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How To Do Binding On A Quilt

How To Do Binding On A Quilt


How To Do Binding On A Quilt: We will walk you through the art of quilt binding, demystifying the process and providing you with the knowledge and confidence to complete your quilting project with finesse. Whether you’re a seasoned quilter looking to refine your skills or a beginner eager to take your first steps into the world of quilting, this guide is designed to cater to all levels of expertise.

We’ll start by discussing the different types of binding and the materials you’ll need, including various fabric options and tools to achieve the best results. From there, we’ll dive into the preparation phase, covering essential steps such as calculating the required binding length, cutting the strips, and joining them seamlessly.

As we proceed, you’ll learn the art of attaching the binding to the quilt’s edges with precision, navigating corners and curves effortlessly. Additionally, we’ll explore the two popular binding techniques: machine stitching for a speedy finish and hand stitching for a traditional, heirloom-quality touch.

No more worries about frayed edges or uneven corners – with this guide, your quilt will exude professionalism and charm. So, let’s embark on this binding journey together and add the perfect final flourish to your cherished quilting creations!

How To Do Binding On A Quilt

Do you bind or quilt first?

Binding a quilt is the final step in finishing. Before you bind, you need to somehow “quilt” your quilt. This means to attach the front and back, with batting in between. I usually machine quilt (or have someone else do it) my quilts these days.

In quilting, the process of binding and quilting follows a specific sequence to ensure a successful and polished final product. Quilting is typically done before binding, and here’s why:

Quilting First: After piecing the quilt top and layering it with batting and backing fabric, quilters secure the layers together through a process called quilting. Quilting involves stitching through all layers to create beautiful designs, hold the quilt layers in place, and provide overall stability. Quilting can be done through various methods, such as free-motion quilting, walking foot quilting, or using a long-arm quilting machine.

Binding Second: Once the quilting is complete, the edges of the quilt are raw and unfinished. Binding is then added to encase and cover these raw edges, giving the quilt a clean, polished look and providing durability. The binding is typically made from folded fabric strips, which are sewn along the quilt’s perimeter, enclosing the raw edges and securing the layers together.

By quilting first and binding second, the quilt’s layers are firmly held in place, and the binding neatly finishes the edges. This approach allows for greater flexibility in quilting designs, as you can quilt right up to the edges without interfering with the binding process. It also ensures that the quilt remains flat and smooth during the quilting process, reducing the risk of distortion or puckering.

Can you make a quilt without binding?

To start there is no binding on the finished piece. Instead the piece has been sewn together, all three layers then flipped so that everything is right side out and the opening that was left is sewn together by hand. Then the quilting is done. Follow these simple steps for this no binding flip and quilt technique.

Yes, it is possible to make a quilt without binding, although the technique used to finish the edges will be different. Quilts without traditional binding are often referred to as “self-binding” quilts, and there are a few methods to achieve this finish:

Folded Edge Finish: With this method, the backing fabric is trimmed to be slightly larger than the quilt top. The excess backing fabric is then folded over the edges of the quilt top to create a folded edge finish. The backing fabric essentially wraps around the quilt top, enclosing the raw edges. This creates a simple and clean finish without the need for additional binding fabric.

Pillowcase Method: This method is popular for small quilts, baby quilts, or quilted projects like pillow covers. The quilt is layered with batting and backing fabric, and the quilt top is sewn right sides together with the backing fabric. After sewing around the edges, leaving an opening, the quilt is turned right side out, and the opening is hand-stitched closed. The quilting stitches secure the layers together, eliminating the need for binding.

While self-binding techniques can be convenient and save time, they may not be as durable as traditional binding methods. Quilts with heavy use or frequent washing might benefit from the added strength and protection that binding provides.

The decision to use binding or opt for a self-binding method depends on the quilt’s intended use, desired aesthetics, and personal preference. Both approaches can result in beautiful quilts, so feel free to choose the method that best suits your project and quilting style.

What size stitch for binding a quilt?

2.5-3mm long

Your stitch length should be 2.5-3mm long depending on the thickness of your quilt – the thicker the quilt, the longer the stitch. Secure the beginning of the seam and sew a 1/4” seam. Stop sewing 2” before you reach the first corner leaving your needle down.

The size of the stitch for binding a quilt can significantly impact the overall appearance and durability of the finished product. The most commonly used stitch lengths for quilt binding are between 2.0 to 2.5 millimeters (approximately 10-12 stitches per inch) for machine stitching and between 10 to 12 stitches per inch for hand stitching.

