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Binding a Quilt with a Herringbone Stitch!

by Christine Baker

What to do with all of those magazines??? 

Variegated thread  + herringbone stitch = an ‘out of the ordinary’ finish for binding a quilt. 

We are at the last steps for finishing up our quilted binder covers. If you are like me, then you have a HUGE collection of old quilting magazines. There are some magazines (like my complete collection of A Needle Pulling Thread) that I will never cut up.

For many of the other magazines that I read there’s always at least one project or one article in each that I would like to refer back to at a later date, but sadly I never remember which magazine a certain article was in. I’ve also started to run out of room to keep all of these magazines, so I’ve started a new system where I rip out the articles I want to keep and I put each one in its own individual page protector. These then all go into a binder for future reference. I call it my idea book and I think that this cover would be PERFECT for it!

How NOT to make the binding!!

If you have been working along with me, then you too are at the stage to add binding to your quilted book cover. Pick a fabric for the binding and cut 2½” wide strips of this fabric. Make sure you have enough to go around the entire outside edge and a little extra for the corners. Use a mitred join if you have to join strips to get the correct length. But pay attention when you are sewing or you might end up doing the same thing that I did LOL:

How NOT to sew your binding strips together LOL

How NOT to sew your binding strips together LOL

Once all of your binding strips are sewn together, fold it in half lengthwise and press. This would be a great project to use up leftover binding strips from other projects so have a look around your sewing room and see what you’ve got stashed away!

Sew binding to the outside of the book cover, aligning the raw edges of the binding with the raw edges of the cover.  Fold the binding to the inside of the cover and pin in place.

Turn binding to the inside of the cover and pin

Turn binding to the inside of the cover and pin

Time to play with those decorative stitches

I bet your sewing machine has lots of stitches that you’ve never used before – well here’s your chance! Here’s what I had to choose from – I’m going to use the herringbone #22.

Assortment of stitches

Assortment of stitches

It’s nice to use a wide decorative stitch when you’re sewing this part of the binding because it looks nice and it makes sure that you catch the back of the binding all of the way around. Use your decorative stitch on the front (outside) to sew the binding through all of the layers. When you’re sewing on the binding, center your stitching in the ditch between the cover front and the front of the binding as I show in this video.

Sewing binding with a herringbone stitch – YouTube

Christine Baker of Fairfield Road Designs demonstrates how to use a decorative stitch to sew down binding.

Time for the debut

Once you finish sewing all the way around, check the back to make sure that you didn’t miss any of the back of the binding and clip all of your threads. Slide the front and back covers of your book under the inside flaps and your quilted book cover is complete!


Making your idea book

As I said before, you can use this binder for anything, but mine is going to house all of my favorite clippings for quilt magazines, each in their own page protector pocket. The front flaps also make great pockets for holding little bits and pieces too.

Slip favorite projects into page protectors

Slip favorite projects into page protectors

The front and back flaps make great pockets

The front and back flaps make great pockets

Make it your own

And here it is – my finished book! I really love how it turned out!  

Now that I’ve shown you how to make the basic book cover, you can dress it up or down and use different embellishments to make it your own.

You can piece the outside cover or add applique before layering and quilting. After quilting and before sewing on inside flaps, you could sew a Velcro™ tab to the back cover that folds around to the front, or sew on beads or buttons, fancy yarns or other fibers and then finished as I’ve described above.

These would also make great gifts, so you could get a head start on Christmas! I offered to make my son a set for his school binders but he declined – really, what 16-year-old boy WOULDN’T want quilted binder covers for school!!

Join me next month when I get to try out WonderFil’s rayon “Mirage” thread – I can’t wait for it to arrive, but until then I think I’ll browse through my thread painted idea book for some new projects to work on!



Juliet Wood September 30, 2014 - 9:53 am

Hi, I really like this binder cover but have not been clever enough to find where you began the tutorial on making a binder for all the magazine favourites you want to keep. I know I saw it on a blog but where?? I lvoe this idea and the binder cover is so pretty.

Carla A. Canonico October 8, 2014 - 11:07 am

Hi Juliet, not sure why I just your comment?! Anyway, the process/instructions for making this binder was blogged about from September 22 – 26th. Christine started with free motion work first – see it at the following link:
My apologies again…


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