Now that you have your quilt quilted (you do, don’t you?), it’s time to attach that binding we made a while back.
But first, you need to trim your quilt.
To do this, I lay my quilt out on my cutting table, which first requires a cleaning session in the sewing room because I never have that large a space cleared off for very long!
I use my 6″ x 24″ ruler, and lay it along the edge, making sure the edge is straight underneath the ruler. If my quilt has a border attached, this is easier, because I use the seam of my border to help line things up straight.
Once I have it lined up, I cut off whatever’s sticking out.
Do this for each side of the quilt, and then you’re ready to bind!
To sew my binding on by machine, I use a walking foot. I have a Janome, and this is what my walking foot looks like:
Here’s what it looks like fitted on my machine:
I generally start about 1/3 of the way up from a corner on any side of my quilt, and leave about a 12″ tail of the binding hanging loose (for joining up at the end).
Start pinning and pin the raw edges of the binding strip even with the raw edge of the quilt, all the way to the first corner.
Start your stitching close to your first pin, and backstitch to secure it. I use a seam width that is just a bit larger than 1/4″. It’s about halfway between 1/4″ and 3/8″, which would technically be 5/16″. You can use whatever feels right to you.
Also, I’ll just be honest right now and tell you: I sew over pins. A lot. Don’t judge!
Sew down to the first corner, but halt your stitching 1/4″ from the very end, and backstitch. Cut the thread.
If you encounter a situation where a seam in your binding strip lands right on a corner, this is not a good thing. While it can happen with any binding, there’s a much higher probability that it’s gonna happen with a scrappy binding, simply because there are more seams where the strips are joined. This problem is easily fixed.
Simply cut the strips apart, cut a little of the length off of the strip that’s getting sewn down (the green one in this example), and rejoin the strips so that the seam lands a bit further up the side. Then proceed as usual.
Now we’re going to fix that nice mitered corner. Fold the strip up at an angle, and in a straight line with the next side you’ll be stitching, as shown.
Then fold it back down on itself, making sure to hold that fold in place. Pin it so it doesn’t move. Then pin all down the next side.
When you’re ready to start stitching the next side, start 1/4″ in from the top edge, and carefully back stitch or lock stitch in place. Then sew all down the next side, stopping 1/4″ from the corner as before.
You’ll end up with this little foldy thing in each corner, just the way you want it!
Repeat this all the way around the quilt.
When you get back to the side you started on, sew the binding on as usual, but stop stitching so that you leave a gap about 12″ between where you started and where you’re stopping. Backstitch to secure the strip to the quilt top, and cut the thread.
Now it’s time to join those tails so that no one can tell where you stopped and started. Fold the two tails back on themselves at the point where they meet up with each other.
Finger press a crease at this point in both strips. I just hold them in place and finger press them right where they’re meeting up.
Open up the strip on the left, and position it right side up.
Lay the folded edge of the other strip on top of the first strip with the folded edge lined up with the horizontal crease on the first strip, and the vertical creases lined up with each other. (Does that make any sense at all? Good thing there’s a photo.)
Open the right-hand strip up so that the two strips are lined up with both creases matching (like a + sign) right sides together, and pin in place. I use three pins to make sure they don’t move.
Stitch across the diagonal of the strips. Make sure you’re stitching the diagonal that runs parallel to the edge of your quilt, and not the other diagonal. (You don’t want the seam perpendicular to your quilt’s edge.)
The stitching should run right through the middle of the + sign made by the creases on the strips. Both loose tails are above the stitching line, and will eventually get cut off.
But don’t trim anything just yet — you’ll want to pull the binding back into place along the quilt’s edge, just to test and make sure you got the seam in the correct place and nothing is twisted.
If you’re happy with the fit, unfold it and trim the excess binding off, 1/4″ outside the stitched line.
Finger press the binding seam, and fold the binding strip in half, and pin it to the quilt top along the remaining gap.
Stitch in place to close the final gap, and no one will be able to tell where you stopped and started your binding! It’ll be your little secret!
I’m gonna drag this out yet another day, and come back tomorrow to show you how I whip my binding down on the back side of my quilt, and how I make sure my corners are neat and mitered.
And . . . we’ll talk labels a little bit. See you tomorrow!