Consider these 4 before binding your quilt

The ultimate finish to any quilt—binding!

These are the last few days of the year and I’m celebrating the past year by finishing a quilt I’m making for charity. I’m part of a group that makes over 200 quilts a year that are donated to different organizations in our city. By finishing the quilt I mean I have to put on the binding. There are so many ways you can approach binding and there isn’t one right way or one wrong way, it’s important to consider these 4 before binding your quilt.

It doesn’t matter which method you choose I think we can all agree on one thing. Binding is the ultimate finish to any quilt – it’s not finished without the binding and attaching my binding with the PFAFF Passport 3.0 sewing machine with IDT makes it easier, let me show you why.

There are some basic questions you have to ask yourself before you take that final step of binding your quilt.

1. What  fabric will you choose for your binding? Will it be one (or more) of the fabrics used in the quilt top? Will it be the same fabric as the backing or will it be a completely separate but coordinating fabric? Print? Plain? Stripe?

2. Will you cut your strips on the bias or straight cut? Usually this is personal preference. I believe that occasionally this decision is made for us based on the quilt top itself. If the quilt top has lots of curves on concave and convex points then you’ll likely go with Bias Cut.

3. How wide will you cut your strips? Most people fall into will choose either the 2½” width or 2¼”. Some people even use a 2” strip. For me it depends on the thickness of the quilt, and the method I’m going to use to apply it.

4. How are you going to attach the binding to the quilt? This can be the cause of some serious debates in the quilting world. I’ve noticed that most people one of two options on this issue.

  • Option one – attaching the binding to the front of the quilt by machine and hand stitching the quilt to the back.
  • Option two – attaching the binding to the quilt back by machine then flip the binding over and machine quilt the binding to the front of the quilt.

These are just some of the questions – there are so many others. Flanges? Prairie Points? Piping? OR you don’t even need to cut strips you could leave extra fabric on the front or back of the quilt to fold over and use as binding…

My Favorites

I love a striped fabric binding, cut on the bias at 2¼” wide and I use my machine with IDT to attach the binding to the front of the quilt. I press it to the back of the quilt and hand stitch the back down.   I tried lots of other methods and this is the one I like the most. For very special quilts I’ll add a flange or piping.

Today however, I’m going out of my comfort zone. I’m using the same fabric that is prevalent in the quilt. The quilt I’m working on came as a kit so the binding has actually been cut for me at 2½”. I’m going to apply the binding to the back of  the quilt, using my ¼” foot with the IDT system.

Applying binding with my PFAFF Passport 3.0, the ¼” foot and IDT system.

Then I’m going to flip the binding over to the front of the quilt and apply the binding to the front of the quilt using my regular A foot with IDT. I’m going to choose a decorative stitch for this step. I’m doing this because my PFAFF Passport 3.0 has so many decorative stitches to choose from AND because I’m up against a self imposed deadline. I want the binding finished this morning so I can make preparations for Holiday Celebrations with some of my Quilting Friends. If I don’t apply that binding by machine it won’t be done by this evening, I’m not a fast hand sewer!

Using a decorative stitch and the A Presser Foot to apply binding to the front of a quilt.

Using the PFAFF Passport 3.0 sewing machine to make a quilt for charity has been a real treat! I love the IDT system, the great lighting, the quality stitching, the extension table—everything. I love everything about this machine and it’s light weight and portable so I’ve moved it every day to the dining room table so I can enjoy my holiday decorations while I pieced, quilted and bound my quilt. It was a great finish to the year and an ultimate finish for this quilt.

Decorative Stitch to secure the binding to the front of the quilt. Stitch #41 from the PFAFF Passport 3.0

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Anne Dovel May 6, 2016 - 7:53 pm
Love this especially for my baby quilts.
Anne Gale January 8, 2016 - 8:49 am
Great tips and information; Thanks
Sarah December 31, 2015 - 1:44 pm
This is a really useful article; thanks!
Sarah J. December 29, 2015 - 7:40 pm
I dread binding- I'm still learning what works best for me. I am going to try a decorative stitch on the front next time- looks so fun.
Judy December 26, 2015 - 7:54 pm
Cool decorative stitch on the binding, looks nice!
Peggy December 25, 2015 - 10:57 pm
Definitely prefer option 1 for attaching the binding. But I always seem to forget about using a decorative stitch for option 2. I'll have to give that a go and see if that works ok for me. Thanks for the reminder!
Mary Jordan December 25, 2015 - 11:53 am
I started using my serger to prep my edges before putting the binding on. The stitch lis just under 1/4 inch and it compacts all the layers together. Thus has enabled me to use 2 inch binding strip and get a nice wrap to the other side. Still do the hand stitching on the back side. Gives me a chance to be with my husband in the evening. Liked this article. Need to try sewing down the wrapped over side by machine.
Lee Lenfest December 24, 2015 - 5:50 pm
I need to be brave and do decorative stitches on a quilt -- I think it would add a lovely touch.
Shirley December 24, 2015 - 3:43 pm
Thanks for the good tips.
Linda December 24, 2015 - 1:09 pm
Love the idea of using decorative stitches
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