I recently got The Quilter’s Bible by Linda Clements from amazon.co.uk and she’s got some instructions for binding that I hadn’t seen before. So mine is similar, but her method for joining up those last ends looked like it might require more skill than I currently have.
This binding tutorial will work for a quilt of any size, from mug rugs to big quilts.
First you need to determine how long it needs to be – measure one long and one short side and multiply by 2 (35″ side + 45″ length x 2 = 160″). Then you need to add on extra for joining it all together at the end. If you’re doing a mug rug, 10″ is enough. If you’re binding a big quilt, aim for 20″. Small quilt needs 12″-16″ extra.
I always use 2 1/2″ wide binding strips. Some people use 2.25″. You can do whatever you’re comfortable with.
You will probably need to join your strips together to make them one continuous strip. Here’s how:
Place one strip face up on your ironing board as shown. Place another strip face down on the end, as shown. Fold and press the other strip as shown in the picture, then unfold and carefully line it up with the edges of your first strip (the orange one):
Stitch down that line, then trim the seam allowance down to 1/4″. Press seams OPEN to prevent bulk:
Continue joining strips in this way until you have all the length you need. Then iron them lengthwise, with wrong sides together, as shown below:
Now, with the unfinished edges pointed out, pin one side to the rug/quilt. Most of the time, I attach mine to the back, then bring it round the front and machine stitch the edge down (no patience!). You could also attach it to the front, fold it to the back and slipstitch by hand. Do what you are comfortable with. Before you start sewing, however, leave a tail, as long as possible. Make sure you leave a tail, and leave yourself plenty of room to join up the tail! See photo and paragraph below:
Ok, so you’re not at this stage yet, but see how much ‘empty’ room I’ve left myself? This is because manouvering the binding over to your sewing machine to finish it off is a HUGE pain if you’ve only left yourself a tiny bit of space to do it by sewing right up to the point where it overlaps at the end. So my advice? Leave as much room as possible. Start sewing only a few inches from the bottom edge, and stop sewing a few inches in from the top edge when you come all the way around.
Mark a line 1/4″ from the bottom edge (as shown below in blue chalk). Sew with a 1/4″ seam allowance to that line and sew a couple of locking/backstitches. Use a walking foot if you have one. See below:
Take the quilt off the sewing machine completely.
Flip your long tail up like shown below and finger press:
Now fold it back down and pin carefully in place (it will have a little ‘ear’ on the left):
Now line up and pin the binding to the rug/quilt the same as you did before, and sew from the top all the way down 1/4″ above the next edge. Sew till you’re 1/4″ away from the next corner.
Repeat for all the edges.
When you get toward the end, leave another tail overlapping your first one. Trim the tails so they overlap by the width of the binding plus 1/4″. (So on a 2 1/2″ binding, overlap by 2 3/4″ )
Now with right sides together, overlap each end by 1/8″ and draw a line like shown below:
Sew down that line (it’s all a bit fiddly but keep trying and you’ll get there – I scrunch up the quilt to get it to behave). Trim the seam allowance to 1/4″ and press open (oops, I forgot to press open in the pic, but you should do it now!):
Now you can stitch that down:
Now fold it over to the front, pin like crazy and stitch the edges down:
Done! You’re awesome!
(The first time I wrote this tutorial, I was too chicken to try it by machine. But I lost my enthusiasm for hand stitching when I learned how to knit, so I started on mug rugs, then progressed to quilts. I have NO patience, so it works better for me. If I keep to the edges I usually don’t catch the back binding in my stitches. And if I do, so what? It’s on the back!)
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