The Ultimate Quilt Binding Tutorial

Hi I’m Jenny from the Missouri Star Quilt Company. Today we are going to talk about binding your quilt start to finish, even ending it. So what you are going to do when you get your quilt all quilted like this it’s completely done and quilted its time to bind it.

Now this quilt that I’m working with is from the disappearing nine patch window pane tutorial and if you want to see how that’s done you can click the link below, but this one we are just going to show how to bind it. You can see I have the raw edge here. I’ve trimmed my quilt so I’m ready to bind it, and how I do that is I take some fabrics and I audition them. So I slide a fabric in under the edge here, I will move this over here so we can see it from the top camera, and you can see how the different fabrics are going to look on this edge. And sometimes you are just going to want to go with the same fabric because you just want it to blend and go, and sometimes you want a little bit of contrast. But today we are going to go with the dark green. I’ve used that inside on the window painting part and it’s really going to frame it up. I think you’re going to see it’s really going to frame that up and just give it a great look.

So when you start cutting your binding one of the things to remember is that your fabric is, and this is for a straight binding we’re not talking bias at all we’re just talking straight binding, your fabric is about 40 inches wide. So this quilt is only about 37 so I’m just going to need 4 strips to bind this because I know I’ll have enough. So I’m going to lay this on here, on my mat, and I’m going to cut my binding strips at 2 and a half inches.

So I have some here that are already cut, and once I get my strips cut what I do is I head over to the iron and I iron them in half. And I iron them before I sew them. And the reason I do that is because when you’re dealing with fabrics that are solids it’s hard to tell the front from the back and sometimes when I sew them together I have a seam going this way and a seam going this way and it just gets crazy. So this eliminates that problem because every time I put them together, I put them together so they just work, and I know that my seams are going the right direction and it saves me some picking time.

So now you can see that I’ve ironed this in half right here. Let me see if I can get this open here. So I’ve just ironed it in half. My strips again are 2 and a half inches and then I head over to the sewing machine and I sew them together. Now when I lay them together, I want to show you right here, I’m going to put… I can see here I’ve ironed it this way so I know that the outside of my iron line is the top side of my fabric and I’m going together just like making a little plus sign like this. And I’m going to sew diagonally from this line to this line. I’m not going to draw it, I’m just going to eyeball it and set my presser-foot right here and sew across to right here because that will give me, sewing it together on a bias line, will give me much less bulk on my binding.

If you straight sew your pieces together like this you have this fat little seam line that just pokes out. So what we want to do is put them together like a plus sign and sew them diagonally from corner to corner. So lets head to the sewing machine.

Now I have some here that I’ve already sewn them together. You can see them hanging off the back of here and that’s kind of how I do it. I put my first one in and I just lay it across the top of my sewing machine. And I’m using white thread so you can see it, but normally I would use a little bit darker thread especially on a darker fabric. So then I am going to go straight across here, and you can see it right there. I just went corner to corner and if I were to add another strip on here, rather than cutting it, I would just take my strip and again just open it up on here and make my plus sign and sew it again.

But I have sewn these together so what I’m going to do now is we’re going to trim these apart. So I just take my scissors and I cut the little pieces like this, and some people save those tiny pieces but I don’t save them anymore. I have loads of those tiny pieces. So this is my last little one that I am cutting right here, so then you can see when I open this up it will just lay back down because you’ve already folded it. And it’s much less bulk. The bulk is put over the seam instead of right at the front. So then we’re going to grab our quilt and we’re going to put this binding on.

I like to start in the middle on the side, and I’m going to put the raw edges to the raw edges. And I’m going to leave about an 8 to 10 inch tail here. And I’m just going to start right here and I’m going to sew it around. So lets go back over to the sewing machine. So I’ve got my binding on here, and I just line up my presser-foot with the edge of the quilt and we’re just going to sew it on here.

Now if we’re sewing this, I’ve got this like right in my face, if you’re sewing this and you’re going to hand bind it you sew it to the front of the quilt and curve it around to the back. If you’re going to machine bind it you sew it onto the back and curve it around to the front. I prefer hand binding so we’re just going to sew this to the front and I’m just going to zoom along here like this.

Today I brought my Baby Lock Jane and I love the Jane because it’s so fast. It’s just a straight stitch but it’s great for that quick sewing so I brought that up to the table. Now when I get to the end, this is something I really want to show you, I stop one quarter of an inch from the end. Approximately you know, I don’t do it straight. I’m going to turn it and I’m just going to sew off the edge to the point.

So you get a little V like this right here. And you just come off the edge. Then what we are going to do is we’re going to just pull this back like this and lay it straight across. So I’m going to come right over here to the overhead camera so you can see this really well. So I’ve sewn right off the end. So I sew down to the edge right of the end and then we’re just going to curve this back like this. When you sew off the end like that it just makes it lay so nice. So then we’re just gonna put our finger in here, curve it back like that and we’re just gonna come right in here on this edge and start down the next side. So I’m almost to the last corner here, and we’ll show that again. And as I zoom down this side I go a little bit slower when I get close to the end because I am eyeballing that quarter of an inch again and I’m gonna turn it and sew right off the edge.

