2 bindings that divide quilters into 2 groups

Next step – binding

Yesterday I fused down all of my applique pieces and free motion machine quilted the sunflower quilt. Last night I took it off of the quilting frame and trimmed the excess batting and backing from the quilt. Now it’s time to finish it up! Today I’m going to give you some great tips for making scrappy binding and hanging sleeves for your quilt.

Since I have a lot of green fabric left over I decided to use it to make a scrappy binding for my quilt. I always cut my binding strips 2½ʺ wide, so I cut a couple strips off of each of my green fat quarters. Don’t those Toscana, Artisan Spirit Sandscapes and Artisan Spirit Shimmer fabrics look yummy together???

Assorted 2½ʺ binding strips

I sewed these together randomly end to end using a mitered join. If you want a more in-depth tutorial for making binding check out my QUILTsocial post from October 2014. This is the way I make all of my binding regardless of the size or type of quilt.

Sewing the binding strips together with a mitred join

A pile of scrappy binding

Tips for tidying up leftover binding strips

Once you’re finished binding your quilt you’ll probably have some amount of binding leftover. If you are like me, you HATE throwing away these leftovers. Check out my blog post from March 22nd for some great tips for tidying up – and USING – those leftovers.

Making the hanging sleeve

If you want to hang a quilt on a wall, you’re almost always going to need a hanging sleeve. And if you’re going to enter a quilt in a quilt show, you’re probably going to need to have a hanging sleeve on the back of the quilt.

For large bed quilts I have pre-made sleeves that I just pin to the back of the quilt for the show and then remove after. But for all of my wall hangings I sew on a permanent hanging sleeve. Our local quilt guild likes to have a 4″ hanging sleeve on the back of any quilt that’s entered into our show, so that’s the size that I’m going to make here.

You can either have one sleeve that runs the entire width of the quilt or you can have a split sleeve – basically two separate sleeves with a small space in between. For this quilt I’m going to make a split sleeve.

The first step is to measure the width of the quilt and determine how long your sleeve needs to be. Usually, I cut the fabric for the sleeve about 1″ shorter than the width of the quilt. To make the split sleeve I just cut this fabric strip in half.

To make a 4″ wide sleeve you need a fabric strip that’s about 8½ʺ wide.

Cutting the hanging sleeves

Press over the ends

I fold over about ½ʺ on both short ends of the hanging sleeve and press. Then I fold this over again and press a second time to enclose the raw edges inside the fold.

Pressing the hanging sleeve – step 1

Pressing the hanging sleeve – step 2

Topstitch and press

Now I topstitch the two ends of the sleeve and then I press the sleeve in half lengthwise with wrong sides together.

Topstitching the hanging sleeve ends

Pressing the hanging sleeve – part 3

Pin the sleeve

Since I’m making a split sleeve for my quilt I repeated the above steps to make the second sleeve and then I pinned them to the top back of the quilt aligning the raw edges with the raw edges of the quilt. If you only have one sleeve you just center it on the back of the top edge of the quilt. With my split sleeve I just had to pin them on so that the same amount of space was left at the left and right sides of the top edge of the quilt.

Pinning the hanging sleeves

Sewing on the binding

The binding is sewn on as you usually would, but you need to pay extra attention when sewing the top edge of the quilt to make sure that the raw edges of the binding, quilt AND hanging sleeve are all aligned. You sew through all of these layers using a generous ¼ʺ seam (almost ⅜ʺ wide).

Lining up the quilt, binding and hanging sleeve

Sewing on the binding using a generous ¼ʺ seam

Hand stitching the binding and hanging sleeve

The last step is to fold binding to the back of the quilt and to hand stitch in place. This is one step that really divides quilters into two groups – the ones who HATE hand sewing binding and the ones who LOVE it. Personally, I’m in the second group and rarely finish my binding by machine quilting. But there are lots of great tutorials online for machine sewing a binding. I recently learned how to do magic binding and it’s AMAZING!!

You also need to hand stitch the bottom edge of the hanging sleeve and OF COURSE add a label (although I’m REALLY bad at completing THAT step). Once all of this is done, your masterpiece is ready to adorn one of your walls! Not too shabby if I do say so myself!!

The finished Sunflower Quilt

Thanks for spending the week with me as I experimented with Northcott’s awesome Toscana, Artisan Spirit Sandscapes and Artisan Spirit Shimmer fabrics. I LOVE working with Northcott fabrics and hope that you will check out the selection at your local quilt shop. I hope that you’ve been inspired to try making your own art quilt and that today I was able to give you some good tips for making scrappy binding and hanging sleeves for your quilts.

This is part 5 of 5 in this series.
Go back to part 4:  Free motion quilting the sunflower quilt


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Aubree Workman March 14, 2017 - 2:02 am
This quilt is beautiful!
Heather Chaulk June 14, 2016 - 6:15 pm
Very informative! Great tutorial thank you!
Dusty Ward June 14, 2016 - 5:22 am
I made my first quilt last May and I still haven't finished the binding. I really want to finish it but the thought of all that hand sewing makes my insides cringe! Lol
Carla A. Canonico June 14, 2016 - 11:14 pm
You're not alone Dusty! Try finishing it by machine. Let me know how it goes! Thank you for visiting QUILTsocial and Sunday QUILTing.
Cindy June 13, 2016 - 6:43 am
I make my bindings the same way. Lovely quilt!!
Christine Baker June 13, 2016 - 11:08 am
Thank you!
LAUREL MCGILVERY June 12, 2016 - 3:55 am
I vacillate between group 1 and group 2. There are days I'm happy to sit quietly and sew on bindings. Other days (or rather other quilts), I just want it done and quickly machine sew the binding.
Carol Smith June 10, 2016 - 11:38 am
Those fabrics are perfect for the sunflower project. You really have a great eye, Christine.
Christine Baker June 13, 2016 - 11:15 am
Thanks Carol!!
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