Machine Stitching: A shorter stitch length, around 2.0 millimeters, is preferred for machine stitching the binding. This smaller stitch length creates a more secure and durable finish, as it ensures that the binding is firmly attached to the quilt’s edges. Additionally, a shorter stitch length creates a neater and more professional look, with the stitches blending in seamlessly.

Hand Stitching: When hand stitching the binding to the back of the quilt, a stitch length of 10 to 12 stitches per inch is commonly used. This length strikes a balance between durability and aesthetics. The stitches should be small enough to securely hold the binding in place, while also allowing for a smooth, nearly invisible finish on the quilt’s front.

The choice of stitch length may vary based on personal preference and the specific project. Experimenting on a scrap quilt sandwich can help determine the ideal stitch length for your quilting style and the particular quilt you are working on. Regardless of the stitch length chosen, a consistent and well-executed stitch will contribute to a professional and polished binding on your quilt.

What kind of binding do you use for a quilt?

Besides the double-fold binding, there are four other binding options available for non-art quilts. Those are the knife-edge finish, prairie points, single-fold binding, and bias binding. We’re going to take a look at all three, the pros and cons of each, and when you may want to think about using them on your quilt.

For quilts, the most common type of binding used is double-fold binding made from fabric strips. Double-fold binding is created by folding a long strip of fabric in half lengthwise, with the raw edges aligned, and pressing it to create a neat crease. The binding strip is then sewn to the quilt’s edges, encasing the raw edges and providing a durable and polished finish.

The fabric for binding can be chosen to complement the quilt’s design or contrast with the quilt top to create an eye-catching frame. Many quilters prefer to use the same fabric as the quilt top or one that coordinates with the quilt’s color palette for a cohesive look. However, using a contrasting or complementary fabric can add an interesting accent to the quilt’s edges.

In addition to double-fold binding, there are other binding options, such as single-fold binding (also known as French binding), which is folded over just once and used for lightweight quilts or wall hangings. Bias binding, cut on the bias of the fabric, is often used for quilts with curved edges, as it offers more flexibility.

The type of binding chosen will depend on the quilter’s preference, the design and purpose of the quilt, and the desired final look. Regardless of the binding type, a well-executed binding will provide a professional and long-lasting finish to a quilt, ensuring that it stands the test of time and adds a beautiful touch to your quilting masterpiece.

How To Do Binding On A Quilt

Can you explain the process of joining binding strips to create a continuous length? 

Joining binding strips to create a continuous length is a crucial step in quilt binding, ensuring a seamless and professional finish. To achieve this, follow these simple steps:

Prepare the Binding Strips: Cut your fabric into strips, making sure they are straight and have a 45-degree angle at the ends. The width of the strips will depend on your preferred binding width and seam allowance.

Align the Ends: Take two binding strips and lay them right sides together, ensuring that the 45-degree angles match perfectly. Pin if needed to keep the strips in place.

Sew the Diagonal Seam: Sew a diagonal seam from one corner to the opposite corner, joining the two binding strips. Use a ¼-inch seam allowance and backstitch at the beginning and end to secure the seam.

Trim Excess Fabric: Trim the excess fabric, leaving a ¼-inch seam allowance. Open the strips and press the seam open to reduce bulk.

Repeat for Additional Strips: If your quilt requires more than two binding strips, repeat the process by adding more strips until you achieve the desired length.

Press the Binding: Before attaching the binding to the quilt, press the entire binding strip, ensuring it lays flat and ready for application.

You’ll create a continuous binding length that seamlessly wraps around your quilt’s edges, giving your project a professional and polished look. Take your time during this process, as accurately joining the strips will greatly contribute to the overall appearance of your quilt’s binding.

How do you perform binding on a quilt?

Binding a quilt is the final step in the quilting process, giving it a polished and finished look. The binding is a fabric strip that wraps around the raw edges of the quilt, securing all the layers together. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to do binding on a quilt:

Prepare the binding strip: Cut fabric strips that are 2.5 to 3 inches wide and long enough to cover all four sides of the quilt. Join the strips diagonally to create a continuous binding strip if needed.

Trim and square the quilt: Ensure all layers of the quilt are even and squared up before adding the binding.

Attach the binding: Starting on one side of the quilt, leave about 8-10 inches of the binding strip loose, and align the raw edges of the binding strip with the quilt’s raw edge. Use pins or clips to hold it in place.

