Monday, May 10, 2010

1st Quilt Ever -- Attaching the Binding

The finish line is in sight!!
Get ready for an epic-length post! :o)

Let's attach that binding!
Start in the middle of one side of your quilt. Line up your binding's raw edges with the raw edges of your quilt top, leaving about 8" loose, as shown.

Be sure your edges are aligned as you go!

When you come to a corner, STOP 1/4" before the edge of the quilt and backstitch.

Turn your quilt counterclockwise and fold your binding up, lining up the right-hand side of the quilt with the right-hand raw edge of the binding, as shown.

Fold the binding back down, lining up the top edge and the right-hand edge with the edges of your quilt.

Backstitch to the edge of your quilt and continue!

When you reach the side where you first started attaching your binding, STOP about 16" before the point where you started stitching, and backstitch. You now have two loose tails to deal with.

Lay the first tail of your fabric flat against your quilt and pin at the end.

Lay the second tail flat and pin just before it overlaps the first.

You will cut the second tail at the point where it overlaps 1/2" over the first tail.

Pinch your two tails together at the joint as shown.

Grab the two inner layers of the tails...

...and open them flat, right sides together. Sew with a 1/4" seam allowance.

Finger-press the seam open.

Fold your binding back together, wrong sides together, and lay it flat against your quilt, and finish attaching it.

Trim your batting and backing to about 3/8" beyond the raw edge of your binding.
You're all set to hand finish it!

Yes, folks, I said hand finish! I have only finished bindings by machine a very few times -- and each time I was severely disappointed in the result. I feel you will be much, MUCH happier with your final result if you take the time to do this last step right and make that binding look perfect!!

You need thread to blend with your binding (the thread won't show much -- you'll be doing tiny stitches if all goes well!), a hand needle, and three pins.

Lay your quilt on your lap with the backing up, and one corner just at your right. (If you are left-handed you will need to reverse these instructions!) Fold your binding around and up just over the stitching line that initially attached your binding to your quilt. Pin a small section, using your three pins. (I find that if I use more than three pins I end up stabbing myself when maneuvering things around. You can certainly do more if you like!)

I sew with a single thread. Knot the end of your thread and stick it into the seam allowance of your backing fabric, poking it back up just at your stitching line and barely through the folded edge of your binding, as shown.

Stick your needle into the backing just above the stitching line. Poke it to the left about 1/4". being sure not to poke your needle all the way through the front of your quilt, and pop it back up through the folded edge of your binding. That's it!

Put in your favorite movie and repeat that stich a zillion times until you've completed your quilt!


Now, come back on WEDNESDAY
for a


Melanie said...

I have really enjoyed this! Unfortunately I am hugely behind due to the terrible flooding in Nashville. While we were not personally flooded, other things have taken the forefront for the last 10 days or so. I hope to get back to work on my quilt some this week. I really am looking forward to seeing all those completed quilts!

Bonney said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you for this tutorial!!! It's very clear and I think I'm ready to take on the binding!

lmbhume said...

I have finished binding with the machine and always have a great finish. I use hair clips (not the curved 'pop' kind) to hold the binding to the back and sew in the ditch from the front. The clips can be slid from the presser foot to the next clip, are easily removed, and hold well. I will be finishing a quilt in a few days and will take some pictures as I go. I will post them on
I hope that you will try them. I don't like to use the curved clips or pins and have used these for years.
I love your blog and have enjoyed your great tutorials.

Susan said...

I've tried both machine and hand binding and I much, much, much prefer how it turns out when I do it by hand. It used to be a chore but now I love doing it (movie night!)- I suggest buying a simple leather thimble though, it will save you some finger soreness!

Christine said...

I missed where you folded over the "other" edge of the binding. Somewhere between trimming the backing/batting and starting to hand sew ... but how much do you turn over, 1/4 inch to match the seam??
Will it not work to turn that edge over before stitching it to the quilt? It would be easier to iron but I'm guessing not or you would have said that .... : )

Care said...

Hi Christine!

I'm not sure I understand your question...

When we originally created the binding, it was pressed in half ONCE -- it is not double-fold like prepackaged bias bindings are. When you sew it to the edge of your quilt by machine, BOTH raw edges of the binding are aligned with the raw edge of your quilt top. Then when you flip it around to the back of the quilt, the FOLDED edge of the binding lines up with the stitching line where you originally attached the binding by machine. All the raw edges of the binding and the quilt are then tucked neatly inside the binding!

I don't know if this answers your question... please email me if it didn't help at all! :o)


Sew It To Me said...

I won't be so afraid to bind anymore. Maybe I can finally finish this quilt!

Heidi said...

Hi Care, I've been reading your blog for a few months and I really love your projects. Thanks for the detailed instruction on how to "tack it down." Most bloggers just say tack it without giving a stitch name. (I am a self/internet-taught quilter and google everything.) I've been using a ladder stitch for my bindings; it seems pretty secure and, most of all, invisible--my crazy stitches aren't obvious.
Thanks for being so inspiring!

Anonymous said...

oh now that is just cool!
thank you. I've been struggling with binding my quilts and you now make it so easy. awesome stuff.

Christine said...

Thanks, Care ... I didn't understand that you sewed BOTH raw edges, I was thinking just one. That makes so much more sense (of course!). Why do I understand the complicated things and make the easy things complicated?
I have practiced quilting but not done the real one yet, so I am a few days away from this.
Thanks for straightening me out!

rhinsey said...

Did a quick google search for a "ladder stitch". Check out this great tute!!!
Can't wait to show off my 1st quilt ever in the quilt show!!!

rhinsey said...

Just finished my quilt!! Pics are up on the flickr group. I LOVE IT!!! Starting on another next week. Care - what are the details for the quilt show???

Kris @ said...

I just finished the machines sewing part of the binding and am onto the hand sewing part! Care, thanks so much for this fabulous tutorial!!!! I am having so much fun, I never thought I would ever make a quilt, thanks for inspiring me to do it!! :)

Care said...


No details yet! Just waiting for enough quilts to do a show with! :o) Will you send me an email?



YAY for making a quilt!! Isn't it so addicting?? Are you going to make more?? Are you in the flickr group? Send me an email!!

THANKS, ladies!

Kris @ said...

Care, i am in the flickr group, i'm goorsky and my quilt has lost of orange with a blue border, and i just finished sewing the binding!!!!! i'll put pics up tomorrow!!!!

also i wanted to share that i was at the high school i used to teach art at for their spring fair. (i'm a stay at home mom now) I was looking at the student quilts and they were so beautiful and inspiring! one of my very favorite students (i know you are supposed to have favorites....) made her very first quilt and did this same design!! we were having a blast comparing how we did it and what we liked about it. we both agreed that this is the first of many quilts!!! thanks so much!!!!

Care said...


YEAH! WOO HOO! I am so excited that you're already thinking about more quilts! And I LOVE how your first quilt turned out... GORGEOUS!

Darling Petunia said...

Hey, Care! All I have left now is the hand stitching! Luckily I have about 13 hours worth of dvds lined up! It won't take me that long will it?

Brandy@YDK said...

I'm a retard. I have no idea how to tie off my knot when I run out of thread.

Tennjenny said...

Brandy, I'm hoping someone will answer this, because I have just been winging my last knots. I get it done, but it isn't always neat and pretty, and I think I add some slack to the stitching in the process. I would love to see what I'm *supposed* to be doing instead.

Lynette @ My Craft Discovery said...

Hey Brandy and Jenny, this link will help you know what to do at the end of your thread. It's at the very end of the tutorial.

Tennjenny said...

Fabulous! It is the easy solutions that ALWAYS escape me. Thanks so much!