Archive for the ‘Quilt Binding’ Category

James 3:17-18

This quilt came together with ease.  After arranging the blocks and sewing them together, I added a 5” border with corner squares.

Highland Snowball Quilt

I thought this quilt would be a good fit for a multi-colored binding.  I cut five strips on the cross grain of five different fabrics that I had used in the quilt top.

Cross Grain Binding Strips

I then sewed the strips together with diagonal seams.

Mark Diagonal Seam Lines on Strips

I pressed the long length of binding in half to form double-fold binding.

Double Fold Binding

When I came to the end of my binding tail, I removed the quilt from the machine and marked an overlap of 2 1/8” since that was the width that I cut my binding.

Mark Binding Tail

I trimmed off the excess and formed a 90 degree angle with the tails, right sides together, and marked the sewing line.  I then stitched the diagonal seam and trimmed the seam allowance to a quarter-inch, fingering pressing it open.

Place Tail Ends Right Sides Together and Mark

Finally, I refolded the binding and completed the seam.  Here’s how the multi-colored binding looks on this quilt.

Multi-Colored Binding

Here’s a close-up of the wave stitch quilting.  I used Valdani Sunny Rainbow variegated cotton thread.

Wave Stitch Quilting

And so ends another happy quilt adventure.  Of course, I’ve already begun cutting out my next project.

Have a great 4th of July holiday.



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Proverbs 4:23

Another project comes to a happy ending.  I decided I wanted rounded corners on this feminine quilt so I used my circular template to mark the curves.  The markings helped guide the free motion quilting.

Rounded Quilt Corners

Marking Quilt Corners

After choosing the fabric for the binding, I cut 2 1/8” strips on the bias.  Bias-cut binding is necessary whenever you’re dealing with curves.  I simply eased my way around the corners, being careful to follow the quilt’s edge.

Attaching Binding to Quilt Corners

Easing the Binding Around Curved Corner

As you can see, I cut off the excess edges of the batting and backing before attaching the binding, leaving about 1/8” beyond the quilt top.  Pre-cutting isn’t necessary but I think it helped visually when navigating the corners.

And here she is.  I actually named the block Meet You in the Middle owing to the four patch that is created when the four differing blocks come together, but the name appears to fit the finished quilt as well with all the four patches forming an X.

Completed Quilt

Meet You in the Middle Quilt

Here’s a close-up of the free motion quilting.  I love the overall effect of this pattern.

Free Motion Quilting

Free Motion Quilting

I’m not sure what’s next, but I think it may include some flying geese.

Hope you get some quilting done this weekend.


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Matthew 5:8

In part one of this tutorial, I began showing you how to construct a set of quilted placemats.  We have completed the quilting of our little placemat sandwiches and will now turn to the finishing touch, which is the binding.

First, connect two 40” cut binding strips as demonstrated in my previous binding tutorial.   Do this for each of the placemats, which means you will end up with four (4) binding sections measuring approximately 80” each.

Next, take each binding section to the iron board and fold them wrong sides together (in half) as you press them.  This creates a double-fold binding.

Create Double-Fold Binding

At the beginning of the binding application, leave a long loose tail of about 7-8 inches as shown.  Begin sewing the binding three-quarters of the way down one side.  This leaves plenty of maneuvering room when the tails meet.

Leave a Loose Binding Tail

Sew the binding around the placemat and stop a little beyond your last curved corner.  Notice how much space is left between each binding tail.

Stop Sewing After Final Corner

Overlap your two binding tails as shown.  Since my binding was cut 2” wide, I will overlap the tails by 2”.  If my binding had been cut 3” wide, I would overlap the tails by 3”.

Formula:  width of cut binding = measurement of overlap

Measure Overlap

Mark the 2” overlap on one tail and cut off excess.  I like my overlap to be snug since I don’t want any fullness in my binding when I continue attaching it later.

Mark and Trim Overlap

Now unfold each end of the binding and form a right angle as shown, placing right sides together.

Form a Right Angle With Binding Ends

Draw a diagonal line from one corner to the other.  Pin and sew on the line.  Trim the excess seam allowance down to a quarter inch and finger press open.

Trim Seam Allowance

Fold the binding back together and finish sewing it to the placemat.

Finish Sewing Binding to Placemat

Fill a bobbin with fusible thread and set you machine at 3.0mm stitch length and 3.5 mm stitch width.  Zig-zag stitch around the seam allowance of your binding.

Zig-Zag Stitch with Fusible Thread in Bobbin

Roll the binding edge to the back side of the placemats and steam press in place, using a cotton setting on your iron.

Steam Press Binding to Back Side

Pressing Complete

Top stitch around the finished binding, using a 3.0 mm stitch length.  You should now have four beautiful placemats ready to grace the table of a cherished family member, friend, or neighbor.

I want to thank Judy for demonstrating this method of binding at a recent Piecemakers4Life meeting.


