How To Do Quilt Binding: Quilts have been cherished for generations, passed down as heirlooms and tokens of love. One crucial element that brings a quilt together and gives it a polished look is the binding. Quilt binding is the fabric edging that wraps around the raw edges of the quilt, securing the layers together and providing a finished frame. While it may seem like a small detail, a well-executed binding can elevate the entire quilt, turning it into a work of art.
In this comprehensive guide, we will take you through the process of quilt binding step-by-step, equipping you with the knowledge and skills to complete your quilts with finesse. From choosing the right binding fabric to preparing and attaching it flawlessly, we’ve got you covered.
Before we dive into the nitty-gritty, let’s explore the different binding styles and materials. Traditional quilts often feature straight-grain, double-fold bindings, while bias-cut bindings are preferred for quilts with curved edges. You’ll also discover various fabric options, ranging from solid colors to complementary prints, enabling you to express your personal style through your quilt’s finishing touch.
So, whether you’re a quilting enthusiast eager to improve your techniques or a beginner looking to embark on a fulfilling quilting journey, let’s unravel the art of quilt binding together and add that final flourish to your cherished creation. Get ready to experience the joy of seeing your quilt come to life with a perfect binding – a testament to your dedication and love for this timeless craft.
What is the best binding technique for quilts?
Straight-of-grain binding is the easiest to make. For quilts with curved edges, you should make bias binding instead. Continuous binding can be machine-sewn to the front side of the quilt and hand-stitched to the back, but I prefer to attach it to the back side of the quilt with no hand sewing.
The best binding technique for quilts largely depends on personal preference and the specific characteristics of your quilt. Two common binding techniques are straight-grain binding and bias binding. Each has its advantages, and the choice between the two often comes down to the quilt’s design and purpose.
Straight-Grain Binding: Straight-grain binding is cut parallel to the selvage of the fabric, making it easier to cut and prepare. It is suitable for quilts with straight edges and square corners. Straight-grain binding provides stability and works well for quilts that will receive regular use, such as bed quilts or lap quilts. It is a great choice for beginner quilters as it’s more straightforward to work with.
Bias Binding: Bias binding is cut on the bias of the fabric, at a 45-degree angle to the selvage. This provides more stretch and flexibility to the binding. It is ideal for quilts with curved or scalloped edges, as the bias allows the binding to bend smoothly around these shapes without puckering. Bias binding is often used in quilts intended for decorative purposes, wall hangings, or quilts with intricate designs.
While it offers more flexibility, it can be slightly trickier to work with for beginners due to the stretching nature of the bias. The best binding technique will depend on your quilt’s specific needs and your comfort level as a quilter. Some quilters even choose to combine these techniques, using straight-grain binding for most of the quilt and switching to bias binding only for the curved edges.
Experiment with both techniques on small projects to see which one you prefer and feel more confident using. As with any skill in quilting, practice and experience will help you refine your binding technique and achieve beautiful, professional-looking results for your quilts.
How do you sew quilt binding easy?
Binding a quilt with the backing is actually a fast and easy method for beginners. Start by cutting the backing fabric 1 inch (2.5cm) larger than your quilt all the way around. For the corners, trim the backing to ⅜”(1cm). Double fold the backing on the straight edges and stitch all the way around.
Sewing quilt binding can be made easy by following these step-by-step instructions:
Prepare the Binding Strips: Cut your binding fabric into strips, usually 2.5 inches wide, and join them together diagonally to create one long continuous strip. Press the seams open.
Trim and Square the Quilt: Before attaching the binding, make sure the quilt edges are trimmed and squared up.
Attach the Binding to the Quilt: Starting about 6-8 inches from one corner of the quilt, leave a tail of binding and align the raw edges of the binding strip with the raw edges of the quilt on one side. Leave a small tail, as it will help with finishing later.
Sew the Binding: Using a sewing machine or sewing by hand, begin sewing the binding to the quilt, using a ¼ inch seam allowance. Stop stitching about ¼ inch away from the first corner. Backstitch or tie off the thread.
Miter the Corners: To create neat mitered corners, fold the binding up and away from the quilt at a 45-degree angle, then fold it back down, aligning the binding’s raw edge with the next side of the quilt. This creates a mitered corner. Pin it in place.
Continue Sewing: Sew along the next side, repeating the process at each corner until you’re about 6-8 inches away from the starting point.
