Last week’s post showed how to make quilt binding, and a previous post showed how to square up your quilt after quilting it. Now that these two steps are done, it’s time to apply the binding around the raw edges of your quilt.
We are going to do this by machine and use the double fold method, which is strong, sturdy, and long-wearing.
I start at one corner of the quilt, from the BACK side. Line up the raw edges of your prepared binding and the quilt. Leave a length of binding a couple feet long, or in the case above, it was about half the width of a short side.
I pinned to hold for the photo.
(Note on this binding: it was too narrow as it was sent to me, and I widened it with some strips from leftover backing to bring it up to the 2.5″ width needed. That’s why some of it is the same blue as the backing.)
When starting at the corner, I start 1/4″ or so in from the top edge and I back stitch. Note I am also using my walking foot. This helps the binding go on smoothly and evenly so there will be no ripples at the end of these long seams.
Keep sewing, raw edges together, with a 1/4″ seam. Mine is a generous 1/4″ not the usual skimpy one used for piecing. If you want to split hairs, it works out to about 3/8″ but there’s no mark on the machine for that. Just think fat 1/4″.
When you get to the next corner, STOP 1/4″ away and backstitch for 4-6 stitches.
Take the quilt out from under the foot for a bit, do NOT cut any thread. Fold the binding down and start again 1/4″ in from the top edge, again backstitching. You will not sew off the corner.
Continue to the next corner and repeat until you do all four.
When all four corners are done and I have one side left to do, I finish that corner, back stitch and cut my thread.
Lay the quilt flat and overlap the two free ends of binding. We’re going to join these up first and then sew it down.
The right side has the free end from where I started and the left needs to be trimmed. Overlap and make sure there is 2.5″ overlap on the TOP longer side. Trim that off.
The overlap is for the join and should be the same measurement as the binding width (in this case, 2.5″).
We join it up diagonally the same way we joined the strips to make the binding.
Here is the final side all joined and stitched down. WHEW. Don’t be tempted to flip it over and keep going, we need to do another step.
Head on over to your iron and ironing board, flip the quilt over back side up and PRESS that binding outwards.
It really will make a difference! Don’t worry about the corners yet.
Flip the quilt over to the front and you’ll see the binding all nice and flat and ready to fold.
Fold the binding over so the folded edge is JUST over the seam line. With accurate seams and a square quilt, it will land here naturally as soon as you fold it along the edge, with no tugging into place. Press flat.
Note the corner neatly folds into a point. It’s easy to fold down the next side and the binding will line up the corner nicely too.
Stitch it down from the front. I use an inner edge of my foot as a guide for the folded edge, and since I pressed this flat, there’s not a lot ot do other than keep it held down and going through the machine straight. I usually start along the bottom of the quilt or near a corner.
The stitching should be about 1/8″ from the folded edge of the binding.
You can give the corners a final press if you like. If you’re worried they will come out, you can also backstitch a little as you stitch. Go to the corner, stop. Backstitch then go forward again, stop. Needle down in the machine, pivot the quilt top with the foot up, then foot down and continue.
On the back side, the stitching line from the top should be just along the first binding seam. Don’t worry too much if it wavers a little – it will come with practise.
I hope this helps! Let me know if any steps need further clarification.