Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Quick Binding Trick

By the time I finish a quilt, it's just me sitting around while watching TV with hubby.  Nobody is around to discuss my method.  Has that happened to you?

We've talked about how wide to cut a binding strip (2 1/4"-2 1/2") but I don't remember talking much with other quilters about how to cut and piece a binding.

I am Suzy Shortcut... I don't like pinning (though I have learned when I can't skip it.)  I don't scissor-cut if I can figure out how to cut something with a rotary cutter (I use old blades for paper.)

And I would much rather eyeball something than measure (I forget numbers as soon as they are out of my mouth.)

That said, I like tidy bindings.  I always double fold, but to avoid bulk, I sew the various strips together with a bias cut on both end of each strip.

With this method, it's easy to end up with your diagonal seams going in both directions.  That's one of those kinds of details if I leave undone, it bothers me.  So, I want a method that gets them right all of the time.  I think this one is simple.
At the end of your binding strip,
fold your top piece under at an angle (about 45 degrees, but not always.)
The KEY is that the fold on the top  makes the right  "intersections" meet
(hang on, you will understand this in a second!)
Place your bottom piece under the top with angle folded--both right sides are up.
This fabric is directional so check that they are both the same if it applies.
NOTE: I *ALWAYS* make sure the top of the angle fold is on the RIGHT
so that all of my folds go in the same direction.

While holding the two pieces in place, carefully unfold the top piece.
Make sure that both edges of the top/folded piece meet the edges of the bottom piece.
Pin in place (or just hold it if you like to live dangerously, like me.)
Again make sure your edges meet and sew in the fold.
(FYI, I backstitch on both ends to lock seam.)
Trim away your threads and edges at about 1/4"
(this one looks a bit wider, but that's okay.)
Unfold to see your seam--they should meet.
Of it's a milli-fraction off, don't worry about it.
If it happens to be way off, I just cut that seam off and start over
(unsewing with that tiny point remaining intact is impossible) 
Press your seams open, then fold your strips in half long ways.
Press.  You are ready to sew your binding on!
Sometimes, when I am ready to sew, the two fabric strips are clearly not lined up at a right angle (which would form the 45 degree angle.)  Don't worry, it will work anyway, your angle is simply not true (and that doesn't really matter here.)


  1. *BANG!!*
    That is the sound of me smacking myself in the forehead! How have I quilted all these years and never thought of this! You are my quilting heroine this morning! Thanks, Teri! I won't be pulling out the ruler and marker any more.

    1. thanks, Staci! it feels good to be a momentary quilting heroine! ;)