Binding - part 1

Learn how to bind a quilt with straight edges. This is part one of a series of two lessons on binding.

When you make a quilt with straight borders, you should also make straight binding for that quilt. When you make a quilt with mitered borders, then you should miter your binding also. Binding should be the same width on the back as it is on the front.

Double binding verse single binding: Sometimes it is good to use a double binding on quilts. This means two layers of fabric are used. This makes for a stronger binding, but not necessary on wall quilts where there is little wear and tear. Some quilters prefer double bindings, while other prefer single.

Before adding straight bindings, check your quilt. Did you put side borders on first? If so, then you need to put the side bindings on first, otherwise do the top and bottom first. When you do not have enough fabric for the length of a binding, you will need to join strips together. Strips should always be joined on the bias. This disperses the bulk of the seam and it is also less visible to the eye.

To join strips on the bias, place two strips right sides together at a 90 degree angle as shown, and stitch across the diagonal. Trim seam allowance to 1/4". Press seam open.bias join

The only time a bias binding is required is for a curved edge. All other binding should be cut on the straight of grain.

For this lesson in binding, I will show you how easy it is to make binding for straight border quilts. Click here to find out how to make mitered bindings.

Straight Binding Instructions

To make straight binding cut binding strips twice the width of your finished binding plus 3/4". I allow 1/4" seam allowance (two seams equals 1/2") and 1/4" for the fold. For instance, if you require a 1/2" finished binding, strips would be cut at 1 3/4" wide. (2 x binding width (1/2") + 3/4"). If you wish to make a double binding, double this amount.

Start by measuring through the center of the quilt, either vertically if you are going to add the side binding first, or horizontally for the top and bottom bindings. Note: Do not measure and cut strips for both (horizontally and vertically) at this stage otherwise stripes will be too short.

Why measure through the center? If your quilt is not quite square, you will be taking an average measurement. By cutting the binding to this length, it will help pull the quilt back into shape.

Cut two strips the vertical measurement for the side bindings. Mark center of binding and match this to center of quilt side. Pin ends of binding to match ends of quilt.

Use a walking foot or similar to stitch binding in place to prevent movement.

Press binding over seam allowance. Note: it makes a big difference if you actually use the iron to press the binding over the seam rather than just fold it over.  

Now measure through the center of the quilt horizontally to find the length of top and bottom bindings (or vertically for the sides). Take the measurement right through to the raw edge of the binding.

Cut two strips of binding this length. Stitch to top and bottom edges, matching centers and ends, as for sides.

Turn binding to wrong side of quilt. Turn under 1/4" seam allowance and slip stitch in place. Be sure to turn under the binding strips you attached first so the seam is hidden.

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© Ruth Blanchet 2003 … Note: these instructions are copyrighted. It is illegal to copy them, distribute or sell them without permission. Thank you for respecting the rights of the designer. Designed for Arbee Designs

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