As most of you know I travel and teach hands-on sewing workshops all over the country and through my travels I have found that many students find binding their weakest link in sewing. I designed this project for Riley Blake's Pincushion of the Week Club and decided I would make a free tutorial on how to make and add the binding to go around any project or quilt. There are many ways to add binding but I call this the "blonde" way; easy and do-able by most beginners.
Most quilts do not require the binding to be cut on the bias. Cut strips on the straight of grain. To achieve this fold the fabric in half matching up both selvage edges. Use a rotary cutter and ruler to cut the desired width of binding. For 1/4" finished binding I cut my fabric 2 1/8" wide. The extra 1/8" allows for the thickness and turn of the cloth giving a bit more fudge room.
Cut fabric on the straight of grain. If it necessary to piece multiple strips together to get enough length follow the directions below.
- Joining Strips Together
- Cut as many strips as necessary and place two strips right sides together so both edges hang off the ends as shown.
- Sew from the upper left corner down to the lower right corner as shown and trim off the excess leaving a 1/4" seam allowance.
- Binding 101
- Press the seams flat, then open and fold in half lengthwise with wrong sides together. Press to form a crease along the fold line.
- On one short end, apply a piece of 1/4" Steam A Seam 2 fusible web to the wrong side of the fabric by lightly pressing the paper side in place. Let cool and remove the release paper. Fold the short raw end under 1/4" and press with an iron. This will be your "START" end of your binding.
- Pick an inconspicuous place to start the binding which is typically done in the back left (most people's eyes go for the center or right side hence starting in the opposite place most will see first.) Never start your binding in a corner!
- Starting in the back left area, pin the binding so the raw edges are even with the quilt. I only pin a few inches to hold it in place while I start sewing then don't use pins any more. Use a scant 1/4" seam allowance and start sewing LEAVING 2" of the beginning UNSEWN! This leaves a space to tuck the end inside the starting point later on.
- Turing Corners ~ Making Miters
- Stitch towards the corner, stopping 1/4" away from the edge. Stop and clip threads and take the fabric out from underneath the presser foot so you can manipulate the binding.
- Bring the excess binding that has not been sewn straight up so that the raw edges are even with the next side of your quilt, forming a straight long edge as shown. When you fold the binding up, this will naturally form a miter in the fabric. Make sure your fabric looks like this with all the RAW EDGES ALIGNED IN A STRAIGHT LINE AS SHOWN BELOW.
- Hold your finger in the binding or use a pin to hold the binding in the miter area as your bring the raw edge of the binding down towards the other side of the quilt. Fold the binding making sure the folded edge at the top of the binding is even with the raw edge along the side you just finished sewing. Pin in place and make sure all raw edges are even and aligned with the quilt.
- Start sewing 1/4" away from the corner as shown below.
- To End The Binding
- There are many different ways to end the binding but this is the easiest way or "blonde way" as I like to call it. Easy and works every time without much mental power:)
- After sewing around all 4 corners as you approach the starting point, stop sewing 2" BEFORE YOU COME TO THE STARTING POINT.
- Measure how much of the binding is needed to reach the starting point plus 1/2" of excess to slip inside of the folded edge on the start of the binding. Trim off the excess using scissors as shown.
- Slip the raw edge of the ending into the beginning.
- Add pieces of Steam A Seam 1/4" binding to the top and bottom of the ending binding and steam the junction together so the fusible web joins the two ends together.
- Continue sewing the binding until you reach the beginning stitches and back stitch to lock your stitches.
- Turing Binding To Wrong Side
- Press the seam line of the binding and then press the binding up away from the quilt.
- On the wrong side lightly iron Steam A Seam 2 inside the seam allowance along all 4 edges. Allow to cool and remove the release paper from the fusible web.
- Wrap the binding around to the wrong side and gently pull it so it will go beyond the stitching line (this is why I cut my biding 2 1/8" wide instead of 2" wide.) Use glass head pins to pin it in place and then press with the tip of your iron to fuse the binding in place.
- To form a pretty miter on the back, manipulate the corner until it looks nice, making sure you check it on the right side and then pin it in place. Use the tip of your iron to fuse the binding in place. You can add a pinch of fusible web shoving it into the corner if necessary as this will help hold the corner neat until its sewn.
- From the right side stitch in the ditch. If you are not familiar with this term it means you are trying to sew in between the junction where the binding and the quilt top meet so the stitches won't show on either side, rather they get buried in between the two areas. Check the back to make sure the binding is getting caught in the seam line.