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How Wide to Cut Quilt Binding

Quilt binding allows you to finish the edges of your finished “quilt sandwich” in a professional way.  Apart from the aesthetics, a properly cut binding provides the quilt with the strength and stiffness it requires to last, especially for heavily used quilts like blankets and bed covers. How wide would you cut your quilt binding for it to fit your quilt?

How Wide Should You Cut Quilt Binding

There is no predetermined width or length that should be used for all quilt bindings. You should cut your binding depending on the size of your quilt sandwich in terms of thickness and the size of your seam allowance. In most cases, an inch of binding will suffice for thin quilt sandwiches but the width could be much wider if you are going for an even wider seam allowance and are working with thick quits.

How Wide to Cut Quilt Binding

If you have never worked with quilt binding before, then you might find it a bit confusing when it comes to cutting it and fitting it onto your quilt sandwich. How do you know whether it will fit and appear as you originally wanted it to be? Is there a standard width that you can use for reference when cutting quilt binding? This is especially challenging if you have limited binding fabric to work with and need to get it right the first time.

Luckily, deciding the width of your binding comes down to the thickness of your quilt sandwich and the size of seam allowance you are going for. The thickness refers to the vertical size of all the materials used to make the quilt sandwich. The seam allowance determines how much of the binding will be cut to cover the edges of the quilt sandwich. 

Follow these steps to cut your quilt binding to the right size:


Free Measurement


Start with a piece of paper to measure and determine how wide your binding will be. Place the piece of paper over the quilt sandwich and use a ruler and pencil to trace your seamline lengthwise. Now turn the paper over the edge of the seam and mark where the binding will reach plus allowance at the back of the quilt. The seam allowance should ideally be a ¼ of an inch or wider depending on the thickness of your quit and stylistic preferences.

Now remove the paper marker from the binding fabric and transfer it to a flat surface for measurement. Grab your ruler and measure the width of the paper to where you placed the mark. This should be the width of your quilt binding if it is a single fold binding. Double the width you got from the paper if it’s a double fold binding. 

Cutting the Binding 

With measurement determined, it’s time to cut your binding and prepare it for stitching. You can use a rotary cutter or any other cutter. Cut the binding lengthwise with the width you just determined from the free measurement to fit the entire length of your quilt sandwich leaving an allowance for a 90-degree fold. Repeat the same for all corners of the quilt sandwich until you have all the binding material you need for the quilt. Some people prefer to cut the entire binding to cover the quilt sandwich perimeter instead of doing it edge by edge, but this is purely up to you to decide.

What to Consider When Cutting Quilt Binding

Binding size

This refers to the entire width of your binding as it will fit your quilt sandwich. The size can be as wide as 4 inches for some thick quilts and as thin as 2 inches for thin quilts. At the same time, the size of your binding will double if you choose to use a double-fold binding. 

Cutting the Binding 

How are you going to cut your binding? There are two main approaches to cutting binding, namely: straight grain or bias grain. Bias grain is used if you are working with a quilt sandwich with oddly shaped, scalloped or curved edges.  Straight grain is used for quilt sandwiches with straight edges and sharp corners such as squares, rectangle and triangles. 

Type of Binding 

There are two main types of binding you should know about even as you decide the width of your binding. 

What Exactly Is Single-Fold Binding and Where Is It Used

Only use single-fold binding for light quilts that don’t see a lot of abuse and aren’t too heavy. Single-fold binding is a type of binding that is only folded once and sewed on the quilt. You only need to cut a single strip of fabric of the right width and stitch its wrong side up to the back of the quilt. Then you will turn the strip to the front folding it in to hide the edge and hand stitch it to the quilt to cover the entire edge.

What Is Double-Fold and Where Is It Used

Double-fold binding is also referred to as French-fold binding. It’s mostly used for bulkier quilts and those that will see a lot of abuse as it provides better reinforcement to the edges. You will need to cut a wider strip of clothing than your measurement to make a double-fold binding. Essentially, you need to cut double the size of your primary width when working with a double-fold binding.

To make a double-fold binding, first, decide how wide your binding should be based on the size of your quilt and how much of the binding you want to show at the top. If you decide that you are starting with a 1-inch width, you’ll need to multiply it by two and then add a ¼ of an inch at the end for your seam allowance.

After determining the width, you can go ahead and cut the binding strips to size based on the perimeter of your entire quilt. If you are a beginner and don’t want to deal with folding the binding while attaching it to the quilt, you can decide to cut four separate strips and sew them together forming a rectangle. This way, you can attach them to your quilt directly. After you are done, fold your strip into two and iron it down to form a double-fold binding.

Sometimes it’s easier to just use ready-made bias tape instead of making your own from scratch. You can find bias tapes of all sizes and materials in any fabric store and apply it to your fabrics. Make sure to choose a bias tape that is the right size and probably has a color that is compatible with your quilt. Most quilters would prefer to buy ready-made bias tape instead of having to make their own binding and wasting good fabric. 

Related Questions

Does Quilt Binding Have to Be Cut on The Bias?

You don’t need to cut on the bias if you are working on square shaped edges. However, bias cuts are necessary if you are working on oddly shaped quilts or those with curved edges that require a specific angle of binding. 

Do You Quilt Before or After Binding?

Binding is the very last thing you will do after you have done the quilting. So yes, you must quilt before you even think about binding. Once you are done with the quilting, you will know what width of binding you will need and how to apply it on the quilt. However, it’s always good to have the binding material ready or at the back of your mind even as you make your quilt sandwich as it may influence the final aesthetic of your quilt.  Even better, have the binding material ready to be cut as soon as you are done with the quilting.

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