Join the Ends: Trim the excess binding, leaving a few inches of overlap. Open up the ends of the binding strips and place them right sides together. Draw a diagonal line from corner to corner and sew along this line. Trim the seam allowance and press it open. This will create a seamless join.
Finish Sewing: Complete sewing the binding to the quilt.
Fold and Finish: Fold the binding over to the back of the quilt, covering the raw edges. Secure it in place with pins or clips. Hand sew the binding to the back of the quilt using a quilting or slip stitch.
With practice, sewing quilt binding will become easier and will result in beautifully finished quilts. If you’re a beginner, consider starting with smaller projects to gain confidence before tackling larger quilts.
What comes first quilting or binding?
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.
Quilting comes before binding in the process of making a quilt. Here’s the typical order of steps when creating a quilt:
Fabric Selection and Piecing: The first step is selecting the fabrics for the quilt top and piecing them together to create the quilt’s design. This involves sewing together various fabric pieces to form blocks or patterns.
Quilting: Once the quilt top is complete, the next step is quilting. Quilting refers to the process of stitching together the three layers of the quilt – the quilt top (with the pieced design), the batting (the middle layer that provides warmth and loft), and the backing fabric. Quilting can be done by hand, domestic sewing machine, or a long-arm quilting machine.
Trimming and Squaring: After quilting, the excess batting and backing fabric are trimmed away, and the quilt is squared up to ensure all edges are straight and corners are right angles.
Binding: Finally, after quilting and squaring, the quilt is ready for binding. The binding is the fabric strip that wraps around the raw edges of the quilt, encasing them and providing a finished edge. The binding is typically double-folded for durability and stitched in place by hand or machine.
By following this order of steps, you ensure that your quilt is stable, has a polished look, and the edges are securely finished. Quilting holds the three layers of the quilt together, and binding completes the project, giving it a professional and attractive appearance while also preventing the edges from fraying or unraveling.
What stitch length for quilt binding?
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 recommended stitch length for quilt binding is typically between 2.0 to 2.5 mm (approximately 10 to 12 stitches per inch) when using a sewing machine. This stitch length strikes a balance between providing a secure hold on the binding while still maintaining a neat and even appearance.
A shorter stitch length (e.g., 1.5 mm) might provide a stronger hold, but it can perforate the fabric more and make it harder to remove the stitches if adjustments are needed later. On the other hand, a longer stitch length (e.g., 3.0 mm) may not securely hold the binding in place, and it might not look as tidy.
The choice of stitch length for quilt binding also depends on personal preference and the type of quilt you are working on. If you’re using a sewing machine, it’s a good idea to do some test stitches on scrap fabric to determine which stitch length works best for you and complements the overall appearance of your quilt. Keep in mind that hand sewing the binding might have a different stitch length and is often chosen for its decorative appeal and added control over tension.
How do you create mitered corners when sewing quilt binding?
Creating mitered corners when sewing quilt binding adds a professional and neat finish to the quilt. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to do it:
Stop Stitching: As you approach the corner while sewing the binding to the quilt, stop stitching about ¼ inch away from the edge.
Fold the Binding: Lift the binding strip up and away from the quilt, forming a 45-degree angle at the corner. The loose end of the binding should now be pointing up and away from the quilt top.
Fold Back Down: Fold the binding back down, aligning the binding’s raw edge with the next side of the quilt to continue sewing. Ensure the folded edge forms a diagonal that is flush with the corner of the quilt.
Pin in Place: Use a pin or clip to hold the folded corner in position. This will help maintain the mitered shape as you continue sewing.
Resume Stitching: Start stitching again from the beginning of the next side, beginning right at the corner. Make sure to backstitch or secure the stitches at the start to reinforce the corner.
Repeat for Other Corners: Continue sewing the binding, repeating the mitered corner process for each corner of the quilt.
By following these steps, you’ll achieve crisp and tidy mitered corners on your quilt binding. The mitered corners not only look visually appealing but also allow the binding to fold neatly around the edges, creating a clean and professional finish for your quilt. Remember to take your time and be precise when folding and stitching the corners to ensure a polished result.
What type of stitch is commonly used to hand-sew quilt binding to the back of the quilt?
The type of stitch commonly used to hand-sew quilt binding to the back of the quilt is called a “quilting stitch,” “slip stitch,” or “ladder stitch.” This stitch is also sometimes referred to as an “appliqué stitch” when used for attaching appliqué pieces to fabric.
The quilting stitch is designed to be nearly invisible on the front of the quilt while providing a secure and durable hold on the binding. It involves creating small, even stitches that catch a tiny amount of the quilt binding fabric on the backside, then move a short distance forward to catch a bit of the backing fabric, and so on.