Sew the binding: Using a ¼-inch seam allowance, stitch the binding to the quilt, mitering the corners as you go. When you reach the starting point, stop a few inches before the loose end.

Join the ends: Fold the loose end back on itself and mark the point where it meets the starting point. Trim off the excess and sew the two ends together.

Finish sewing: Complete sewing the binding to the quilt.

Fold and press: Fold the binding over the raw edges to the back of the quilt. Press it in place.

Hand-stitch or machine-stitch: Secure the binding to the back of the quilt using small, neat stitches or a machine-stitch for a quicker finish.

Final touches: Give your quilt a final press to ensure everything lies flat and smooth.

By following these steps, you’ll have a beautifully bound quilt, ready to be cherished for years to come.

How do you navigate corners and curves while attaching the binding to the quilt? 

Navigating corners and curves while attaching the binding to the quilt requires a bit of finesse and attention to detail. Here’s a step-by-step guide to ensure your binding looks flawless on both straight edges and gentle curves:


1.When approaching a corner, stop stitching a quarter-inch away from the edge, leaving the needle down.

2.Lift the presser foot and pivot the quilt, making a 45-degree fold in the binding towards the corner.

3.Fold the binding back down, aligning it with the next edge. Ensure the fold creates a clean, mitered corner.

4.Hold the fold in place and continue sewing from the corner, maintaining the same quarter-inch seam allowance. This technique results in sharp corners with no gaps in the binding.


1.When sewing along a curve, use binding that is slightly narrower to accommodate the gentle bend without causing puckering.

2.As you stitch, ease the binding in smoothly along the curve. You can use clips or pins to keep the binding in place at intervals.

3.If needed, make small snips along the raw edge of the binding to help it lay flat around the curve.

4.Take your time and stitch slowly, adjusting the binding as necessary to maintain an even width.

5.Whether you’re working with sharp corners or gentle curves, practicing on scrap fabric can help you gain confidence in handling these areas. With patience and a steady hand, your quilt’s binding will flow smoothly around every turn, providing a professional and polished finish to your cherished creation.

What are the pros and cons of machine stitching versus hand stitching for quilt binding?

Machine stitching and hand stitching both offer unique advantages and drawbacks when it comes to quilt binding. Here’s a comparison of the two techniques:

Machine Stitching:


Time-Efficient: Machine stitching is much quicker than hand stitching, especially for large quilts, making it an appealing option for those who want to finish their projects faster.

Secure and Durable: Machine-stitched binding creates a strong and sturdy finish, which is ideal for quilts that will undergo regular use and washing.

Uniform Look: Machine stitching produces consistent stitches, ensuring a neat and uniform appearance along the quilt’s edge.


Less Control: The speed of machine stitching can make it challenging to achieve the same level of precision and control as hand stitching, especially around corners and curves.

Visible Stitches: Machine stitches are more apparent on the quilt’s front, which may not be desirable for quilters seeking a more traditional or subtle finish.

Hand Stitching:


Traditional and Artistic Appeal: Hand-stitched binding has a timeless charm, giving quilts a unique and heirloom-quality look.

Greater Precision: Hand stitching allows for finer control, making it easier to navigate corners, curves, and intricate quilt designs with precision.

Hidden Stitches: Hand stitching creates nearly invisible stitches on the quilt’s front, enhancing its overall appearance.


Time-Consuming: Hand stitching is a labor-intensive process and can be time-consuming, especially for large quilts or those with complex designs.

Less Durable: While hand stitching is delicate and precise, it may not be as durable as machine stitching, particularly for quilts that will see heavy use.

The choice between machine stitching and hand stitching ultimately depends on personal preference, the desired finish, and the intended use of the quilt. Some quilters may opt for a combination of both techniques, using machine stitching for efficiency and hand stitching for a final, elegant touch. Whichever method you choose, remember that both approaches can result in beautifully bound quilts that will be cherished for generations to come.

How To Do Binding On A Quilt


Remember that practice makes perfect, so don’t be disheartened if your first attempt doesn’t meet your expectations. Keep honing your technique, and with each project, you’ll witness your craftsmanship improve.

As you continue quilting and experimenting with various fabrics, patterns, and colors, the binding will become your signature touch, setting your quilts apart with a professional finish. The joy of gifting your masterpieces or cuddling up under your own handmade quilt will make all the effort worthwhile.

Feel free to explore different binding styles, adapt them to your unique creativity, and even combine techniques to craft quilts that truly reflect your artistic expression. Above all, have fun with the process and let your passion for quilting shine through.


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