How to Bind a Quilt: A Step-by-Step Guide

So, you’ve been sewing for several months and now want to learn how to bind a quilt? Quilt binding can be exciting, especially with a precise guide that takes you through every step. 

You get to create stunning projects which you can complement with woven labels to appeal to your clients. Below are different ways of quilt binding you can choose from.

What Is Quilt Binding?

Quilt binding is the process through which the binding tape is sewed to the quilt. As an object, quilt binding refers to the fabric that surrounds the edges of a quilt sandwich, for instance, top, backing, and batting combined. 

The quilt binding is usually a strip of double folded fabric so it can be wrapped around the edge of the quilt and joined with it. You can cut your quilt binding using different methods, including:

Lengthwise Grain: This method runs parallel and stretches the least, making it rigid and unsuitable for most projects.

Cross Grain: This follows perpendicular to the selvage but along the fabric’s grain. 

How to Bind a Quilt by Hand

You’ve probably encountered numerous hand-sewn quilt binds on the internet that are perfectly done. If you are wondering how you can make such outstanding quilt binds, below is how to hand sew the binding on a quilt.

Step 1. Prepare Your Binding

Prep your quilt for binding
Image source: Homemade Emily Jane

Before you learn how to hand stitch quilt binding, you need to prepare your fabric for easy execution of this sewing technique. To get your quilt ready.

    • Square up your fabric by cutting the excess batting and backing.
    • Tug it appropriately to ensure it’s straight. When quilting, shifting may happen, affecting the outcome of your quilt binding. That’s why you need to ensure you square up and cut the binding perfectly straight for easy binding.
    • After trimming the quilt, sew all four sides near the edges. You can use a serger or overlock machine here to ensure you get the perfect binding fabric.
    • Cut your binding at 2.5″ wide, then join them on the diagonal. 

Wondering how you can determine the number of strips suitable for your garment? You only need to measure the perimeter of your quilt in inches and divide the result by 40. The answer you get is the number of strips you should make.

Step 2. Machine Sew the Quilt Binding

At this point, you will need to sew the first side of your binding with a machine. Once you complete it, flip over your work to start sewing by hand. Here is a precise guide on how to sew your binding using a machine

Step 3. Hand Sew Your Quilt Binding

This part of quilt binding can be exciting, especially if you love handcrafted garments. To hand sew your binding choose the sewing style; whether small invisible or big-bold stitches depending on your project needs and preferences.

Small Invisible Stitches

    • To make small invisible stitches, tie a knot on your thin quilting thread several times until it’s secure. 
    • Start hand stitching quilt binding on the backing. To execute this, make tiny invisible stitches along the backing to secure the binding.
    • Start by coming up under the seam allowance, then insert the needle through the backing from where you came up earlier. 
    • Move the needle ⅛″ to ¼″ inches from the current stitch and repeat the stitching.

Once you cover the whole perimeter, tie your thread near the edge and bury it under the binding layers.

Big Bulky Stitches

    • Take a cotton thread (8 to 12) and thread it in an eye-large needle for easy gliding. 
    • Tie a knot on your thread and start by making a simple stitch on the seam allowance.
    • Glide the needle leaving a ¼″ inches space, and get the needle through the seamless allowance while ensuring you get the backing and batting.
    • Don’t pass the needle to the opposite side for the stitch not to show on the front side.

Repeat making the big stitches until you cover all the edges, then tie off the thread to finish hand-sewing quilt binding. Tying off can be challenging, but you can do it close to the corner to ensure it’s hidden.

How to machine Sew Binding on a Quilt

How to machine bind a quilt
Image source: Quilty Love

Binding a quilt for beginners can be cumbersome when using hand stitches, especially if it’s your first time learning how to do binding on a quilt. Thanks to machine quilt binding as it allows you to complete your project within a short time. 

Once you’ve prepared your quilt binding, follow these steps to join it to your quilt fabric:

Step 1. Have All Tools Ready

One of the helpful tools in quilt binding is the walking foot. It helps you quilt straight lines and binding efficiently, especially if you are doing bulky sewing. Some sewing machines come with a walking foot while others don’t. 

If you don’t have it, you need to purchase it to make your quilt binding experience more fun and easy. Other materials you need to prepare are your thread, needle, and scissors.

