Binding – tutorial

I know you can put a binding on your quilt without any difficulty  but if someone looking at this and find binding part is difficult, I hope this help.
I normally use straight double binding tape to bind my quilts which is cut along straight grain of fabric and folded half in length way. If a quilt has curved edges, it needs bias binding tapes but I leave that for another time.
The length of binding tape –
I cut fabrics for binding tapes from full width of fabric which is 44″ – 42″. I consider this as 40″ when I make binding tape because losing bits when stitching tapes together and adding extra for the corners, this 40″ gives a fair estimation. I divide each side of quilt by 40″. My book shelf quilt is 89″ by 89″ and I divided 89″ by 40″ which means I needed 2  1/4 strips of tapes for each side. 2 1/4 *4 = 9. I needed nine strips of fabric for binding.
The width of binding tape –
For most of my quilts, my binding tapes appear as 1/4″ wide on the front. For that, I cut fabric 2″ wide. If you want to be on the safer side, you may cut it 2 1/4″.
Now, I cut nine of 2″ strips and I have to stitch them all together to make one very long binding tape.
In order to reduce the bulk of folded seam allowance, stitch them on a diagonal line. In this way, the seam allowance wouldn’t end up on top of each other when folded.
I always place and sew tapes in this way as you see below, the right side up tape comes from left and the wrong side up tape goes down. And I stitch from left top to right bottom of crossing point. No mixing up of direction.
sewing binding

sewing binding 2

Place them straight from the needle and sew

cutting off

Trim the excess

At this point, you may press the tape folded in length way. I don’t. I don’t think I never have. Whichever makes easy for you. I do finger press seams open though.
Trimming of a quilt –
After quilting, borders shrunk and you need to measure it from the  reliable line and trim it with uniform width. Here I lost 1/4″ and trimmed it to 5″ from purple fabric.
Start stitching the tape to the right side of quilt leaving about that much not stitched (nothing critical there). Back stitch to secure at the start and sew. You only need big stitches for this part.
start binding
Make sure all three raw edges are in one place and do not stretch binding tape.
At the corner –
Stop sewing 1/4″ before you hit the corner and back stitch.
to a corner
Remove the quilt from the machine. Fold the tape away from quilt to create a 45 degree fold.
fold up
Then fold it down to fit on next edge.fold down
Make sure folded side of tape comes in a same place and raw edge stays on the edge of quilt.

Fold side


raw edge and corner

Start sewing from the very end of the quilt. Starting off with folded scarp of wadding will help machine to grab on the quilt’s edge.
starting corner
When the tape is attached almost all the way, stop sewing with about 8-10″ of gap left un-sewn.
binding ends
Meeting of ends –
There are various way people do this part and for me this is the most reasonable.
Fold both end of tapes to find a meeting point. The shorter side of the tape needs to be folded at least 2″ away from the end. Crease well to mark the fold. Twice folded points (red dot) have to come to the same place when they are sewn together.
fold meeting point.jpg
Open longer side of tape and mark the fold with a marker (just so you can see where it is clearly).
marked fold

The visible crease is a halfway of fabric, not the meeting point and the white line is.

Put the shorter end of fabric on the marked line without opening fold. You are placing red points of above together. Pin lower half of shorter end to the longer end and open the fold ( the purple pin on the second photo was used for this purpose).
Pin more (two white ones) to secure. Stitch from crossing point to crossing point.
Check the length before you cut the excesses and then if you are4 happy, cut the excesses and stitch this gap.
binding attached
Turn the tape over to the back of quilt and stitch down which I do by hand.
The fold in length way should cover the stitches made above. Again, my stitches are long (about 1/4″) but almost invisible. I stitch this way, while holding the edge of quilt and binding tape together with small and ring finger of my left hand. Thumb and index finger slide to left as I stitch.
hand stitch
On the corner, make sure you make neat mitre. Give a few stitches on the mitre too.
corner hand stitch 3

stitch to the very edge.

corner hand stitch 2

and come out on the mitre line.

corner hand stitch

give a few stitches to secure.

This way corner folds are opposite on the front and back.
I use polyester thread for stitching binding because it is stronger.
I love this needle from Clover because it is very sharp and eye end is neat. I don’t have to pull or push to sew, it just slides.
That’s it. Any questions and suggestions are welcome.




One Comment

Julie Fukuda
April 13, 2016 11:51 pm

Many yers ago, my #4 daughter was binding a quilt using a machine and called from the states to ask about turning the corners. Basically, it is the same by hand as you do but I could not tell her how to do it by machine so finally she stopped, turned it by hand, and then went on from there. Too bad your tutorial is a bit late for that one but now I know where to send her to figure it out. Thanks, my cleaver friend.