Friday, September 2, 2011

designing a quilt - the binding

There are several different ways to make binding. One is to make the backing larger and roll the edge over and top stitch down. It works, looks nice, and I have used it on lots of comforts. However it also wears out faster because it is a single layer of fabric. I have used the satin blanket binding you can buy, once again; it works, looks nice but doesn't wear to well. The one I use the most frequently is the bias French binding. My fabric is cut on the bias and doubled over. The raw edges are sewn together on the quilt and the fold line is brought around and either slipped stitched to enclose the raw edges or is top-stitched down. Heirloom quality quilts the binding is hand-finished. Quilts I want used are top-stitched down.

Find the perimeter of your quilt in this case is 63+63+88.5+88.5=303". Multiply the length times the width of the binding unfolded. I wanted my binding 2.5" wide, so 303x2.5=757.5 square inches of fabric for the binding. Divide the square inches by the width of your fabric. I always use 40 inches to give you the length of fabric you will need. 757.5/40=18.93 or a little more than a half yard. This also helps when making binding from scraps and knowing if you have enough scrapes to piece together to make your binding. So I used the rotary-cutter and cut me up a bunch of strips.

I always use seam allowances that are at a 45 degree angle because they reduce bulk when folded in half and the seams are on grain (no stretched seams). I also always start by laying them out end to end to get my seams allowance right. Otherwise you end with some 90-degree angles. Who wants to rip? Not me!

I pin my seam allowances. Notice the edges are off set the width of the seam allowance so that when you open up the seam allowances the top and bottom edges are straight.

I use a 1/4" seam allowance and gang piece my seams.

Press seam allowances to one side then fold in half and press a crease down the middle. Measure to see if you have enough binding. It is easier to add to length of binding when the binding is not sewn to the quilt!

Because I was going to apply the binding from the back instead of the front I trimmed the excess backing and batting off the quilt. If I am applying the binding from the front I don't trim.

I pin my binding on, a lot of people don't. I don't want my binding to stretch because it is on the bias. I also don't want the raw edges shifting and I not catch them all in the seam allowance and have to go back and rip. (Shudder! Did I mention I really, really don't like to rip?) The photos of how to make mitered corners with your binding didn't turn out so here are some links so you can see the process. This is part One and Two and Three. One additional step I make is to over-stuff the binding. I've been told by quilters I respect that over-stuffing the binding cuts the wear of the binding. I also like the looks of an over-stuffed binding. What I do is cut 1/4 to 1/2-inch pieces of batting and place up against the raw edges. You do have to pin your binding closed: however to make it easier to top-stitch it closed. So what does this quilt look like finished?


Detail photo of the corner!

And somebody taking a rest on the quilt!

There are no wrong ways to make a quilt. Do whatever suits your fancy. Remember the function of a quilt is to keep someone warm. So have fun and make quilts!

Have a good day!



  1. Gosh, you make it look so easy. Great tutorial. I'm going to add it to my Leigh's Fiber Links Miscellaneous Page.

  2. Leigh, quilting is easy! The hard part for me is deciding which fabrics to use! And I will say it again, start with a simple block, as simple as a 4 1/2-inch blocks of fabric and lay them out beside each other in whatever arrangement appeals. You can make a half-dozen different quilts right off the top of my head with that one block!

    Thanks for stopping by and the link!

  3. Thank-you! I am always amazed with what you can do with something as simple as gingham and different fabric in your stash.

    Thanks for leaving a comment!


Anonymous comments are no longer accepted due to the weird.