Here’s a brief overview of how to hand-sew quilt binding using the quilting stitch:
Fold the Binding: Fold the quilt binding over to the back of the quilt, covering the raw edges.
Anchor the Thread: Start by knotting the thread and bringing the needle up through the backing fabric, just underneath the folded binding.
Catch the Binding: Insert the needle into the folded edge of the binding, catching a small amount of the binding fabric. Then, move the needle forward and back down into the backing fabric a short distance away.
Repeat: Continue making these small stitches along the entire length of the binding, spacing the stitches evenly and keeping them as invisible as possible on the front side of the quilt.
Tie Off: When you reach the end of the binding or a corner, knot the thread on the backside of the quilt to secure it.
The quilting stitch is a versatile and essential technique in quilting, providing a clean and professional finish to the binding without distracting from the overall beauty of the quilt top. With practice, you can achieve beautifully hand-sewn quilt bindings that will enhance the appearance and longevity of your quilts.
Why is it important to leave a small tail when starting to attach the binding to the quilt?
Leaving a small tail when starting to attach the binding to the quilt is an important step that ensures a clean and secure finish to the binding. Here’s why it’s important:
Room for Adjustment: Having a small tail of binding fabric at the beginning allows you to adjust the position of the binding if needed. Sometimes, the initial stitches may need to be adjusted to ensure the binding aligns perfectly with the quilt’s edges. The tail gives you room to make these adjustments without running out of binding fabric.
Neat Joining: When you finish sewing the binding around the entire quilt, you’ll need to join the beginning and ending points of the binding together. By leaving a tail, you have enough fabric to create a smooth and seamless join. This is often done by opening up the ends of the binding strips, placing them right sides together, sewing a diagonal seam, trimming the excess, and pressing the seam open. A small tail makes this joining process easier.
Securing the Binding: The initial stitches of the binding are essential for keeping the binding firmly in place. Leaving a tail allows you to secure the starting point more effectively, preventing the binding from coming undone during the subsequent sewing process.
Professional Finish: A neat and well-secured start to the binding contributes to a professional and polished look for the quilt. It’s a small detail that can make a big difference in the overall appearance of the finished quilt.
To sum up, leaving a small tail at the beginning of attaching the binding to the quilt provides flexibility for adjustments, ensures a seamless join when finishing the binding, and helps create a tidy and professional finish to your quilt project.
What is the first step in preparing quilt binding fabric?
The first step in preparing quilt binding fabric is to select and cut the fabric into strips. Binding fabric is typically cut on the straight grain of the fabric, parallel to the selvage. The width of the strips can vary depending on personal preference and the thickness of the quilt, but a common width is 2.5 inches.
To create one long continuous strip of binding, it may be necessary to join multiple shorter strips together. This is achieved by placing two strips right sides together at a 90-degree angle, forming a diagonal seam, and sewing diagonally from one corner to the other. The excess fabric is then trimmed, and the seam is pressed open. This process is repeated until the desired length of binding is obtained.
Once the binding strips are ready, they are pressed in half lengthwise, wrong sides together, to create a neat fold. This fold will eventually encase the raw edges of the quilt and provide a finished appearance.
Choosing the right fabric for the binding is important, as it can complement or contrast with the quilt top, adding an extra touch of visual interest. A well-prepared binding will ensure a smooth and enjoyable process when attaching it to the quilt, leading to a beautifully finished quilt that will be cherished for years to come.
Mastering the art of quilt binding is a vital skill that brings the entire quilting process to a satisfying and professional finish. Whether you opt for straight-grain or bias binding, the key lies in attention to detail and precision.
As you progress through the steps of preparing the binding fabric, attaching it to the quilt, and creating those perfectly mitered corners, you’ll witness your quilt transform into a stunning work of art. The quilting stitch, applied with care and patience, will secure the binding to the back of the quilt, leaving an almost imperceptible finish on the front.
Throughout this journey, remember that practice makes perfect. Embrace the learning process, and don’t be disheartened by any initial challenges. With each project, your confidence will grow, and your quilt binding techniques will improve.
The joy of creating a quilt that’s not only visually appealing but also durable and cherished by generations is a reward that stems from the love and dedication poured into every stitch. So, go forth, armed with your newfound knowledge of quilt binding, and revel in the gratification of completing beautiful quilts that will warm hearts and homes for years to come.