Step 2. Sew the Binding on the 1st Side

Before you start joining the binding to the quilt, you need to choose the side to start with. Suppose we start with the front side; you will follow these steps:

    • Line up your binding edge to the raw edge of the quilt and pin it to ensure there are no seams on the edges. This will help you avoid wonky corners as they can mess with the clean finish of your project.
    • Start sewing at the middle of one of your quilt’s edges.
    • Leave a tail of about 6″ to 8″ at the top of your binding and machine sew at ¼″ seam allowance. 
    • Sew the other part of the edge, leaving a ¼″ space to the bottom of your quilt.
    • Put the needle down, pivot, and sew a diagonal line for the ¼″ to the corner of your quilt.
    • Sew off the corners of your quilt, fold the binding straight, line it up with the top edge, and fold it down, keeping it level with this edge. 
    • Sew from the top down in a straight line while leaving ¼″ seam allowance.

Repeat step 2 for all the edges until you complete binding all four corners. Ensure you leave 12″ from the starting point so you can join the sides to make the binding continuous. 

Step 3. Join the Binding Ends

    • Overlap the excess binding to have a 2.5″ overlap at the middle of the unsewn section. 
    • Twist each end at 90 degrees angle with the right sides together. This will create a diagonal seam similar to when joining the binding strips.
    • Place pins along the seam line and pull it open to ensure the diagonal is in the right direction.
    • Sew on the line and cut the excess corners while leaving a ¼″ seam allowance.
    • Press to create a completely flat folded binding that can fit in the unsewn space of your quilt. 
    • Complete the edge with the same seam allowance to create a complete and continuous binding.

That’s how to add binding to a quilt on the front side through machine sewing. Once you complete binding the first side, you can flip over your work to sew the backside. 

Step 4. Binding the Backside

Searching for how to join binding on a quilt backside? 

    • Start by basting the binding down with tacky glue and placing the iron on the edges. This process will ensure the layers stay together and the glue dries fast enough. 
    • Sew the binding all around the edges of the quilt. With great basting, you will have an easy time sewing. Here is a tutorial on how to baste a quilt successfully. 

Now that the binding is complete, you can enjoy your nice-looking edges. You can also view this video for a more vivid explanation.

How to Bind a Quilt with Mitered Corners

How to bind a quilt with mitered corners
Image source: Spruce Crafts

Mitered corners refer to when two edges meet at 40 degrees to make a corner of 90 degrees. You can miter the corners of your binding or borders, depending on your sewing needs. Want to learn how to execute this y-stream technique?

Here is how to sew a mitered corner on a quilt: 

Step 1. Prepare Your Quilt 

To prepare your work, trim your quilt sandwich to eliminate any excess batting or backing. If the top is jagged, fold the two layers back and use a rotary ruler to square up your quilt. You will also need to ensure that you trim all the small pieces to make the quilt even. 

If you are finding it difficult to prepare your fabric for quilting, follow this precise guide on how to square up a quilt block.

Step 2. Start Sewing the Binding

    • Make a continuous strip that’s longer than the quilt’s perimeter using this tutorial on how to cut binding for a quilt. 
    • Align the binding’s raw edge to the top side of your quilt while ensuring the right sides are together.
    • Pin several inches of your binding to the quilt, leaving 3 inches at the beginning and then align the rest of the strip around the quilt to eliminate seam allowances at the corner.
    • Sew the binding to the quilt’s edge and leave the beginning tail hanging. 
    • Stop sewing before you get to the edge of the quilt and end the seam ¼″ away from the end or the measurement of your seam allowance.

Step 3. How to Make a Mitered Corner on a Quilt 

To make a mitered corner, start by learning how to fold a quilt. You can accomplish this by laying the binding straight up and ensuring its edge is parallel to the edge you are binding. Then manipulate the strip to create a 45 degrees angle. 

Fold the binding to the bottom while leaving the top fold flush and the top edge binding behind it. Also, ensure that the raw edge is parallel to the opposite side of your quilt. 

Searching for how to sew corners on a quilt? Once you have an even alignment, pin the binding to the quilt, sew four stitches where the seam ends, and sew a backstitch to where it starts. After you complete sewing the corners, you can continue sewing the binding to the edge of your quilt.

Repeat step 3 in the other corners to complete the binding process. Whether you need help to learn how to turn corners on a quilt binding or how to end binding on a quilt, view this step-by-step video for a perfect outcome.

How to Bind a Quilt with the Backing

How to bind a quilt
Image source: Purlsoho

Learning how to attach binding to a quilt with backing can be exciting with the right tutorial. So, if you want to have fun while creating stunning projects, here is how to bind your work with a quilt backing fabric.

Step 1. How to Cut Backing for a Quilt 

Whether you are using a pre-quilted fabric or not, you need to ensure your quilt block is fit for binding. So, how do you cut the backing of a quilt for binding?