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1 Peter 1:4

I don’t know about you, but I have lots of leftover binding strips.  Why not use them to add some framing to your quilt labels?  It’s so easy to do and adds a special touch to the back of your quilt.

Normally, I place my label in the bottom left hand corner on the back of my quilt.  Where you position your label is entirely up to you.

Completed Quilt Label

First, I sew the binding to the label on the sides I need it to cover.  Since the label bottom and left side will be buried in the seam allowance, I leave these as raw edges.  The binding is applied to the label in the same manner as it is applied to the quilt sandwich.  I turn the corners just as I do in part two of my binding tutorial.

Binding Sewn to Exposed Edges

Next, I place a few strands of fusible thread on the reverse seam allowance and press the rolled binding for a few seconds with a steam iron (cotton setting).  If you prefer, you can zig-zag around the seam allowance with fusible thread in your bobbin as I demonstrated in part three of my binding tutorial.

Pressing Binding to Wrong Side of Label

Once my binding is secured to the reverse side of the label, I’m now ready to position the label on the back of my quilt.  I tuck the bottom and left raw edges into the seam allowance and place strands of fusible thread on top as shown.  I then fold the binding back onto the seam allowance and steam press, being careful to press only the binding, not the quilt.

Positioning Fusible Thread Strands

To adhere the upper part of the label, I strategically place fusible thread stands under the binding edge and again steam press for a few seconds.  My goal here is to simply tack down the edges until I blind stitch them to the quilt.

Upper Label "Tack Down"

Wasn’t the simple?  I find so many uses for fusible thread.  Every time I cut a fusible thread tail, I place it in this small plastic bag, always ready for action.

Fusible Thread Tails

Since I’ve mentioned fusible thread numerous times, here is a list of some online sources where you can purchase this helpful product if you can’t find it at your local quilt shop.

Create For Less

Red Rock Threads

Nancy’s Notions


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John 10:14-15

In part two of this tutorial, I demonstrated how I sew binding to a quilt.  Now I will show you how I prepare the edges of a quilt as I complete the binding process.

First, I take a quilt ruler and measure out to about a quarter-inch of the batting from the quilt top edge and trim with a rotary cutter.  I leave this much batting in order to fill my binding.  You don’t want empty binding, especially if you are thinking about showing your quilt.

Trim Batting to a Quarter Inch

Next, I trim the batting at the corners since this area can be bulky.  I still keep a point on the batting since I want sharp corners.

Trim Corners, Keeping a Point

I set the stitch length on my sewing machine to 3.0 mm and the stitch width to 4.5 mm.  Using a bobbin filled with fusible thread, I now zig-zag stitch around the perimeter of my quilt.  (Fusible thread will be on the back side of the quilt binding seam allowance.)

Zig-Zag Stitch with Fusible Thread in Bobbin

Fusible Thread on Back side of Quilt

It’s now time to press the binding in place.  I set my iron on steam and a cotton setting.  Rolling the binding to the wrong side, I steam press it in place.  I love this method because it avoids all pinning.

Steam Press Binding in Place

Once the binding cools, I blind stitch the intersection of my binding tails for extra security (this is optional).  I then hand stitch the binding on the wrong side of the quilt.

I used my macro lens so that you could see some close-ups of my corners as well as the tail intersection.

Front Corner Binding

Back Corner Binding

Binding Tail Intersection

Binding really is the happy ending to each quilt adventure.  I hope you find my methods helpful.


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John 8:12

In part one of this tutorial I showed you how to create double-fold binding.  Now I’m  ready to apply the binding to my quilt.  There are two preparatory steps that will make this process much easier.

First, I need to make two pencil marks on the batting in each corner of my quilt.  These marks show me where to stop sewing and where to start sewing again as I traverse the corners.  With a quilt ruler, I mark a quarter inch from the point on each side of the corner.  If you prefer to mark with quilt pins, that works just as well.

Make Quarter-Inch Marks at Corners

The second preparatory step involves the 3/8” fold I made on one end of my binding.  This step simplifies the problem of what to do when my binding tails meet.  I fill a bobbin with fusible thread.  On the wrong side of the 3/8” diagonal fold of my binding, I zig-zag stitch (3.0 length, 4.0 width) along the fold line, leaving a little space between the fold and the stitches for a few optional tack-down stitches later.

Zig-Zag Stitch with Fusible Thread

Leave a Small Space

I begin placement of the binding about 2/3 of the way down the left side of my quilt.  This is important because the human eye tends toward centers.  The symmetry of your quilt flows more gracefully if there are no unnecessary broken lines in these positions.  (If you want to begin 1/3 of the way down, that’s just fine.)

Begin Off Center

For the method I’m using, I open my folded binding up for the first 7-8 inches and begin sewing it to the quilt with a quarter-inch seam allowance.

Open Binding for Beginning Stitches

When I’ve completed stitching for 7-8 inches, I fold the binding back and continue sewing.  This forms a little pocket at the beginning of my binding.

