We're happy to continue our Quilting 101 series here on the SQ blog where we give you tutorials on all of the steps to make a quilt from start to finish. Now we are finally at the end of this sewing journey and wrapping up (quite literally) your quilt. It's time to learn how to sew binding on a quilt! Hooray! Pat yourself on the back. You deserve it!!
Sewing quilt binding may not be the most exciting part of making a quilt, but it is the icing on your beautiful cake – so it’s best to take the extra time and do it right. The video below will demonstrate how to sew binding on a quilt step by step.
Quilt Binding Supplies
Some optional supplies include:
What is Quilt Binding and How Do I Make It?
I’m glad you asked! Binding is a strip of fabric used to cover the raw edges of a quilt. To make binding you need to:
- Measure the perimeter of your quilt to determine how much binding you will need.
- Do the math. Here’s an example:
- Your quilt is 56" x 66"
- To find the perimeter calculate (56 x 2) + (66 x 2) = 244.
- Because you will need some extra wiggle room for seam allowances, add 12" to that number: 256
- Divide the perimeter by the width of your fabric (most quilting cotton off the bolt is 42" wide minus the selvage, so let’s say 40") 256 ÷ 40 = 6.4
- Based on our amazing quilty math skills, we know that we need 7 strips of fabric.
- If you HATE math, here is a link to a binding calculator that will figure all of that out for you (you’re welcome).
- Using a rotary cutter, cutting mat and a ruler, cut 2 ¼" strips of fabric. This will make a nice, uniform appearance on both the front and the back. (Using the example above, you would need to cut 7 strips of fabric.)
- Connect the strips by placing two strips, right sides together and sewing at a 90° angle. Sew the them together on a 45° angle across the diagonal. Sewing mitered seams like this helps them blend into the fabric better and lessens bulky seams. See photo.
- Once all of the strips are connected, trim the excess fabric so each seam is a ¼".
- Press seams open with an iron. Press the strips in half so that the right side of the fabric stays on the outside.
How to Sew Binding to a Quilt
Line up the raw edges of the binding with the raw edges of the quilt. The folded edge should be facing toward the quilt. Leaving 6" - 8" of extra fabric, start sewing the binding around the edges of the quilt.
Refer to the tutorial video for details on how to rotate the binding so that the corners of the quilt have perfect 45° angles. The video tutorial will also demonstrate how to connect the two edges of binding seamlessly.
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Two Different Ways to Finish Binding
Sewing binding to your quilt is twofold – the first step is sewing the binding to the edges of the quilt, the second step is to fold the binding over and tack it down. It is the second step that allows for a couple options.
- The first technique (demonstrated in the video) uses a whip stitch to hand-sew the folded part of the binding to the quilt. This process looks cleaner because the finishing stitches are invisible.
To whip stitch, thread a needle and tie a knot on the end of about 18” of thread. Tuck the knot underneath the binding. Grab a bit of the backing of the quilt and push the needle through the binding.
Continue forming each stitch be bringing the needle in behind each previous stitch and pushing it out ahead of the last stitch. Make sure not to sew all the way through to the front side of the quilt. If you accidentally do that, your binding stitches will be visible on the front.
- The second technique uses a sewing machine to tack down the binding. These stitches are much more obvious and are visible on both the front and the back of the quilt. This may not look as nice as the first option, but it is much faster. If you are pressed for time or are mass-producing quilts, this will be the better option.