Attaching Binding to Quilts

Happy Monday to everyone!  We had quite the exciting weekend around here.  We experienced our first earthquake as a family.  There was a 5.6 quake centered near Sparks Oklahoma which is about 175 miles from us.  We felt it loud and clear!  Not something I care to experience again anytime soon.  We didn’t have any damage just a few rattled nerves.  Hannah ~ our teenager ~ was completely freaking out.  I didn’t know her eyes could get that big.  Of course, the little guy slept right through it and my husband thought it was pretty cool.  Personally, I don’t really like seeing my dining room light fixture swaying back and forth.  I think mother nature is a little ticked off at us because today we’re under a tornado watch until 9 PM.  Yikes!  I do not like tornadoes.  I’ll just say a lot of prayers in the next few hours.  Hopefully things will be uneventful and I can get some more sewing finished!  I only have 2 projects going right now and about a billion more in line.

I’m also going to try my first linky party sponsored by Sunni at Love Affair with my Brother.  I love reading her blog!  Check it out!

I’m going to show you how I attached the binding to my Rectangle Tango quilt.  Obviously, as with all things quilting, there is more than one way to do anything.  I’m going to show you how I do it.  I used to hate binding but I think I’m actually starting to enjoy it.

A few weeks ago, I showed you how I join binding strips.  That’s the first step in getting your binding ready to attach to the quilt.

I prefer to machine stitch the binding to the back and then flip it to the front of the quilt and hand stitch it down.  I also like to start in the middle of one of the sides.  I always leave a tail of binding that is about 12 inches long.  You can see the tail in the picture below.  The tail is very important…you’ll find out why later.

I’m sewing the binding to the back.

I use a 1/4″ seam and start sewing.  I sew until I get to the end of the first side.  I stop 1/4″ from the end.

I like to backstitch to make sure the stitches don’t come undone. You can see my backstitching in the below picture.

Now I’m going to create the mitered corner.  It’s pretty simple.

I fold the binding to create the 45 degree line as seen above.

Now I fold the binding back to the left creating a fold.  I pinned it in place so nothing moves before I get it back under the needle.

This is a view from the side so you can see the fold

It’s time to start sewing again.  I start 1/4″ from the top, backstitching here as well.

I’m starting 1/4″ from the top and backstitching.

I continue sewing all 4 sides and mitering the corners as I get to them.  When I get back to the first side I quit sewing when I was about 12-18 inches away from where I started.  I like to make sure I have enough room to join the last 2 strips.  I did not do this on my first quilt and I had to wrestle the binding so much I wanted to rip it off!  I learned the hard way…it’s better to leave long tails at the beginning and the end.  It just gives you more room to join the strips.

***There will be 2 tails of binding.  The tails must be trimmed down to the right size before they can be joined.  The strips need to overlap by the same amount as the width of the binding.  For example, if the binding strips were cut 2.5″ wide then the 2 tails need to overlap by 2.5.”

I like to lay my quilt on a flat surface so I can trim off the excess binding.  For this particular quilt I used 2.5″ binding.  Therefore, I need to overlap my binding by 2.5.”  You can see in the below picture that I have laid the binding tails flat, one on top of the other, so I can measure my overlap.  I measured the 2.5″ so I can trim off the excess.

I trimmed off the excess.  The 2 pins are just to show the 2.5″ overlap.

Now it’s time to join these strips.  It’s a little tricky the first time but eventually it will become second nature.  Here’s my step by step.

Open the right side binding tail and lay it right side up.

Open the left side binding tail and place it right side down on top of the right side tail.  See below picture.

I always double check myself here.  It is so easy to flip or twist the binding strips.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to rip out stitches at this point.  For some reason, twisted binding just won’t lay flat on a quilt!  I used my Stitching lines again!  Love these things…

I managed to sew this one together without flipping or twisting either of the strips.  All is good in the binding universe!  I can trim the little triangle off and sew the rest of the binding down.

See…it’s flat!  Woohoo!

After it’s all stitched down it’s time to flip it to the front and pin in place.  I know a lot of people use binding clips or glue.  I still use pins.  I tried glue.  I think I glued my fingers together more than the binding.

This part is very easy so I didn’t take many pictures.  I did take a few pictures to show how I mitered the corners on the front.

Almost to the corner

I pin all the way to the corner…

I like to fold it all the way out.  It makes a 45 degree angle

Now I fold the other side into the quilt.

Mitered Corner

I realized after I took the picture that the corner isn’t perfect in this picture.  I will manipulate it when I’m hand stitching it place.  Unfortunately, I didn’t notice this in time to retake the picture.  Oops…good thing I’m not a photographer!

That’s it for now!  Next time I’ll show you how I hand stitch the binding down.  I wish I could say I’m an expert in this department but I’m not.  This will be my second quilt to hand stitch but the first one turned out pretty good so I don’t mind showing you all how I do it.

I just have to say, this is my favorite quilt that I’ve made!  I can’t wait to show you pictures of the finished product.  I’m actually working on finishing the hand stitching today.  Hopefully I can take pictures tomorrow if it’s not raining.  This house we live in is not good for inside pictures.  The lighting is terrible!  I’ve also managed to get 29 blocks finished for my next project.  I can’t wait to show you that one too!  Too bad I have to take time out to cook dinner.  I really hate cooking.  If I didn’t have kids and a husband I would never cook.

As always we would love to hear from you!  Do you have a binding tip?  Share it with us.

***Please note I try very hard to make my steps clear but sometimes I fail.  Please leave us a comment or email us if something is confusing.


3 thoughts on “Attaching Binding to Quilts”

  1. I hate binding. I have about 7 quilts that need binding. I want to machine sew my binding on both sides but it always turns out funky. Any tips on machine sewing (if you sew the back first and then flip it over and machine sew the front last) so it doesn’t look like a 4th grader did it?

  2. That is such beautiful binding! Great tutorial, I am finishing up the binding on a quilt for my granddaughter….it was for her birthday last January and when she was here last weekend she saw it all pinned and ready to quilt….great motivation!

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