Quilt Binding Tutorial

February 26, 2015 in Projects

Hello Totally Stitchin’ friends!

So, I think I’ve been sewing for probably 12 plus years now (not super long) and really have engaged more in garment sewing and craft sewing. I used to teach sewing classes from my home and had several requests for a quilting class. Since I had never sewn a quilt before, to teach a class, I read a lot about quilting and decided to make one (for first hand experience). The class went well; I think I gave my students a decent start to quilting. Funny though, after teaching the first class, we all decided it may have been a little too difficult for a first basic quilting class, but, I think we all learned a lot together.

In honor of National Quilting Month coming up, here is a quilt binding tutorial! I will show you how to bind a quilt and top stitch the binding down.

1. Quilt binding does not take a lot of fabric. You’ll need to cut enough 2.5″ strips that when opened out and sewn together will trim the blanket. You may find that some quilters use 2.25″ strips. I like to machine top stitch my binding down, so that is why I use 2.5″. So, for a baby quilt I did recently that was about 43″ wide by 53″ long, creating a perimeter of 192″ when your strips are approx. 42″ long (after being sewn together), I needed 5 strips (which would be longer than said perimeter, better than too short)! So, what you can do to find out how many you need. Add up your quilt perimeter, divide by 42″ and round up and that’s how many strips you need to cut. Cut those strips from the width (or crossgrain) of your fabric.

2. Now, you’ll obviously need to sew these strips together to create one long, continuous strip. But, we won’t sew it in the typical way you may think (just creating straight seams). We’re actually going to sew them at an angle so that the seam is less bulky and less noticeable. I used 2 different colors below just to show you how this works. Line up 2 strips, pretty sides facing in, at a 90° angle of each other.

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3. Draw a line from intersection to intersection, making sure to draw it as it is shown below (where the 2 short tails are exposed and the ruler covers the long tails of both strips (otherwise, you’ll draw the wrong line and have the seam in the wrong place and you’ll have to stitch rip).

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4. Pin strips and with your needle in the center, stitch along that line.

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I used white thread for demonstration purposes.

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5. Trim your seam allowance down to 1/4 inch.

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6. Press your seam open. You can then, trim down those points that stick out.

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The top side should look like the image below.

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7. Press your strip in half, lengthwise.

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8. At the very beginning of your strip, press down a 45° angle toward the raw edges.

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9. Pin as shown below on the lower edge of the quilt, close to the middle or 1/3 of the quilt over from the lower right corner. Make sure that the flap that you folded down 45° is actually on top when you pin it. Mine is incorrect below.


In fact, this is how it should look when pinned.

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10. Now, I like to just use the edge of the foot with my needle in the center (it is a 3/8″ seam allowance). Start stitching at the folded down flap until 3/8″ from the edge of the quilt corner. I like to draw this line on my binding at the quilt corner when it’s in my machine as the binding moves a little as it’s being sewn. Backstitch when you reach that line; don’t sew past it.


11. Take the quilt out of the machine. Flip your binding away from the quilt at a 45° angle, as shown below.


12. Then, fold it back in toward the quilt on top of that 45° fold, creating another fold that is even with the outer, raw edge of the quilt.


The picture below is really just to show you the little triangle that this folding action creates at the corner. You’ll actually want to pin it down how you had it folded (shown in the next picture).


13. You’ll want to have that little triangle flap pinned down on top of the previously sewn binding. Either place a pin at a 45° angle at the corner or draw another line 3/8″ from the edge. Start sewing 3/8″ away from the corner, stopping 3/8″ from the end (as we did before).


The picture below shows you the little triangle at the corner and where each stitch line ends at the triangle. They are supposed to meet on either side of the triangle…not stitched over each other or too short of each other. Repeat with all corners.


14. When you get back to the beginning, overlap your binding end about 1.5″. If you’ll notice in the image below, I like to push the end flap down slightly and sew it that way. I do this so that when I wrap my binding, it stays tucked under the top layer of binding. Go ahead and sew even with the foot as you have been, stitch the end down to the beginning completely.


15. Now, I like to press my binding out. Whether you decide to hand sew or machine sew your binding down, this greatly helps keep your binding in place! You don’t have to press the corners at this point, just all of the edges.


16. Flip to the backside, wrap the binding to the backside and press again. You can also press your corners at this point, as shown.


17. Press part of the corner…


and then, the other part of the corner down to get a pretty point.


18. At this point, many quilters like to hand sew the backside of their binding down. I like the quickness of machine top stitching my binding down. So, that is what I will show you next. Ok, so, if I had some of those awesome Wonder Clips, that is what I would have used instead of pins. I don’t have them yet, I should say. 🙂 Anyways, I would recommend those, they really are awesome! However, if you are using pins, I would recommend to pin on top. And, when you pin, try to pin at the seam catching the binding on the under side at the seam and then again when you go back up through the binding. I like to do one side at a time when using pins…less pokey!


19. Stitch in the ditch (right on the seam) or very close to the edge on top of the binding, catching the backside of your binding as you sew. If this is your first time using this technique, I would say to maybe start by sewing on the binding, very close to the seam.


Here’s my stitching in the ditch, again, I used white thread for demonstration purposes…but, I kind of like how it stands out too! 🙂


Here’s the backside of my binding, the stitching right along the edge.


And, if you were wondering what I was binding…it’s a “Heart” pad…hehe, get it?! 🙂 Want to make it? Link to the Quilted Pot Holder Tutorial! I bound the actual hot pad a wee bit differently to create the loop and I didn’t need to piece any strips together as it covered it perfectly, but, everything else remains the same how to sew it on, making the corners, wrapping it, and top-stitching it.


6 responses to Quilt Binding Tutorial

  1. I love the colors in this potholder & especially enjoyed your how to. Keep up the great work you are doing a excellent job. Thank you 🙂

  2. You did an excellent job in this tutorial. Wonderful pictures and explanation. Thank you. I just wish there was a button that would allow you to reconfigure this and allow us to print only the tutorial and would compact it better…

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