crease at an angle of 45-degrees. Be sure that the binding strip is perpendicular to the area that you’ve just sewn and that the edge of the binding is parallel with the edge of the quilt that you’re about to sew next. 

Fold the top of the binding strip while keeping it in line with the edge of the quilt so that it folds over itself. When you hold the fabric that has been lined up with the quilt edge, it should look like a triangle. 

Put the binding strip flat and being sewing by starting from the edge of the quilt and backstitching from the beginning point of your stitches. Once that’s done, you’ve completed a mitered corner. 

You may also be interested in using square rulers to help you be more precise with making your mitered corners.

Connecting the Ends 

Once you’re satisfied with how the binding has been attached around the edge of your quilt, you can start on sewing the ends to give it a more natural finish. 

Leave a tail end of at least 6” on both sides of the binding strip and fold it back on every side while making sure to leave a space of ¼”. Grab a straight pin and put it through the crease at the point where it intersects on either the left or right side. 

The pin should poke through from the inside to the outside of the crease. Turn it at a 90-degree angle to make the shape of an X with the tails of the binding. Use a pin to keep the X shape in place and implement more pins if necessary. 

Next, have a straight line sewn to keep the binding strips separated from the binding tails. Be sure to backstitch at the end and beginning to keep it in place. You can then cut off any excess parts from the tail to leave a seam allowance of ¼”. 

Open up the seams and apply pressure with your fingers. Some people like to use an iron if they feel like they can’t apply enough pressure with their fingers. Afterward, hold the attached binding and fold it in half and make sure that the edges of the binding line up with the edges of the quilt. Backstitch the starting and ending points to finish connecting your binding to the quilt edges. 

When that backstitching is done, you will have finished the process of putting binding on your quilt. 

Related Questions

How Do You Select The Binding Width?

If you’re using a quilt without borders, it’s best to use a binding width with a seam of ¼”. This helps to prevent you from accidentally cutting off elements that are important to your design. 

Can You Use Different Binding Fabrics?

You can feel free to be creative when it comes to the type of fabric that you use for your binding. Many people like to include several binding fabrics to add new elements to their quilt.

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