Fold Back Binding and Continue Sewing

As I’m sewing, I like to put my roll of binding on top of the quilt itself rather than allowing it to dangle over the side of my sewing surface.  The weight of the binding can add drag as you sew, which isn’t a good thing.

Roll Binding, Place On Top of Quilt

When I reach the first corner, I stop sewing at the quarter-inch marking (or pin).

Stop Sewing at First Quarter-Inch Mark

I then lift the presser foot with needle in the down position and turn my quilt so that I can stitch up to the batting.  I clip my threads and remove the quilt from under the presser foot.

Stitch to Batting

I now fold my binding away from the quilt corner, forming a right angle.  The binding should be even with the second edge you are about to sew.

Fold Binding Away From Quilt

Next, I fold the binding onto the quilt’s second edge.  Most instructions will tell you to keep the fold even with the edge of the quilt.  I actually prefer to let the fold extend about 1/16th of an inch past the edge.  This tiny bit of extra fold gives me a beautiful square mitered corner that I don’t get when I keep the folded edge even.  There’s a lot of stuffing in the corners that tends to add roundness.  This provides the antidote.

Allow Fold to Extend 1/16 Inch

With my binding in place, I now begin stitching at the next marked quarter inch, taking a backstitch to secure the thread.  I sew until I come to the next corner and repeat the above process for each remaining corner.

Begin Stitching at Second Mark

As the binding approaches the starting point, I stop sewing with the needle in the down position.  I then cut the binding tail a few inches past the beginning stitches of the pocket.

Trim Binding Tail

I fold in edge of the tail, creating a diagonal fold, and then trim along the fold line.  Make sure your tail extends beyond the opening of the pocket.  You don’t want to come up short here. It’s easy enough to eyeball this process.

Make a Diagonal Fold

Cut Along Fold Line

Folding the pocket back over the tail, I insert a few pins to keep the intersection snug and then sew until I meet with my beginning stitches.

Tuck in Tail and Pin

Sew Until Stitches Meet

Removing the quilt from under the presser foot, I now take it to the iron and steam press the fusible thread pocket for about 6-7 seconds.  I only press the binding area, not the quilt.

Press Binding Intersection

In part three, I will show you how I prepare the edges of the quilt for a successful and happy ending.


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The final step to completing a quilt is the binding.  There are numerous ways to accomplish this, but in this tutorial I will show you how I bind a majority of the quilts I make.  If I were making an heirloom quilt or a show quilt, I would alter the directions slightly, which I will explain later.  But for most of my quilt making, this method provides room for creativity as well as simplicity.

The first thing I need to know is much binding I will require.  To arrive at this number, I measure the perimeter of my quilt.  To that number I add about ten (10) inches for the little extra I will need at the corners and at the finishing seam.

Next, I must decide how wide a binding I would like for my quilt.  Personally, I like a  3/8” finished width, so I cut my binding strips 2 1/4” wide.  (2 ½” wide if the batting is thicker).  I always use French or double layer binding, so the 2 ¼” width accounts for this.

Now I must decide whether I want bias or straight-of-grain binding.  I would choose a bias cut if my corners were rounded or my edge scalloped.  However, if my quilt is a square or rectangle, more often than not I will choose to cut my binding on the straight grain of the fabric.

The theory goes like this:  threads that crisscross the edge of a quilt (bias cut binding) are stronger than threads running north and south (straight-of-grain cut binding).   You must decide for yourself.  Since I always use double layer binding, I don’t lose any sleep over the issue.

If the choice is straight-of-grain cut binding, an easy way to know how many strips to cut is to think in terms of forty (40) inches.  That’s about how much width you can count on from your fabrics if cut from edge to edge.  Divide forty (40) into your measurement and the result is the number of strips you will need.  (Round the result off to the higher number.)

So here’s the formula:

Length of binding needed (inches)   : 40 (width of fabric)  =  number of strips to cut

Cut Binding Strips

After I cut my strips I must join them to each other.  Normally, I make the diagonal cuts at the ends of the strips and turn them right sides together.  Stagger the edges so that there are 1/4″ rabbit ears on each side of the seam line.  Then sew a quarter-inch seam.

Edges Cut Diagonally

Right Sides Together - Quarter-Inch "Rabbit Ears"

Another easy way to accomplish the same thing is to square the ends, turn the strips right sides together and cross the ends, forming a right angle.  Then sew from edge to edge as shown in the diagram below.  Trim, leaving a 1/4″ seam allowance.  You may find this method easier than the one above.

Right Angle Binding Strips

With one long continuous strip of binding now in hand, I take it to the ironing board and fold in about 3/8” at one of the diagonal ends of the binding strip and press it in place.

Make a 3/8" Fold and Press

I  then begin folding the binding in half and pressing, wrong sides together.

Fold Wrong Sides Together and Press

My binding is now complete.

Completed Quilt Binding

If I’m not quite ready to begin sewing it to my quilt, I like to wrap it around a tube for storage.  This keeps the fold crisp and the binding tidy.

In part two of this tutorial,  I will show you how I apply binding to my quilts.

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