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How Wide to Cut Quilt Binding

Quilt binding finishes the edges of the quilt sandwich professionally. Along with the aesthetic appeal, properly cutting the binding offers the quilt the correct stiffness and strength.

It is especially important for the quilts that we heavily use, like bed covers, blankets, etc.

Selecting the right width while cutting the quilt binding is very important for the whole process. And in this detailed article, we tell you how to cut the quilt binding with the right width. 

How Wide To Cut Quilt Binding?

The width depends on the size of the quilt you have folded. Moreover, it also depends on the thickness of the seam allowance.

Generally, one inch of the binding is sufficient for quilt sandwiches. But if you aim to get a wider seam allowance and have a thick quilt, then you will have to increase the width. 

If this is the first time you are working with quilt binding, it is natural to feel confused about the process. When you have limited fabric to work with, getting the right cut becomes more difficult. And the most challenging part is that you have to get it right the first time. 

Fortunately, it is not difficult to understand the right width of the binding. It will entirely depend on the quilt sandwich and the size of your seam allowance.

What do we mean by the thickness of the sandwich? It means the size of all the materials that you are using to make a quilt sandwich – put together vertically.

Furthermore, the seam allowance will determine the amount of binding you need to cut to envelop the quilt sandwich’s edges. 

How Do You Measure The Width Of A Quilt Binding?

Measuring and determining the width of the binding is the first step. Following are the steps that you will need to follow. 

Step 1:

 Start by placing a piece of paper on the quilt sandwich. After that, using a pencil and ruler to trace the seam line along the length. 

Step 2:

Turn the paper over the sea’s edge and mark the area where the binding will hit. Also, mark the allowance at the back of your quilt.  Your seam allowance generally should be a ¼ on one inch. But it can be wider depending on the quilt’s thickness and your style preference. 

Step 3: 

Take the paper from the binding and place it on a flat surface. Thereafter, use your ruler to measure the paper’s width from where you have marked. Now you have a width for a standard quilt binding. 

How Wide To Cut Double Fold Quilt Binding?

To figure out the width of the double quilt binding, you will need to consider the finished look you are aiming for. Generally, the width of double-fold binding is set between 2 and 2 ½ inches. If you want the binding to be the same on the front and back, then keep the width 2 inches. 

Furthermore, if you want the binding to be wider on the back, then keep the width 2 ½ at the back. And, keep the width to 2 ½ if you want the binding to pull over the back effortlessly. 

How Wide To Cut Binding For Baby Quilt?

You have to take a different approach when sewing a baby’s quilt. If there is no border on the baby quilt, you can sew a binding over the edges using a ¼ inches seam. And the width of the binding will match the ¼ inches of the seam allowance. 

Using a wider seam for sewing will impact the other aspects of the design elements. On the other hand, if the quilt has borders, you should use a binding narrower and wider than ¼ inches. 

Width Of Single fold Binding 

Single fold binding features a single layer of fabric that folds over the quilter’s edge. It is not a durable binding for quilts and is used popularly in wall hangings and miniatures. Take the width twice as the finished binding, twice the seam allowance, and a little extra. 

Width Of Double Fold Binding

It is also known as French binding and folds a long strip of fabric vertically to get two layers. You get an extra layer that provides more protection from the wear. You need to take twice the finished binding width and two times the seam allowance. 

How To Cut Binding For Quilt?

Here are detailed steps to understand the steps for cutting the binding for the quilt. 

Deciding The Length Of the Binding

You need to determine how much binding you need to complete all the edges of the quilt. Most of the time, you find the number of binding strips or length required to complete the project. But there is a way for you to measure the length as well. Follow the steps for the same:

  1. Place the quilt flat on the surface and start measuring from the center of the border strip. 
  2. Add the measured length of each side and include an approximate 20 inches to enable seaming strips. You will also need the additional inches for finishing the ends professionally. 

Determine The Type Of Binding 

Prior to cutting the binding strips, you need to ensure whether you are going for single-fold or double-fold binding. Additionally, you should also figure out whether you want to cut the binding single or bias grain. 

Single-Fold Binding

This form of binding includes a single fabric thickness. You can use this binding when you have less fabric. But it does not provide much protection to the edges of the quilt. Therefore, you can use this project on binding that you do not use that often, like miniature quilts, quilts with scalloped edges, wall hangings, etc. 

Additionally, it is cut four times the actual finished binding width combined with 1/8 inches to facilitate fabric turns. The seam allowance you use in the binding should align with the width of the desired finish of the binding. You can use both straight and bias grain to cut single-fold binding. 

Double-Fold Binding

French-fold binding or double-fold binding is the common type of binding. It offers strong protection to the edges of the quilt. Additionally, the binding is cut wider as compared to the single-fold binding. The reason behind it is that you have to double the binding before you attach it to the top of the quilt.

It is cut six times the width of the desired finished binding in addition to ¼ inches to enable folding and wrapping. The seam allowance that you use should be equal to the width of the desired binding. Furthermore, you can use bias or straight grain to cut double-fold binding. 

Now that you have the right type of binding and the measurement ready, it is time to cut the binding. There are two ways to cut the binding, and we will be explaining both of them in the section. 

Straight-Grain Binding 

Step 1: Cut crosswise strips depending on the width you have selected. The strip should match the length you need for the project. Instead of using the lengthwise grain of the fabric, use crosswise straight grain for better elasticity.

Step 2: Lay the strips and pins then in a way that they are perpendicular to each other. Ensure that the raw edges are well-aligned and the right sides are together. Use a pen to mark the joint and then join the strip through diagonal seams to create incessant binding strips. 

Step 3: Leave 14 inches of seam allowance and trim the rest of the excess fabric. Additionally, open the seam allowance by pressing it to make it less bulky. Ensure to trim off the dog ears as well. 

