You’ve make the quilt top, made the quilt sandwich it with batting and backing, quilted it, and now what? It is time to choose whether you want to bind the quilt to give it a nice edge or face the quilt so that just the design shows.
Learn more about facing a quilt. In this step-by-step tutorial I’ll show you how to bind your quilt including how to prepare your binding, how to make mitered corners and how to join the ends of your binding for a nice clean finish.
There are different methods, but this is my go-to binding process.
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What is a quilt binding? Why is it important?
Quilting binding is a strip of fabric that finishes the edges of a quilt. It covers the raw edges of the quilt to finish the edge and adds durability to the edges of the quilt.
I prefer a double fold binding which is the fabric folded in half. This is more durable than a single fold binding along the edge of the quilt.
How do I choose fabric for the binding?
This is the fun part! You can choose a binding fabric you used in your quilt, something that blends or pick something different that pops and really adds a frame to your quilt!
It is best to pick a fabric similar to the type used for the quilt. I generally only bind quilts with quilting cottons. Since the binding folds to the back of the quilt, I like it to coordinate or blend with the backing fabric.
You can make a scrappy binding by piecing several fabrics together.
How to make binding strips for your quilt
Binding is generally double folded and cut on the straight grain of the fabric.
This adds durability to the edge of a utilitarian quilt like a baby or bed quilt. And, frankly, I find it easier to work with a double binding for art quilts, too.
The back of the quilt has a folded edge for the binding that is much easier to work with than trying to fold back an edge of a piece of fabric on the back.
Think about your quilt, how wide do you want the binding to show?
For a baby or bed quilt, you might want 1/2-inch to show on the front of the quilt. To determine how wide to cut your fabric, think it through. 1/2-inch for the seam allowance on the front, 1/2-inch to wrap the fabric around the front to the back and 1/2-inch for the back. This is 1-1/2 inches. Now double that, because the binding will be folded in half. This is 3-inches. Remember the fabric is going to wrap around the raw fabric edge of the quilt and there is a thickness to the quilt. I generally add another 1/2-inch. So, for a finished 1/2-inch binding to show on the front of a quilt, cut your binding at 3-1/2 inches.
For art quilts, I like a 1/4-inch binding on the front and cut the binding at 2-1/2 inches. ((1/4 + 1/4 + 1/4) x 2 + 1/2) Here is a quick binding width calculator:
How to determine how many strips of fabric you’ll need for your binding
We now know the width of the binding. Next, you need to determine the number of strips of fabric you’ll need for the binding.
Measure all four sides of your quilt. You will need at least 20-inches more in the length of the binding to make the mitered corners and join the ends of your binding. Take the four sides of your quilt, the perimeter of your quilt, PLUS 20-inches. Measure the width of your fabric. Determine how many strips of fabric you’ll need for the binding.
Example: Your quilt is 36-inches square. You’ll need 36 x 4 + 20 = 164-inches of binding. If your fabric is 40-inches wide, you’ll need five (5) strips. Always round UP. There is nothing worse than being short of binding by a few inches.
Now that your binding is made, you are ready to begin sewing your binding to your quilt top. Mitered corners make for a nice finished corner. We have a full article about making mitered corners. Here are the basic steps for a mitered fold.
Start by leaving a tail of 8-10 inches of your binding so that we can finish it when the time comes. Sew the raw edge of the binding to the raw edge of the front of your quilt so that you will have a nice folded edge to turn to the back of the quilt where it will show. I like to sew my binding on with my walking presser foot, sometimes referred to as an even feed foot.
You can use pins or wonder clips to hold the binding in place. For mini quilts you probably won’t need them.
Sew the binding along the quilt edge, lining up the straight edges. Stop sewing and backstitch about one (1) stitch before you get to the seam allowance.
Cut your threads and shift your quilt 90-degrees. Fold your binding so that it has a diagonal fold from the seam you just stitched to the corner of the quilt. The binding edge forms a straight line with the edge of your quilt.
Next, carefully fold the binding back down onto the quilt forming a fold on the top edge of the quilt and lining up the raw edge of the binding with the edge of this side of the quilt. Now you are ready to sew the next side of the quilt.
Begin sewing about 1 stitch in from the 1/4-inch mark.
Continue sewing your binding down and making mitered corners at each corner.
How to join your binding ends
So, you’ve made four mitered corners, three sides are fully sewn down and now you’re ready to join the binding edges. You should have at least 8-10 inches of binding loose on both ends. (If not, do some un-sewing.) We have a full article with tips and trick on how to join your binding ends.
Here is how the joined binding looks before sewing to the quilt.
Here is another image of the binding joined on a quilt.
Now you are ready to finish stitching the binding to your quilt!
Press the binding to the outside. The folded edge will be on the outside edge.
Turn half of the binding to the wrong side. At each of the corners carefully fold the fabric making your miters nice and pretty. Fold the fabric on the back to make the corners nice on the back, too.
Stitch the binding down. I prefer to hand sewinghttps://amzn.to/3rO5c13 the binding to the back of the quilt, but some people are really good at stitching from the front side and catching the back binding. Or, you can zig zag it in place if this your quilt is a utilitarian quilt, like for a dog bed.
I start with a quilter’s knot and hide it on the inside of the binding. Using a small stitch length I handstitch the binding just outside the seam line. When I get to the end of the binding, where I started, I pull the thread tail into the quilt sandwich.
The end result is a finished beautiful quilt with mitered corners and binding! I hope you enjoyed this binding method.
Browse through more quilt tutorials on Create Whimsy.