Then again we’re just going to fold it back make sure it’s even across the top, there it is right there, and then sew down that side. And we’re almost right back where we started. Okay so we’re almost right back where we started. And this is the big important part that I want to show you. So when you’re going to finish your binding this is just, actually a lady came to our guild and showed me how to do this and it was like the lights went off, the bells, the whistles I mean it was awesome. So how ever wide you cut your binding, I always cut mine 2 and a half that’s personal preference and people can change. Some people do it 2 and a quarter, just all different ways. But mine is always 2 and a half because I like that extra room when I pull it around I like to be able to have a little bit of extra room. I don’t want to have to pull it tight.

But here is what she told me, when I found this out I was just so glad. First of all you want to make sure you cut off your salvage and I’m just going to cut, I mean your selvage I know that’s how you’re supposed to say it, I always get in trouble for saying SALvage. Anyway, so how ever wide your binding is, mine is 2 and a half, you’re going to overlap your strips 2 and a half. So mine is overlapped 2 and a half and you can get a little ruler and measure it.

And you’ll want to do that for a long time. I can lay mine on here and I can see that this right here is 2 and a half and I’m just going to clip it. Now I’ve been doing this a long time so I can clip it without my little ruler. But if you want to bring a little ruler in and make sure that however wide your binding is you’re overlapping that much. So my binding is 2 and a half, I’m going to overlap it 2 and a half inches and I’m going to clip it here just like that. It takes a little bravery to clip it right there.

So then what you do is you’re just going to sew it together exactly how you sewed your strips when you were putting it together in a little plus sign. So we are going to lay them together like this. I like to leave a little bit sticking out there. And we’re going to bring it over to the sewing machine and we’re just going to sew diagonally, corner to corner. It’s exactly the same how you do it.

The key is however wide your binding is that’s how far you overlap them. Then you go ahead and give it the cut. So we’ll go over here to the sewing machine and I’m just going to lay mine one here and sew corner to corner. And again mine sticks up a little bit above the strip, and I see a little bit of a strip coming out of the side so I’m going to put my presser-foot down, and sometimes I’ll stitch 2 or 3 stitches, and then I’ll just make sure it’s laid flat because it wants to get a little bit bunchy in here a little bit. And then before you cut it off you check it.

So lets check it and see how I did. So I check it to make sure it’s going to lay nice and flat along the edge of my quilt, and this one came out perfect yay! Sometimes that doesn’t happen when you’re doing it in front of the camera. So then again I am going to come over here and show you so you can catch this on the cameras good. So then I’m just going to trim this off right here because I know it fits. I don’t trim until I lay it out, stretch it out like this and make sure it fits.

Then we’re just going to come along here and sew it down. And it’s just flat. Nobody knows where you started or ended, and the mystery of the binding has been finished. We have completely fixed that. And I just stitch over the top and the binding is on with the sewing machine. So now all that is left to do is pull that around to the back. Because you sewed it on with the sewing machine right here this gives you a guide to put your binding on.

So all you’re going to do now is stitch it down by hand. So let me go get a needle and thread and I’ll meet you right back here. So when you sew down your binding on the top you want to match your thread to the color of the binding, not the backing but to the color of the binding. So I have a bit of green thread here, and it’s just a shade different so hopefully you’ll be able to see it.

And I use my needle threader because golly I know there’s a hole in that needle, I’ve been threading it for years but I can’t hardly see it anymore. I love the needle threader. With this one it’s fun because you just put your needle in the end, you lay it across there, you push the button and it just threads it for you.

So when I do a knot, let me show you how I do my knot here cause sometimes people get confused by that. There’s 2 ways that I like to do it. This way first is I just hold my thread with my thumb across my finger so it makes an X. Then I just roll it off and pull it down like that. So that’s the easiest way really to do a knot.

And when I, I’m going to start here so I can show you a corner. And this is something else that you have to do with your binding, you have to figure out how it’s easiest for you to hold it. So I’m just going to come in here like this and I bring my needle in here and I come out the fold just like this. And so my knot is going to be hidden on the back and then I fold this down. I use my stitch line as the guide. And right where I’ve come out there with my thread I am just going to put my needle and slide it under the edge of the material and make sure it doesn’t come through to the front and just come back out.

So right now wherever I come out I’m going straight down in and I slide it across like this. And that little stitch I mean that’s really how you hem pants, how you attach appliqué I mean it’s great for all kinds of things. I actually don’t ever go straight down like this I just put my needle right where it came out and just slide along under the edge of that fabric. So we’ll just go along here.

I used to bind every quilt that came through Missouri Star Quilt Company, now I have two binding fairies that do it for me. It just got to be too much for me and those women are way better binders than I am and I thought I was pretty good.

