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Begin Sewing Binding to the Quilt
Use my step-by-step instructions to learn how to sew mitered binding to the edges of a quilt.
© Janet Wickell
Quilt Binding Instructions
Now that you've finished quilting, it's time to bind the quilt by sewing continuous binding strips
around its edges. We'll sew binding to the quilt so that each corner is perfectly mitered. A walking foot
(also called an even feed foot) helps keep the binding pucker-free as you sew, but a regular presser foot is fine if a walking foot is not available.
Before You Sew the Quilt's Binding
Trim the quilt sandwich to remove excess batting and backing. If the top itself is skewed, fold back the other two layers and use a rotary ruler to very carefully
square up the top of the quilt.
- Be very careful when squaring up a quilt edged in blocks, because removing the outer 1/4" seam allowance will will chop off the outline of those blocks, no matter what type of binding you use.
- Try squaring up the top by simply smoothing it with your fingers, easing corners and edges into a better position.
Begin Sewing the Binding
A quilt hanging sleeve can be added at the same time binding is sewn to the quilt, or after the binding is complete.
Before you begin, read the tuck-in method for beginning and ending doublefold binding -- you might prefer that finishing technique. It's the method I typically use.
- Starting about 1/3 of the distance between two corners, align the raw edge of one end of the folded binding with the raw edge of the quilt top, right sides together. (illustration does not show excess batting and backing)
- Leave an approximate 3" unpinned tail of quilt binding at the beginning, then pin several inches of binding to the quilt, towards its corner.
- Do a quick alignment around the rest of the quilt, without pinning, to make sure no seam allowances within the quilt binding will end up at a corner of the quilt, where seams would create too much bulk. If you find a seam allowance at a corner, change the starting point and recheck.
- Sew the quilt binding to the side of the quilt, leaving the beginning tail free. Use the seam allowance you chose when you made the quilt binding.
- Stop sewing before you reach the corner of the quilt, ending the seam the same distance from the approaching quilt edge as the width of the seam allowance.
That's a critical step. Many instructions tell you to end the seam 1/4" from the edge, which is fine if your binding seam is 1/4" wide, but isn't correct for narrower or wider seams. Following that important rule is the most important thing you can do to create easy mitered binding.
- Sew a few backstitches, cut threads and remove the quilt from the machine.