How to bind a quilt by machine or hand

You’ve cut out the fabric and pieced it all. Whew, that was a lot of work. Now the top is finished. You’ve made the back and joined it with the batting. The quilting is all finished. What a wonderful feeling and now you only have to bind it. There are many different ways to bind a quilt, I am currently using the continuous seam method and I will show you how I do it. Here is my tutorial, How to bind a quilt by machine or hand. It is a bit of a pain but it the finishing touch on this fabulous quilt of yours!

bind re 1Cut out 2.5 strips of your binding fabric.

I cut mine the width of the fabric and make diagonal cuts where I sew them together. bind re 2

I rough measure it but make sure I have more than enough.

Here’s my pile for my latest quilt. You can read about it here.

It is cut, sewn together and ironed wrong sides together.

Now you sew it along the edges of the quilt.

bind re 3I use my quarter inch foot because I don’t want a big seam.

bind re 4 I sew merrily along until I get to an end, a corner.

I fold the binding towards the outside at a 90 degree angle.

Finger press.

You are going to sew right up to that line.

I do not mark mine, I can see it.

bind re 6

Then raise your needle, fold the fabric to make a right angle and start sewing again at that line.

Keep going until you get all four corners done and you are close to where you started. bind re 8The starting point will be straight across. Bring the binding strip right up to that edge and fold it back the measurement of your binding strip.

I always have a 2.5 inch strip so I measure back 2.5 inches and clip it there.

Some people just sew the seam right there, straight across.

But all of my seams were sewn on the diagonal so I wanted this one to be also, that way you can’t tell where it began and ended.

bind re 9You are, simply stated, putting right sides together at a right angle and sewing across from pin to pin. bind re 10

However, see that red arrow? There’s a little twist in the fabric there. Before you match up the binding right side to right side, you twist it over. If you don’t, and I have not many many times, the binding will be twisted when you are done sewing and go to lay it flat.

So don’t clip that corner until you know it lays flat. I got the hang of it after oh, 27 times doing it wrong through 6 or 7 quilts. No biggie, rip and redo!

bind re 12When it lays correctly, clip the seam and fold the binding back as it was,in half, press.

At this point you finish sewing on the binding and it’s one continuous piece, cool, no?

I then press the binding seam up, away from the quilt and make it lay smooth all the way around the quilt. bind re 13

You are so darn close to finishing you can FEEL it. I am the same way about this blog post.

It takes a really long time to describe how to put on a binding!

bind re 14Next, press the binding in half, down towards the quilt and use those wonderful Clover clips to keep it in place. You want the edge of the binding to just cover the stitch line where you attached it.

At the corners, you fold the binding over itself.

Look at the black arrow, you’ll see!

bind re 15

The back side of the quilt has the clear, flat side of the clips and the unattached binding.

The front side has the red, rounded part of the clip.

bind re 16At this point you have to decide, do I want to attach this binding by machine or hand?

You are all set up for either one.

To attach by machine you sew a line on the front, yes, where it is already attached. But it’s the front, you want it to look good.

That line will be perfectly straight and nearly in the ditch and if you’ve lined up the back correctly, you will catch the back binding.

The sewing on the back will never be as perfect as the front, things move and shift a bit. You may have to go back and give a bit more sewing.bind re 17

But you will be done in about an hour and it’s extremely secure for like a baby quilt.

I decided I wanted this binding perfect so I did it by hand.

It took almost a week, just about as long as making the quilt.

I hand quilted for 26 years so my right arm isn’t the warrior it used to be. I can only do so much every day.

You hand attach from the back and slip your needle in and out, the stitching is invisible.

bind re 18When you are done, it’s invisible. However, the rest of the quilt is all done by machine so nowadays I do most of my bindings by machine.big 2 re 5

My arm thanks me!

Sew happy!

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To see the whole blog post of the quilt whose binding I am doing, click here.

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