May 23, 2013

Machine Binding Tutorial

I've wanted to create a binding tutorial for a while.  Especially for the ladies that come to my class as this seems to be an ongoing struggle for them.  I hope that the rest of you can benefit from this tutorial as well!

Creating your binding

Measure around the entire outer edge of your quilt and then add 20 inches to this measurement.

Divide this total by 40. 

This new number is the number of strips that you need to cut.  If you came up with a decimal, round your number up to the next whole number.  For example, if your result was 7.6, round up to 8. 

Cut that total number of strips measuring 2.5” wide x the width of fabric.

To connect your strips together, make the seam on the diagonal.  Lay the first strip right side up and the second strip on top with right sides together, perpendicular to the first strip.  Sew on the diagonal from point to point.

Trim off the excess 1/4" from the seam line.
Repeat this until you have one continuous strip of fabric.

Press this strip in half lengthwise with wrong sides together like a long hot dog bun.

You have now prepared your binding to be attached to your quilt!

Attaching your binding          (Directions for machine sewing your binding)

Start in the middle of one side of your quilt.  Align the raw edges of your binding with the raw edges of the back of your quilt sandwich.  Stitch with a ¼” seam allowance. Leave a long tail of about 10” before you begin stitching your binding down to help you later.

When you get to a corner, stop your stitching ¼” before you get to the edge of the quilt. 

Remove quilt from the machine.
Lay the binding out so that it extends straight beyond the quilt edge.


Fold the binding up so that it creates a 45 degree angle at the corner and the raw edges of the binding extend upward from the quilt and remain in line with the next edge of the quilt to be bound.

Fold the binding back down on to the quilt.  The fold of the binding should match up with the top edge of the quilt and the raw edges should come back down to once again align with the raw edges of the quilt.

Begin stiching again at the corner.
Repeat these steps for each corner.

Once you get back to the side in which you started your binding, stop stitching approximately 10 “ from the beginning stitch and leave a long tail free from the quilt once again. 

Connecting your binding

Lay the first tail down across the gap and cut the tail off so that it ends in approximately the middle of the gap.

Lay the second tail down on top of the first tail. You want the tails to overlap each other a total of 2.5”. Using your ruler or a hem guide, align the end of your measuring device with the end of the first tail and cut the second tail at the 2.5” mark. 

Open the tail on the right and angle it off of the quilt top.  Lay it down with the right side up. 

Open the tail on the left and angle it off the quilt top to lay it right sides together at an angle with the first tail. This will be a tight fit and you will need to fold in the left side of the quilt to help give you enough room to get these two pieces aligned.  Pin.

Sew on the diagonal from point to point.

Straighten out the quilt edge and make sure that your binding is going to lay down nicely over the gap. 

If your seam was done correctly, pull the binding back out and trim the excess ¼” away from the diagonal seam.

Lay your binding back down onto the quilt and finish sewing the binding seam.

Finishing your Binding

Turn your quilt over to the right side and pull the binding around to the top.

Starting at one corner, overlap the folded edge of the binding with the straight stitching line that is securing it to the back and use a decorative stitch to sew your binding by machine. Start your stitch with a couple back stitches to secure it, and keep your stitch on the edge of your binding for the most secure edge. You’ll want to choose a stitch that looks the same on both sides.  Some of the very ornate stitches are unrecognizable on the reverse side, so test out a few on a scrap of paper before you start using it on your quilt.

I prefer to use this stitch.  It was recommended to me by a shop owning friend and I have yet to find a stitch that I like better when machine sewing my binding down.

When you get to a corner, keep the folded edge of the binding going straight beyond the quilt edge to the folded edge of the binding on the next side.  A natural 45 degree angle will occur on the outer edge of the binding.

Fold the lower edge up and match the point with the edge of the first side of the binding and allow the edge of the binding to once again cover the straight line of stitching that is securing the binding strip.

Repeat this for each corner.

When you get back to your starting stitch, take a couple back stitches to secure the binding at the end and you’re done!


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