So I go between an eighth and a quarter of an inch somewhere in between those two and it just lays down so nice and is so pretty. Alright, so I got a few more stitches right here and I’m going to get to the corner. This is something that’s really hard to get in a book. So now I’m coming out of this corner right here and I’m just going to take another stitch just to kind of lock that in place. Then you can see my binding is kind of folded over here. So I’m just going to fold that straight down until it makes a nice even miter like that. So you can see that fold is right there and I’m just going to tack the bottom of this. So I’m going to take a couple of stitches through the fold and then I’m going to go back down through there and come down the other side.

Then I just hold it, now there are all kinds of things out there. There’s those cool little clips to hold it down, there’s squeezy things. You know the little clamps, but I just do it with my hands. And some people bind with the fabric going this way you know they sew along this way. But I am left handed so I am going to go the other direction but you just have to get comfortable with it. If it feels odd to you you probably just need to turn it and it will feel normal, because this sewing along should feel normal to you. So just move your quilt around until it gets in a normal spot.

And then we are just going to keep binding this and go all the way around this whole quilt and it’s just as easy as that. So we hope you enjoyed this binding tutorial from the Missouri Star Quilt Company.

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  • tricia garrett

    Thank you so much for this tutorial, looking in a book or other video’s did not show step by step from start to finish. Now I won’t dread finishing the binding.

    • JenniferMSQC

      So glad the tutorial was helpful, Tricia! And that you no longer dread binding!

  • Eileen

    This was so easy and worked the first time . . . I will admit that I watched the video several times & referred to it as I attempted to join the two ends! Perfect . . . thank you!

  • Mary Ellen Schumann

    Thank you, it worked beautifully!

  • Christina Hill

    I am just getting started in this quilting thing… Do you not use bias strips to bind the quilt?

  • Christine

    Thank you so much! This was easy to understand and easy to perform. I have bound two quilts now with this method and they both worked out perfectly!

    • JenniferMSQC

      Christine! That is great news, way to go! Binding was a struggle for me for a long time.

  • Pam

    Hi Jenny, I am brand new to your site and could spend hours watching all there is to learn. Today I am binding my first quilt after watching your video! Thank you so very much for such excellent tutorials!

  • Carrie Barnett

    So great to see another lefty. People always tell me I’m doing it backwards, but it works for us! Thanks for the great tutorial. A friend is about to bind her first quilt and I was trying to explain this exact process. Just sent her the link to watch your better explanation.

  • Perri Harper

    All I have to say is…AWESOME! Worked like a dream! Thank you so much!

  • Lorraine

    Just binding my first wallhanging and stuck at the overlap. Can’t figure out which way to sew the diagonal lol. Had to put pooter on and come and watch AGAIN!!! Thanks Jenny.

  • P Trahan

    I have been quilting for over a year and have been binding the hard way-but your tutorial sure helped-especially the way to connect the ends and even how to hand sew the back!!

  • Patty Campbell Suchy

    thanks I will rip out and try again!! Wish me luck:)

  • Patty Campbell Suchy

    You have become my guiding light for all things quilts!! It worked perfectly and I am thrilled. Thank so much

  • Lucille Koch

    this is so much less expensive than buying the bias tape — AND doing it this way,your binding color matches EXACTLY. Thanks Jenny!!

  • heidi57

    Your binding tutorial is so easy to follow! i have used it several time as reference on finishing projects. Thank you so much.

  • Steph Cook

    I am a novice quilter and I wanted to say thanks for the wonderful quilt binding tutorial. It was clearly explained and demonstrated, with humor, so it took away the guesswork and stress. Very well done and a huge thanks.

  • FemmeDe Dieu

    This is awesome! Thanks so much! I am definitely using this for my latest quilt (which I used the disappearing nine patch for). 🙂

  • Rosalie Hanefeld

    When you sew the last sde, where you stop to clip it to 2 1/2 inch.

  • Rosalie Hanefeld

    I did it.. ironing the binding in half helped me find the lines. Thanks Jenny

  • Ike Mason

    Jenny, Thank you so much for your tutorials! I am a Beginner and LOVE how you teach, encourage, and help me learn so many things! I have a baby quilt ready to bind and you have given me the confidence and know how to get started on it! Thank you so very much! Sandra Mason (Ike’s wife)

  • Suzanne Stiles

    Lol, Jenny, I could listen to you all day! I’m just getting ready to bind my quilt and thought I’d check out how YOU do it😉 Almost the same way I do, except for the handy tips of joining the binding ends together and the way you do the corners! Awesome tips, thanks👍🏻 I’ll send a picture along once I’m done☺️ Now back to my quilt to do a bit of math🤔 And strip cutting!

  • Dotty

    Your Ultimate quilt binding tutorial has opened up a whole new world of ease for me. I’ve been a quilter for almost 30 years and used to dread finishing off my binding. Now, I’m actually looking forward to it. Thanks for the inspiration.

  • Deborah Siddall

    Thank you, thank you, thank you. I am a beginning quilter and never could get binding right. I have bookmarked this so I can watch every time I get ready to bind. Love you Jenny.