10 easy steps to the perfect quilt binding

Welcome to Day Five! With the quilt top almost fully assembled, the only things remaining to do are to add a border, quilt the quilt top and add the binding. All very doable, especially if a friend does the quilting!

Yesterday, I showed off the scissors I like to take have in my arsenal of quilting tools. My favorites are:

·         INFINITI Embroidery Scissors – 412″ [11.5cm]

·         INFINITI Sewing Scissors – 6″ [15cm]

·         INFINITI Tailor Scissors – 814″ [21cm]

·         LDH One Piece Thread Snips

·         LDH 9″ Pinking Shears

You can’t go wrong with this assortment of scissors at the ready!

LDH pinking shears and thread snips along with INFINITI tailor, embroidery and sewing scissors.

By the time I’d finished assembling the quilt top, I knew I wanted to add a small border around it.

I used two fabrics from the Whimsicals collection by Michael Miller Fabrics for the border and binding:

  • Quotes – straw (DC9534)
  • Favorite Flowers – metal (DC9529)

Two fabrics from the Whimsicals collection by Michael Miller Fabrics.

To construct the border and binding, I cut seven strips measuring 2½” x width of fabric from each of the two fabrics. One fabric will be used for the border and the other will be used for the binding.

Sew the strips of one fabric together, end to end, to create one long strip.

There are two options for sewing the strips together:

  • sew the strips with a simple ¼” seam, or
  • sew a 45° diagonal seam.

I prefer the second option, given its appearance and, with the seams pressed open, I like how the bulk of the seam spreads out over 2½”.

To sew a 45° diagonal seam, draw a diagonal line on the wrong side of both ends of each strip. Only one end of the strip needs to have a diagonal line. I do this so that no matter which end of the strip I pick up, there’s a line ready for me!

Note: The fabric used in the photo below is to better show where to place the diagonal lines and will not be part of the quilt.

Draw a 45° diagonal line on the wrong side of the fabric at each end of the 2½” wide strips.

Place the short ends of two strips right sides together at a 90° angle to one another. Sew along the drawn diagonal line and cut away excess fabric, leaving a ¼” seam allowance.

Sew along the drawn diagonal line and trim ¼” from the seam towards the outer edge.

Press seams open.

Press seams open.

Repeat with remaining strips to create one long strip, and repeat to create two long strips. Set one long fabric strip aside for the binding.

I learned a long time ago not to cut fabric based on what the measurement of the quilt should be. Because our cutting and sewing styles all differ, as can our ¼” seams, I always physically measure my quilt. At this point, the quilt top should measure 58″ x 89½”.

Measure the quilt’s left and right sides first, then cut strips to the required length and sew them to each side of the quilt. Next, measure the top and the bottom of the quilt. Cut strips to the correct length and sew them to the top and bottom.

Border added to the quilt top.

The quilt top is now complete. My friend Irene Lafleche has agreed to quilt it and get it back to me before the end of this post!

While waiting for the quilt to come back, I want to mention probably one of the most important tools everyone must keep next to their sewing machine – in fact, I have several. The UNIQUE Seam Ripper is a great size and has a comfortable ergonomic grip.

UNIQUE sewing seam ripper.

Now that the quilting is done, it’s time to attach the binding.

Tip! Read through all steps before starting.

Step 1

Fold the binding strip in half lengthwise, wrong sides together, and press along the full length.

Fold the full length of the binding strip in half lengthwise with wrong sides together and press.

Step 2

With the quilt facing up, line up the raw edge of your binding strip with the raw edge of the quilt. Begin sewing a ¼” straight stitch seam approximately 5″ from the end of the strip.

Sew the binding to the quilt edge beginning the seam 5″ from the end of the fabric strip.

Step 3

Stop sewing ¼” from the edge of the quilt edge.

Stop sewing ¼” away from the quilt’s edge.

Step 4

Fold the binding up so it’s in line with the next edge of the quilt, creating a 45° angle in the binding fabric, then fold it down to match the edge of the quilt.

Fold the binding strip away from quilt.

Fold the strip down and continue sewing along the quilt’s next edge.

Step 5

Repeat the above steps until the binding is sewn around the entire quilt. Stop sewing 10″-12″ away from where the first seam begins.

Stop sewing binding 10″-12″ from the start of the first seam.

Step 6

Pin down the first 5″ section of the strip that was not sewn down. Find the diagonal line by opening the binding strip. Place a pin where the diagonal line meets the edge of the quilt fabric.

Place a pin where the diagonal line meets the quilt’s edge.

Step 7

Pin the other end of the strip to the quilt and over the end of the strip with the 45° diagonal line. Trim the binding strip to ¼” to the left of the pin.

Cut the fabric strip ¼” to the left of the pin that indicates where the diagonal line meets the quilt’s edge.

Step 8

Sew both binding ends together by sewing over the 45° diagonal line.

Attach both ends of the binding strip by sewing them, right sides together, along the diagonal line.

Step 9

Trim the seam allowance to ¼” and finger press the seam open. Align the edge of the binding with the edge of the quilt and sew it in place.

Sew the last section of binding strip to the quilt.

Step 10

Once the binding is sewn in place, simply fold the binding over the edge of the quilt and sew it in place on the back side either by hand or machine.

To hold binding in place when sewing, I like to use small UNIQUE quilting Clever Clips. They make a huge difference in the sewing process. If a wider binding is used, consider using the large UNIQUE quiting Clever Clips. Both sizes are also great to use when making bags or doing English paper piecing.

Secure folded binding in place with UNIQUE Quilting Clever Clips.

With the binding in place, the quilt is complete!

My Whimsicals collection quilt ready for a young one.

Over the past five days I’ve introduced many of the tools I always bring with me when I attend a retreat, workshop or a sew day with friends.

On Monday, I mentioned I have a bin packed with quilting supplies ready to go at all times. I also mentioned I needed to find something better than a bin. Well, I found something! The navy VIVACE Quilting Accessories Tote (it also comes in purple!) is the perfect size to carry all my Sew Easy rulers, UNIQUE cutting mats, INFINITI Scissors, and many other tools and notions. There’s even enough space to add fabrics for projects. It was worth the investment, and it sure beats a bin!

The blue Vivace Quilting Accessories Tote.

This was a fun week, and we covered a lot of learning! I look forward to teaching more techniques when I’m back in September. Until then, enjoy all your quilting adventures!

This is part 5 of 5 in this series

Go back to part 4: The right scissors for every sewing task!

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