Friday, April 29, 2011

tutorial: how to attach quilt binding by machine





I've gotten a lot of requests to share how I attach the binding to my quilts, which I do entirely by machine. So, I've finally gotten the chance to write up a rather lengthy and picture heavy tutorial, but I hope it helps. I personally feel that this method is a more secure way to bind a quilt, rather than traditional binding by hand, and it's certainly a lot quicker. Please feel free to email me if you have any questions!




square up your quilt by removing the excess batting with a rotary cutter and straight edge






cut strips of fabric to create binding. I typically use strips that are 2 ½“ times the width of the fabric





sew the strips together to construct the binding, in whatever length you need. to reduce bulk in the seams, sew each end together by placing one on top of the other, laying the top piece perpendicular to the bottom, and extending each strip approximately ¼” over each other





to ensure an accurate seam, I use a ruler to draw a straight line between the points where the bottom strip meets the top strip





pin the two strips in place with two pins





sew a seam along the pencil line, backstitching at the beginning and end of the seam for reinforcement





this is what the strips will look like after they’re sewn together





snip the excess fabric, leaving ¼” seam allowance





press seam open with a hot iron





this is what the seam looks like on the right side of the fabric





after all strips are sewn together, press in half with a hot iron along the length of the binding, so that the strips are approximately 1 ¼” wide





once the binding has been pressed, open the first few inches of one end





make a fold in the strip by bringing the wrong sides together, to form a diagonal crease, about 1 ½” from the edge





press the fold with a hot iron





lay the binding along the back of the quilt. starting in the middle of one side, line up the raw edges of the binding with the raw edges of the quilt and begin to pin in place about five inches down from the fold at the beginning of the binding





pin the binding to the quilt every 2-3”





when you reach a corner, leave about 2” unpinned





fold the binding up perpendicularly on top of itself





and then bring it back down on itself along the edge of the next side of the quilt to create a mitered corner





pin in place





pivot quilt and continue to pin the binding in place along each side





once you’ve reached the side of the quilt you started on, leave about 12” of the quilt unpinned





stitch the binding onto the quilt using a ¼” seam allowance





when you get to the folded edge of the binding at the corner, stop sewing and leave your needle down





remove the pins and unfold the binding at the corner. you should see a fold in the binding that runs diagonal to the side of the quilt you are working on





continue to stitch just until you reach the fold in the binding, about ¼” from the edge. backstitch to secure the stitch





here’s a detail to show how much to leave unsewn at the corner





snip the threads and pivot quilt to sew the binding on the next side. backstitch at the beginning of the seam. continue to sew the binding to the rest of the quilt until you reach the unpinned section on the side you started on. backstitch at the end to secure the seam





open the unsewn section of binding on the left hand side





turn it over so that the binding lays right side up along the edge of the quilt and pin in place





bring the unsewn section of the binding that is to the right (the end you started with) and lay it over the pinned end of the opened binding





pull taut and pin in place





using a water soluble pen, mark a line along the edge of the diagonal fold of the beginning of the binding





unpin the binding and line up the two ends so that they’re perpendicular to each other, just as when you constructed the binding from the individual strips of fabric





pin the two sides together, placing the crease on the top piece directly over the line on the bottom piece that you just marked





using the fold on the fabric as a guide, sew a seam and backstitch at the beginning and end





remove the quilt from the sewing machine and lay the unsewn section of binding along the edge of the quilt to check that it is the proper length needed to finish





pick up the unsewn section of the binding and trim off the excess fabric, leaving ¼” seam allowance





press the seam open





then fold the unsewn section of binding in half and press with a hot iron





pin this section in place





and sew in place with ¼” seam allowance, backstitching at the beginning and end of the seam





optional--I use a serger to coverstitch the raw edges of the quilt and binding. there are a lot of loose threads and by running them through a serger, everything is kept nice and tidy. if you don’t have a serger, you could also sew a zig zag stitch along the edges to keep them tidy





turn the quilt over so that the top side is up





pull the binding up from the back so that it lays flat, extending beyond the edge of the quilt





press in place with a hot iron





here is what it looks like from the back now





fold the binding down over the raw edge of the quilt





pin in place





here’s what the back looks like now





to create a mitered corner, fold the edge of the binding so that it creates a 45 degree angle





press with a hot iron





pull the binding on the other side of the corner taut and press with a hot iron





fold corner over





pin in place





move the quilt to the sewing machine and topstitch just along the edge of the binding, removing pins as you sew





when you reach a corner, sew just until you reach the fold in the binding





lift the presser foot on your sewing machine and pivot the quilt





and continue to sew to the tip of the corner





then backstitch until you get to the edge of the binding on the next side of the quilt





lift the presser foot, pivot the quilt and continue sewing along the edge of the binding. continue sewing along the entire perimeter of the quilt until the binding is attached on all sides, and backstitch to secure the seam at the end. congratulations, you’re done!





here’s what the finished binding looks like on the front





and on the back. you’ll see that the stitching on the back of the quilt that results from attaching the binding this way creates another line of quilting along the perimeter along the back





I told you this was rather lengthy and picture heavy! I think this just might be my longest post ever. But, I really hope this helps to show you how I do it. If you end up trying my technique, I'd love to hear how it works for you!
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