Bias-Grain Binding 

Step1: Start by squaring the fabric edges using an acrylic ruler. After that, locate a 45-degree angle. 

Step 2: Cut strips to the length you need. Ensure to be careful around the edges to avoid distorting or stretching the strips.

Step3: Cut a square from the binding fabric using a straight grain. Additionally, cut the square diagonally in half to create two triangles. 

Step 4: Put together the right sides and match the two triangular edges. After that, sew the triangles using ¼ inches seam allowance to create a parallelogram. Reduce the bulk by pressing open the seam allowance. 

Step 5: Using a pencil or quilt maker and ruler to draw parallel lines along the long bias edges. Make sure to space the lines to the desired width of the strip. 

Step 6: Keep the right sides together, combine the straight-grain edges and match the raw edges to form a tube. Shift the one edge down to maintain the balance so that the top edge aligns with the initially marked line of the edge. 

Step 7: Keeping the fabric intact, sew the edges together using a ¼ inches seam allowance. Keep the seam allowance open by pressing on it. 

Step 8: Thereafter, Cut the marked line on the top is a constant spiral. Every time that you cut through the seam, you will move one marked line down.

5 Common Quilt Binding Mistakes By Beginners  

If you are a beginner, then you might have made one of the following mistakes. And, if you are yet to start your quilting journey, then the following are the mistakes that you have to focus on avoiding.

1. Not Taking Enough Binding Length

It is perhaps the most common mistake that beginners make during quilt binding. You can either run out of binding or run out of fabric. Therefore, be careful while measuring the length and width you will need. Measure twice if you have to, but be accurate. Additionally, you will need more fabric in bias binding as opposed to straight-grain. 

2. Jagged Corners

Always aim for professionalism when quilt binding. Ensure to practice on the scraps before you work on the actual quilt. Jagged corners impact the overall appearance of the quilt. And, regular practice beforehand will assist you in getting the right fold and perfectly square. 

3. Uneven Binding 

Ensure to cut and fold the binding carefully to create a uniform look. You get to position the strip at a 45-degree angle to get the perfect bias-binding. Moreover, trim the edges all across to ensure they are straight. 

You can use a ruler or yardstick to ensure the cut is exactly straight. Another area where you need to focus is the thickness of the layers. They should all be of the same thickness so that your binding also appears evenly thick. 

4. Weak Binding

Imagine making all the efforts to create quilt binding only to find it being worn out in a short time. Edges of the quilt experience the most wear and tear. Therefore, you need to use binding that can ensure durability. 

If you use the quilt regularly, avoid using single-fold binding or self-binding. Double-fold binding and bias binding are the way to create a durable binding for your quilt. 

5. Issues With Sewing

The stitches that are used should align with the scale of the binding. Choosing a fancy stitch might appear great on a broader binding. However, they can overpower a narrow binding. 

Generally, you should go for a thread that matches the binding to ensure it is unobtrusive. Besides, the aim of binding is to bring the frame together to give a proper, finished look. There are many other areas of the quilt where you can add decorative elements. 

What Is The Right Thread For Quilting?

Choosing the right thread for quilting is a confusing process. It is better to go for a thread that is made of staple cotton. Remember, the longer the straps or fibers of the thread, the better the thread is for quilting. It is because the way the thread spins decreases the fuzz.  

Additionally, there will be a decrease in lint when you sew the quilt. While it is not possible to have a lint-free thread, you can achieve a closer result from a long-staple cotton thread. 

Moreover, there is no industry standard for choosing the size of the thread. But the larger the number mentioned on the spool, the finer or smaller the thread is going to be. Generally, you will find two sets of numbers on the thread’s spool. For instance, 50/2; here, the first number shows the thread’s weight, and the second indicates the ply. The three-ply thread is stronger in comparison to the two-ply thread.

What Thread To Use For Quilting?

There are different stages of quilting that may need various kinds of thread. Additionally, the thread will also depend on the kind of effect you are aiming to get from quilting. 

Use two-ply 50 or 60 threads while piecing as it will enable you to sew a precise quarter-inch seam. Additionally, use the same weight of thread at the front and the bottom when sewing. 

It will maintain a constant tension over the top of the quilt. During the quilting process, you are required to use the same spool throughout the project. However, you will need to change the quilt if you want to create bold or textured lines.

A 50 weight thread is ideal for when you want to texture on the top. However, you will continue to see the stitches. And if you want the stitches to hide into the top of the quilt, go for an 80 or 100 weight thread.  Also, focus on choosing the color of the thread that matches the quilt’s top. 

It will allow you to add texture without adding a new color to the design. Moreover, using ultra-thin thread implies that you can include more quilting without creating too much thread build-up. 

On the other hand, if you aim to go for vibrant quilting, you will need heavier weight thread. It will ensure that the thread does not lower into the quilt and stay on the surface. Moreover, adding color is a great way to blend the fabric of the top together. It is also an excellent way to add more layers to the design. 

And, if you are looking for a bolder line, you can go for a heavy-weight thread like a 12 or 13. Basically, there is no one size fit approach to choose the thread. It all depends on the kind of design you want in the end. 

Do I Quilt Or Bind First?

Binding a quilt should be the final step while finishing. So you have to quilt first before binding. And, for that, you need to attach the front and back using batting in the middle. You can machine quilt to make things easier for you.  Moreover, if you are quilting by hand, you need a lighter batting, or else your wrist will hurt. 

What Is The Best Material For Quilt Backing?

Typically, it is advised to use the same material you used in the front for quilt backing. And most people use quilting cotton for this project. However, if you are using some other materials like a flannel lawn for quilting the top, use the same at the back. It will give a uniform look.

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 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. 

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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