Would you like to learn how to add binding to your quilt using your sewing machine? This is the way I finish all of my quilt projects.
There are many ways to bind a quilt and if yo do a search you’ll probably find hundreds of binding tutorials. What I’m sharing with you today is the way that I bind my quilt projects.
For this tutorial I’ll be sharing my favorite way to bind a quilt. I don’t know about you, but I have so many quilt projects that I want to make and by sewing my binding on by machine, I can finish a quilt faster and then start the next one!
If you enjoy hand sewing or are going to enter your quilt in a quilt show then by all means hand sew it.
After you finish quilting your piece you’ll want to square it up. There are all kinds of rulers you can use, most of the time I use the one that I have handy on my cutting table which is 6″ x 24″.
Double Fold straight of the grain Quilt Binding
This is tutorial for double binding – there are two thicknesses. Single binding is done by using one layer of fabric and folding it over on to itself.
I use straight of the grain fabric strips for almost all of my quilts. If your quilt has curved edges then you will want to use bias binding. I’ll be sharing a tutorial on how to make bias binding soon.
Width of binding strips:
- For most of my quilt projects I cut my strips 2½ inches by the width of the fabric. Note: for mini quilts and mug rugs I sometime cut my binding strips 2¼ inches.
- Cut enough strips to equal the circumference of your quilt (add all the sides of your quilt together and add about 6 to 10 inches).
Piecing the binding strips together:
There are two ways to join your fabric strips. Normally I will sew mine together diagonally as shown below.
There are times when I know I am short on fabric and then I will just sew a normal seam adding the strips together.
You might find it easier if you mark a diagonal line first. Continue doing this until all the strips have been added.
You may want to pin the strips together before you stitch them. I am using my vintage 15-91 Singer sewing machine which I use for all of my piecing and quilting.
Trim the corner off after stitching the seam.
Press your seam open to cut down on the bulk. Next fold your strip in half lengthwise with the wrong sides together.
Attaching the binding to the quilt:
Place the binding on one side of your quilt close to the middle matching the raw edges of the binding and quilt together.
Leave about a 6 inch tail. If you have a walking foot you can use that, I am using an old vintage 15-91 Singer and the walking feet I have don’t really work well with it so I just use a regular foot. You don’t need a special foot to attach binding.
I am using the original foot that came with my sewing machine so I mark a ¼ inch seam allowance with about four layers of Painters Tape.
You can pin your binding down, I’m really not much of a pinner. Attach the binding with a ¼ inch seam allowance.
Note: If possible you don’t want the seam to end up on one of the corners as it creates extra bulk.
What you can do is lay the binding around the quilt and if a seam ends up on a corner – change where you will start sewing the binding down. Sometimes you only have to move it up or down a little bit. For small quilt projects this is very easy to do.
What to do with the Corners:
You have several choices for continuing.
- You can remove the quilt from your sewing machine, lift the binding strip up, make a diagonal fold and then pull the binding strip down creating a fold and then place it under your machine foot, put the needle down ¼ inch from the top and stitch.
- Come to the corner, stop stitching and back stitch ¼ inch before the corner. Lift up your pressure foot, fold the binding diagonally and then fold it over creating a fold and continue stitching.
- Another technique is to sew to the corner, stop a ¼ inch from the edge. Next pivot the quilt and sew diagonally off the edge.
The last technique will help you successfully miter your binding when you turn it over and finish top stitching the binding.
Fold the binding back on itself as shown below.
Fold the binding strip down again aligning the raw edge of the binding to the raw edge of the quilt.
Starting ¼ inch away from the corner of the quilt and using a ¼ inch seam allowance, stitch your binding to the quilt. Stop ¼ inch away from the next corner and repeat these steps for all four corners.
When you get to the final side, stop about 6 inches from the beginning stitching. Fold both of the binding pieces to meet about in the center of the un-stitched section. Crease the pieces with your finger. Now cut both pieces about ½ inch from the fold.
I do ½ inch because if I make a mistake I have plenty of room to fix the error. Match the crease line and sew on it with the right sides together. Open and make sure that it will fit.
You don’t want it too big as you’ll get a fold and if it is too short you’ll be stretching your binding. Once you know it will work go ahead and trim it to ¼ inch. Stitch straight across not diagonally. As you use this method more and more you can just cut your pieces with a ¼ inch seam allowance to begin with.
Finish sewing the binding on. There are other methods but this is the one I use all the time.
Press your binding, then fold it over to the back and press again. Pressing makes it much easier to do your stitching. Fold the binding to the back of the quilt going just a little past the ¼ inch stitching line and pin.
I am using the Precision wool ironing mat, I am really impressed with this and will be sharing a review on it soon.
Next fold the binding back side of the quilt. Pin or clip in place. I am using the Clover Wonder Clips which are so handy to have.
You can sew it to the front side of the quilt or you can sew it to the back side of the quilt. The next photo shows you how I stitched the binding down from the front and also what it looks like on the back of the quilt.
Both ways work but when you sewn the binding to the back side of the quilt you will be stitching it down on the front side and it will be very obvious that you did it by machine. I do both ways but folding the binding to the back and stitching from the front is my favorite way to do it.
I pulled out the placemats from my Bargello Placemats tutorial to show some other photos of the back of the binding. You can see that I didn’t get very close to the edge of the binding. It looks great on the front though.
This one shows how I folded too much of the binding to the back of the placemat. By rights I should have been measuring to make sure I had just a little over 1/4″ of binding showing on the front. I have a habit of just winging it at this stage. The placemats are for us so I left it this way but if I were selling them I would have done a better job of stitching down the binding.
I have a neighbor who doesn’t like the flap when binding is done like this and when I showed this to my daughter I found out she is sort of a perfectionist and doesn’t like the way this looks at all. (I wonder how many times she has checked the backs of ALL of the quilt projects I have made for her). My corners aren’t always perfect either.
Here you can see that I am stitching on the right side of the quilt. I pulled my little laser light out so you could see where you should stitch. My top thread is the color of the quilt top and the bobbin thread matches the binding.
I believe there are some new sewing machines that have a laser light built in. I bought my laser light from Harbor Frieght but unfortunately I can’t attach it to my sewing machine as the area on my machine is curved. I know others have said they have been able to do this.
If you are just starting this method I recommend stitching on the back. Match your bobbin thread to the right side of the quilt not the binding. The top thread should be the color of your binding. If you sew your binding on from the front then reverse this order.
Sew right along the edge of the binding just past the ¼ inch stitching line. When you get close to the corner stop and fold the bottom edge up and then continue sewing the binding over so you get a mitered corner then continue.
Here is a photo of the machine binding done on my River Whirls baby quilt tutorial.
It takes some practice (I still mess up once in a while) to have all of the stitching on the front of the quilt instead of on the front binding. If it bothers you, you’ll have to rip it out. Personally I leave it.
This will always be my favorite way to sew on binding, once I get to this part of the quilt project I just want to be done so I can start on the next one!
If you are adding binding to a quilt that will go to a juried quilt show, you’ll want to sew your binding on by hand.
Other posts you might enjoy:
I hope I have covered everything about adding binding to a quilt by machine. If you have any questions be sure and let me know. Have fun quilting!
This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my full disclosure policy for details.