Binding Your Quilt

Detail of  the Binding sewn on a finished Quilt.

Binding is the fabric is used to cover and hold the raw edges of your Quilt together- the top, batting and backing- after the Quilt is quilted. Making the binding and sewing it onto the Quilt is the last step to finishing your Quilt. 

 

The quilt binding is made from quilting fabric using the width of the fabric. There are a few different methods for making and sewing on the binding. Feel free to research the other ways of binding quilts. Personally I find the method I use to be very easy and achievable, even for the beginner quilter. 

Preparing your binding for a small quilt which is less then 114cm (which is roughly the width of quilting fabric) is easy. If your Quilt is larger you will need to piece the binding together. The following tutorial will show you how to bind a small Quilt, a bassinet Quilt. Later on I will show you how to piece the binding for a large Throw Quilt.

 

Preparing the Quilt for binding, sewing the binding to the edge of the Quilt and hand stitching the binding to the Quilt, the same methods are used regardless of the size of your Quilt.   

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1. You have finished quilting your Quilt, now you are ready to prepare the Quilt for the binding. Place the raw edge of your Quilt on your cutting mat. 2. Using your ruler measure 1/2 inch out from the edge of the Quilt top. 3. Using the rotary cutter cut off the wadding and backing fabric.

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4. Continue cutting all around the outside of the Quilt. You should have a 1/2 inch border of wadding and backing fabric all the way around, out from the Quilt top.

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5. The fabric strips for the binding on this Quilt were cut the width of quilting fabric (114cm wide), using a cutting mat and rotary cutter. Each strip is 3 inches wide. For this Quilt I only required three, 3 inch strips. One strip will be cut and will be long enough for the top and bottom of this Quilt. The other two strips are for the remaining two sides of the Quilt.

 

Lay the top of the Quilt on the ironing board. Take one of the 3 inch fabric strips and trim off the selvage. Firstly you need to measure how much of the strip you are going to need and cut it to the required length. Place the strip on the left-hand side, at the top of the Quilt. Allow a little extra fabric to overhang past the edge of the Quilt.

 

6. Lay the length of the strip across the entire length of the Quilt top along the ironing board. This image shows the 3 inch fabric strip on the right-hand side, at the top of the Quilt. 

 

7. Using your scissors cut off the excess fabric a little way past the edge of the Quilt top. Hold onto the piece of fabric cut off, as this will be used on the bottom of the Quilt.

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11. Sew the binding all the way along the edge of the Quilt on the sewing machine.

 

12. Place the side of the Quilt just sewn on the cutting mat. 

 

13. Measure 1/2 inch out from the seam just sewn on the machine.

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8. Fold and press the fabric strip measured and cut for the binding with the iron. The print side of the fabric should be facing up. 

9. Position the fabric strip with the two raw edges on the strip, facing the top of the Quilt.

 

10. Place the fabric strip in line with the raw edge of the Quilt, all the way along the length of the Quilt top.  Pin in position.

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14. Using a rotary cutter, cut away the excess fabric.

 

15. Place the top of the Quilt with the binding attached on the ironing board. Press the binding with the iron so that it flips open to cover the raw edge of the seam underneath.

 

16. Turn the Quilt over so you have the back of the Quilt facing you on the ironing board. 

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17. Fold the binding over to just cover the stitching on the Quilt.

 

18. Pin the length of the binding in place. Now it is ready to be stitched by hand. You can leave the pins in place and take them out as your sew or, secure the binding with large Tacking Stitches (like you did when you basted the Quilt). The Tacking Stitches can be removed later on the binding has been sewn.

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Once you have the binding for the top of the Quilt in place, prepare and machine sew on the binding for the bottom of the Quilt.

 

Get ready for hand stitching. You need to have the top and bottom bindings of the Quilt complete before you make and machine sew the binding for the two remaining sides of the Quilt. 

To learn how to hand stitch the Binding in place go the the following link-

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Piecing together a Binding for a Large Quilt

 If your Quilt is longer or wider then the width of quilting fabric (114cm) you will need to piece the binding together. Simply it means if the length of the strip is shorter then the width or length the quilt you will need to sew two binding strips together to make them long enough.

Cut the binding fabric to the required binding size, the width of the quilting fabric.

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Cut of f the selveges.

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Sew the two lengths of fabric together and press the seam with the iron.

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To make a longer Binding strip of fabric pin two lengths of fabic together

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Continue making the binding and sewing the binding to your Quilt as instructed on this page.

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Hand-Stitching the Binding

 

With the binding pinned or tacked in place you are ready to hand stitch the binding to the back of the Quilt.

 

A stitch called a Whip Stitch (see diagram a.) is used to join the the binding to the back of the Quilt. It is a simple stitch which involves stitching up and over the folded edge of the binding. On the binding you are aiming for hand sewn stitches which are almost invisible. The needle you use is called a 'Sharps' needle if you do not have one don't stress, any needle will be fine. The colour thread used should match the colour of the fabric on the binding.

 

The following mini-pictorial tutorial will demonstrate how to use a Whip Stitch to hand sew along the binding. 

The binding is held in place with tacking stitches. Thread a Sharps Needle with a cotton thread which matches the colour of the fabric on the binding. Tie a knot at the bottom.

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Starting at the beginning of the binding on the back of the Quilt, with the folded edge of the binding just covering the machine stitches. Take a stitch through the layers of the quilt back and on the edge of the binding. Bury the knot inside the binding.

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Continue stitching the Whip Stitch along the length of the binding. You must hand sew the top and bottom bindings on the Quilt before you make and machine sew on the remaining two sides of the Quilt. Once this is done hand sew the remaining two bindings onto the Quilt.

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The binding is held in place with tacking stitches. Thread a Sharps Needle with a cotton thread which matches the colour of the fabric on the binding. Tie a knot at the bottom.

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You must hand sew the top and bottom bindings on the Quilt before you make and machine sew on the remaining two sides of the Quilt. Once this is done hand sew the remaining two bindings onto the Quilt.

 

Leave the corners of the Quilt as they will be hand sewn in a different way.

Diagram a. above demonstrates how to do a Whip Stitch.

Detail of the binding sewn on the Quilt.

The stitches are small and almost invisible.

Hand-Stitching the Corners on the Binding

The following mini-pictorial tutorial will demonstrate how to sew and finish the corners on the Quilt.

Sewing the corners on the Quilt
Sewing the corners on the Quilt

On each corner of the Quilt cut off the excess fabric on the binding, leave about 1/2 inch of binding.

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Hold the corner of the Quilt like so.

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Sew a Whip Stitch along the binding like you did before to finish the corner of the Quilt.

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Sewing the corners on the Quilt
Sewing the corners on the Quilt

On each corner of the Quilt cut off the excess fabric on the binding, leave about 1/2 inch of binding.

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Your Quilt is now finished!

Now how do you care for your beautiful handmade Quilt?

Click on the following button and it will take you to information about how to care for your Quilt.

Sew Handmade

for the love of handmade