Tutorial: Quilt Binding Part 1

When I first started quilting, I would get so excited when I would near the end of making a quilt. Most of the time I just wanted to get finished with it so that I could enjoy my quilt. Needless to say, I didn’t do a very good job of binding my quilt. I had spent time (lots of time) and money on creating a masterpiece, and I would often frame my masterpiece in a cardboard frame (figuratively speaking).

Over the years I have learned how to do a better job of binding my quilts. I have even learned to love the handwork involved. I really believe that the binding is like a good frame, it makes the picture stand over and look even lovelier than it does alone.

If you are having trouble binding your quilts, or perhaps have never bound a quilt, this tutorial is for you. In this tutorial, I walk you through step-by-step binding your quilt.

It takes a little practice to become good at binding a quilt, but once you learn, your quilting will never be the same!

How to Bind a Quilt:

trim edges of quilt

cut strips

join strips

Prepare quilt and binding:

The first thing you will need to do is trim away the excess fabric and batting from the edges of your quilt and make sure it is squared up.

Next, you will need to cut your binding strips. I like to cut mine 2 1/2 inches wide. I measure the perimeter of the quilt and add 12 inches to it for the total length of my binding strip. To create one long continuous strip, take the ends of 2 strips of fabric and lay them perpendicular, right sides together. Sew diagonally as shown in picture. Trim leaving a 1/4 seam allowance. Press open binding strip. Repeat until you reach the desired length of binding strip.

Press entire binding strip in half lengthwise, right sides facing out. 

Attach binding to quilt:

Starting in the middle of one side of the quilt, lay the binding on the top of the quilt, raw edges together.  Leaving a 6 inch tail, begin sewing the binding to the edge of the quilt top leaving a 1/4 inch seam allowance.  Continue sewing the binding around all sides of the quilt.  Stop sewing approximately 6 inches before reaching the beginning of the quilt binding.  You will need to join the tails together before you continue to sew.

Mitered Corners:

As you approach each corner, stop sewing 1/4 inch before your reach the end of the side.  Fold the binding strip up, creating a 45 degree fold in the fabric.  Next, lay the fabric down over the 45 degree angle making sure it is held in place under the binding.  Begin sewing again, starting at the top of the corner, over the fold.

stop 1/4 in. from edge

fold binding up

lay binding down

Creating a continuous binding strip:

In order to create a continuous binding strip, first determine the amount of overlap of your two ends of binding. The overlap should be the width of your binding. I learned this technique from Heather Mulder Peterson’s website, where she suggest using a piece of your left over binding as a measuring guide. Once you determine the amount of over, in my case 2 1/2 inches, open the binding up and place the right sides together, perpendicularly, just as you did to sew your binding strips together earlier. Again, sew diagonally and trim excess fabric.

Fold fabric into place and continue sewing binding strip onto the quilt top.

measure overlap

right sides together, sew across diagonal, trim

fold into place, sew to quilt

To learn how to sew the binding to the back of the quilt by hand, please see the next post in the series Tutorial: Quilt Binding Part 2.

You can also watch my Quilt Binding Video Tutorial.


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