How to Sew a Binding on a Quilt

Sewing the binding on the quilt is the last step of the quilting process. It’s not a difficult process, but I’ve included over 20 pictures below in an attempt to be clear and thorough.

1. Cut three inch strips of fabric until you have enough to go around the perimeter of your quilt. (Click here to see a tutorial about how to cut strips of fabric.) If you want a wider binding, you are free to cut a wider strip or a narrower one if you’d like a smaller binding.

2. Sew all your strips together in one looooooooong strip, and iron the seams open.

3. Hem one end of your strip of binding. Simply fold over a quarter of an inch of fabric and iron a crease. Then stitch it down.

4. Iron your entire strip of binding in half. I typically use starch for this process for a good crisp fold.

5. If you want to roll your binding into a nice tidy bundle like I do, be sure to start at the unhemmed end when you begin ironing.

6. Beginning with the hemmed end, pin the binding open for approximately four inches. It really makes no difference where you start your binding on the quilt. I do not recommend starting right on a corner.

(As you can see below, I have not trimmed the excess backing and batting off the quilt yet. If your quilt needed squaring, this step should have already been done, but since this was a simple quilt, I left it for now.)

7. Using a quarter of an inch seam allowance, sew for about four inches with your binding folded open. (See below.) Back stitch when you start and stop.

8. Fold over your binding where you just sewed those four inches. Start stitching your binding shut, beginning where you ended with your initial four inches.

9. Using a quarter of an inch seam allowance, sew your binding down one side of the quilt. When you come to a corner, stop a quarter of an inch from the end of your quilt top. Be sure to back stitch here to keep your thread from coming out.

(You can see my fabric pencil mark a quarter of an inch from the end.)

10. Pull your binding up at a right angle compared to the side you just sewed. (See below.) I usually pin this part once I get the binding perfectly situated at a 90 degree angle.

11. Pull your binding back down to run parallel to the next side you will stitch.

12. Begin sewing (and back stitch) right at the end of the quilt top’s corner.

13. Continue moving around the entire quilt using the same practice at every corner. Eventually you will come back around to the beginning where you started with your hemmed end.

Trim your binding so it is just long enough to tuck it into the original four inches you sewed with your binding folded open.

14. Stitch your binding shut. The hemmed end makes for a nice and clean finish.

15. If you haven’t already trimmed your excess backing and batting, now is a good time.

16. Notice you still have a raw edge on your quilt. It’s time to fold over the fabric and finish your quilt with a nice invisible stitch. Click here to see a tutorial on sewing an invisible (or blind) stitch.

If you are in a hurry, I recommend using Cluck Cluck Sew’s tutorial on finishing your binding using your machine.

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