    • Place a cutting mat between the backing and batting.
    • Use a rotary cutter and a ruler to cut the backing accordingly all around the quilt block.
    • Starting from one corner, fold the edge of the backing in half towards the top of the quilt, then finger press it down.
    • Fold the perpendicular side in half also and press it down.
    • Fold in the pressed point to make a 45 degrees angle.
    • Once you complete folding all the sides, pin them to ensure they are in place.

Step 2. Press Binding

Beginning from the middle of one edge, start sewing in a wide zigzag or regular stitch. Suppose you are using a zigzag stitch; make sure that the stitch secures both the quilt top and binding. 

If you decide to use the straight stitch, execute it at the edge of your binding. Once you get to the corner, sew a ¼″ past it, then stop. 

Take several stitches back to the corner and leave the needle facing down. Complete this step by lifting the foot and pivoting the quilt to start sewing the following edge. 

Repeat step 2 for all the corners to complete the binding process. That’s how to connect binding on a quilt with the backing. Relatively straightforward, right?

After you complete your project, you can customize it with hang tags or care labels to enhance its quality. 

How to Bind Quilt Corners

How to bind quilt corners
Image Source: Pinterest.com

If you want to know how to make corners on a quilt, consider the following steps:

    1. Calculate and Cut the Binding

The first step is to cut the binding strips across the width to shape the foundation of your binding. If you want to know how to calculate binding for a quilt, ensure to:

      • Measure the perimeter of your quilt and include an additional 20 inches.
      • Divide the total measurement of your quilt by the width of your binding fabric. Your final answer is the total number of strips required. 
      • Cut the binding fabric into 2.5 inches wide strips

      2. Join the Strips

Leaving a 0.25-inch seam allowance, ensure you know how to join quilt binding ends together by:

      • Placing one binding strip on top of the other in a proper angle position
      • Drawing a diagonal line at the meeting point of the two binding strips
      • Sewing the two binding strips together

      3. Press the Seams Open

Once you finish sewing the binding strips together, press the seams open with the wrong sides facing each other. To achieve the perfect press, use a hot iron.

Spread your quilt fabric and arrange the binding strips around the perimeter to get the starting point. Ensure that your starting point is nowhere near any of the corners.

      4. Position Your Binding Strip

Place your binding strip around the edges of your quilt, making sure that the ends align properly. As you adjust the overlap location, ensure that the placement of your binding fabric is nowhere near the corners.

After achieving the perfect placement, mark the starting point of your binding attachment to the quilt using a pin. Ensure to leave a 12-inch allowance in your binding fabric, so you have no problem folding corners.

      5. Attach the Binding to Your Quilt

A good binding should be complete, smooth, and straight. Therefore, before adding your binding, trim the edges of your quilt using a rotary cutter or a pair of thin, sharp scissors.

But how do you bind a quilt? 

Align the edges of your quilt with the edges of your binding fabric and secure with pins. Leave 1.25 inches and learn to sew loose back stitches.

      6. Fold and Trim the Corners

In a straight line, fold the binding and align the raw edges of the quilt and the binding strip. Consequently, you create a 45-degree angle on the binding. Gently press the fold using your fingers while ensuring the top quilt fold is parallel to the edge of the quilt top.

Trim the edges and repeat the process in all corners.

      7. Stitch the Binding

After trimming your corners, re-fold the binding into its original position and press the binding away from the quilt top. Consequently, a neat fold forms at the edge. Pin the edge in place.

Flip the wrong quilt side and fold the next edge over the quilt to form a mitered corner at the back. Sew the binding and the corner folds at the front and back of the quilt using hand stitches or machine stitches.

How to Make Bias Binding for a Quilt

Hand sew bias binding
Image Source: Makeandtakes.com

What is bias binding?

Bias binding is the use of a tape of binding fabric to seal or finish raw edges. If you want to know how to make bias binding for a quilt, look at the following steps:

    1. Measure the quilt

The first step is to measure the size of your quilt in order to dictate how wide to cut quilt binding.

Ensure to leave a 10-inch allowance for folding and closing corners. To find the square size needed, use the following equation:

      • [(Height of quilt+ width of quilt) x 2] +10

      2. Cut the Square 

In case you don’t know how to cut bias binding for a quilt, start by dividing the square pieces into half in a diagonal manner. You will form two triangular sections on the square.

To determine the sizes of squares to cut, look at the following table:

Length Required

1.5-inch bias strip

2-inch bias strip

2.5-inch bias strip

110

14″ square

16″ square

18″square

220

19″ 

23″

26″

340

23″

28″

32″

480

28″

33″

37″

      2. Sew the Triangular Sections

With the right sides facing one other, leave a ¼ seam allowance and sew the triangular sections together. Ensure to press the seam open after sewing.

