Tutorial: How to Attach Quilt Binding
Hey there Quilty friends! Today we’re talking about quilt binding - specifically how to attach it to your quilt. I have pictures and videos along the way to help you out!
Before we dig into things, there are many ways to attach binding to your quilt, but this is the method I use that works for me. If you’re new to quilting, I recommend you read a few blog posts and try out a few different methods and find what works for you!
This blog post is part of a series dedicated to quilt binding! If you’re looking for tips on how to make your quilt binding, check out part 1 of the series.
So, you have your lovely quilt and binding and you’re ready to go!
Trim your quilt
So, I have my Desert Cove baby quilt all quilted and I’m ready to finish this quilt :)
The first thing I do is trim the excess batting and backing from my quit top, leaving a nice even edge to attach the binding to. I like to bring my cutting mat, ruler, and rotary cutter to either my kitchen counter or table so that I have room to work with the quilt.
Line up your ruler along the edge of the quilt and trim the excess batting and backing with your rotary cutter. I also like to take this time to go over the quilt looking for any loose threads that need to be clipped.
Swap your bobbin
This is a life saver for me. I always start with a fresh bobbin when I’m working with my binding because there is nothing worse than needing to pause the project to either make or swap your bobbin — or worse yet — what if you don’t notice it ran out and you’re sewing air for a much of a side????? No, thank you!
I tend to switch my bobbin before attaching my binding and then again before stitching the back down if I am machine binding. It is easier for me to manage the smaller bobbins when piecing a quilt top.
Select where to start your binding and start sewing
I attach my binding to the front of the quilt - this gives a cleaner binding on your quilt top and then if you decide to hand stitch your binding, these stitches will not appear on your quilt top.
I tend to start my binding along the bottom edge of the quilt, starting in the middle. Then, leave a few inches to use to join the ends when you get all the way around your quilt, and begin to line up your binding to sew.
I like to use binder clips to keep my binding in place, but I also know several people who prefer to glue baste the binding in place. You will want to keep the raw edge of your binding lined up with the edge of your quilt.
Tip: I prefer binding clips over glue basting because I prefer to use the thread holder on my machine to hold the binding and then complete the quilt in one pass.
Once I have my binding prepped to start, I like to place my binding roll on the standing thread holder of my machine to keep everything nice and organized!!
Then, I begin to sew my binding in place using a 1/4” seam. I’m using my hands to gently roll the binding from the thread holder and clip in place as I go along.
I share in the video at the end of this blog post, what it looks like while I'm sewing.
Reaching a corner
I love a good mitered corner like the next person - so how do you get them? It starts with how you attach the binding. As you approach the corner, about a 1/4” or so from the corner angle your quilt so that you stitch into the corner.
Then, to begin on the next side, fold the binding back on the stitched angle, fold it over the edge of the quilt and then the raw edges of the binding should be lined up with the raw edge of the next side of the quilt. Clip or baste in place and keep on sewing…. (I demo this in the video at the end of the blog post)
Joining the ends
Once we’ve made it all the way around the quilt and mastered our four corners, it is time to join the ends. I like to leave a gap between the binding ends that is several inches - at least 3 to 4 inches. This will give you room to sew your ends together without the bulk of your quilt getting in the way.
Leave a second tail of fabric that overlaps the tail you left when you started and if you have a lot of binding left over, trim it off and set it aside.
TIP: If you sell or gift quilts, left over binding ends make wonderful ribbon to tie your quilt once folded! I always save my binding for this purpose.
Then, on a flat surface, lay your quilt down and lay the binding down as it would lay on the quilt. Then, find the middle of your gap and fold each side of the binding back on to itself from there. From here, clip any excess binding from ONE side. Then, open that binding up (in the picture below) and place it on the other side’s binding — this provides for your seam allowance. Then, clip any excess binding from the other side.
To line up your two ends to join, you want to make sure you have right sides together and they are at a 45 degree angle similar to when you made your binding. I demonstrate the technique I use in the video below!
Then, once you have sewn your ends together and trimmed the excess seam allowance, you can finish attaching your binding. The binding will be easy to get into place since it is mostly attached. I like to use a few binding clips to make sure it doesn’t shift while I am sewing, and viola!
Once your ends are joined, your binding is fully attached to your quilt. Now it’s time to decide if you are going to machine or hand stitch your binding on to finish off your quilt. Keep an eye out for future blog posts exploring both options.