Monday, July 8, 2013

How to make Quilt Binding, or how I make it at least!

Putting the binding on a quilt is like putting the icing on a cake.

Every binding chef probably has their own secret recipe for the perfect binding.

I will tell you my recipe.  It's a bit of religion really.  If you make your binding differently, tell me why and maybe I'll try a taste!

First you will want to know how big your quilt is.  Measure all the sides and add them up.  If you're lucky, the opposite slides are equal lengths.  If that is not the case, you can do some wet blocking with pins to try and help yourself out of that little jam.
I cut 2.25" wide pieces of fabric, all the way across from selvage to selvage (which is usually 44" or so on quilt cotton).  I have found that is the thickness that looks good in my opinion.  Any thicker and it starts to look like more than just a little frame.  It can overpower the quilt.

Some quilters cut binding on the bias, which is also a good practice, but not necessary unless the quilt will get a lot of washing.

Joining the strips together on the diagonal put less stress on the fibers and give you a longer lasting binding.  I always do that.

I make sure that the total amount of binding inches is enough to go around the quilt + 10 inches extra for corners and joining together at the end.  

For example, if your quilt is 80" square, I would cut (80x4)+10 = 330 inches.

Wow, I did some quilting math for you.

Oh, and I don't use pins as I machine sew the binding on the front of the quilt.  I just guide it along with my fingers only.  I know....No Pins!  Horrors!!!  You're thinking I've lost my mind, right?

I use hand applique to sew the back side of the binding to the back side of the quilt.  I use cotton thread, not silk applique thread (pretty but not tough enough for binding I've found).

If you're still awake here, give yourself a gold star.

If you want to see an incredible online class on the topic with really awesome video, see Sue Nickel's Creativebug class on Quilt Finishing and Binding.  I just watched it, and it's amazing.  It might just be the best $15 you ever spent.

I'm also thinking of doing a little give away later this week, so check back soon. 


Nifty Quilts said...

It's fun to see that you do your binding the same way I do! Another trick I learned recently is to wind your pressed binding onto something like a ruler. I use a straight piece of my son's old Brio train track.

Granny Maud's Girl said...

Thanks for the silk thread tip. I have so fallen in love with silk thread that I might have been tempted to use it, but now I know to stick to good old cotton for the binding.
Like you, I do not pin my binding as I machine it down. I do give it a quick check before I start sewing just to try avoid the problem of joins ending up right on the corners.

Anonymous said...

Always interesting to know how others chose to do these essentials. For some reason I make my binding bias, and follow a technique where I get one continuous length from a square of fabric (it's really cool and satisfies the math geek in me!) Plus it avoids me sewing each individual 45 deg seam...always manage to get them backwards.
I like my strips 2.25" as well.