      3. Draw Your Strip Lines

Draw lines on the wrong side of the binding fabric using a rotary ruler or tailor’s chalk. The lines form strips of your desired binding width.

      4. Stitch

Form a tube by bringing the short diagonal ends together and offset the drawn strip lines by one strip. Match the lines using pins and ensure the right sides are facing each other. Leave a ¼ seam allowance, stitch, and press open.

How to Finish a Quilt Without Binding

Do you know how to finish a quilt edge without binding? Then let’s look at how to put a quilt together without binding.

    1. Trim the Batting and the Backing Fabric

After sandwiching the layers of your quilt, trim the excess batting outside the quilt. Ensure to cut as close to the edge as possible

When it comes to the backing fabric, leave a one-inch allowance and trim all around the quilt.

      2. Fold the Backing

Fold the backing fabric in half and make sure the raw edges align with the quilt top. Head on to choose a corner and start folding the backing fabric clockwise around the quilt.

      3. Fold Your Backing One More Time

Hand sewing quilt binding
Image Source: Prettyprudent.com

After folding the backing fabric the first time, fold it again along the perimeter of the quilt top. As you fold, ensure that the backing fabric overlaps the quilt top by ½ inches—pin in place.

      4. Draw a Diagonal Line From the Corner

At the corner of the overlapping backing fabric, draw a diagonal line. The line should start from the edge of the quilt top to the folded backing fabric.

      5. Fold the Backing

Using the diagonal line as your guide, fold the backing fabric along the line to form the shape of a right-angled triangle.

Draw a line on the adjacent seam allowance between the backing fabric and the quilt top. Fold the backing along the line, overlap it on the quilt top, and pin it in place. Ensure the overlap measures ½ inches.

Repeat the process on all the edges of your backing fabric and ensure the whole quilt backing fabric is folded and pinned in place.

      6. Stitch the Folds

Using a machine, make small and tight stitches close to the raw edges of the backing fabric. Do this on the entire quilt. Finish by ironing your quilt to give the edges a smooth finish.

Watch this video on how to finish a quilt without using a binding.

Pro Tips for Quilt Binding

Whether you are a beginner or intermediate sewist, below are some pro tips to help you create stunning quilt projects.

    1. How Wide Should Quilt Binding Be?

How to finish a quilt edge
Image source: Cluck Cluck Sew

Learning how to bind a quilt Missouri Star but can’t find the correct width for your binding? The width of your quilt binding depends on different factors. For instance, if you have pieced blacks on edge, you will need a binding that’s ¼ or ⅜ inches. 

To have more impact on your project, you need to use a ½″ completed width as it adds a perfect frame to your block. This binding size blends incredibly with quilts lacking borders or those with negative space. 

How wide do you cut quilt binding? If you prefer to have a binding that mimics a small border, you should go for 1 to 2 inches finished width.

Desired Binding size

Binding strips for single fold

Binding strips for double fold

Seam allowance

¼ inch

1 inch

2 inches

¼ inch

⅜ inch

1 ½ inch

2 ½ inch 

⅜ inch

½ inch

2 inches

3 inches

½ inch

1 inch

4 inches

5 inches

1 inch

      2. Binding Technique

Once you learn how to make a t-shirt quilt, you want to ensure your binding technique suits your quilt project for a great outcome. So, before you choose a binding technique, consider the shape, types of fabric in your quilt projects and the final appearance.

If you are working with a square quilt, use the straight grain technique for a neat look. To stabilize the edges of our quilt block, use strain grain binding as it’s more robust. 

Most prints look elegant when cut on the bias, for instance, stripes and plaids. While bias uses much fabric to create, it is perfect for binding curves. So, ensure you don’t pull the binding out of shape when sewing for a clean finish.

      3. Find Extra Support

How to do binding on a quilt
Image source: Quilt Social

So, you’ve learned how to quilt as you go, and you are excited to start binding your work? Before binding your quilt block, you need to prepare your working space with an extra table. 

If you’re wondering why this is necessary while you can bind with your machine solely, an extra table will offer enough support to your project. This will prevent the quilt block from tossing and pulling the binding.

When the quilt tosses and turns severally, it may also cause other damages such as broken needles and uneven seams. So, you need the extra support for a better quilt binding experience and neat appearance.

Conclusion

Quilt binding helps to secure and customize your quilt work, offering your clients a better experience. Once you learn how to sew and explore different quilt blocks for beginners, you should choose a fitting binding cut that will blend well with your quilt and attach it.

Depending on your project’s needs and desired final look, you can bind in different ways. For instance, binding with hand, machine, or mitered corners. All you need is the best sewing machine for quilting to create stunning quilt projects!

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