Continuous Binding Without Bulges

“My People” by Brenda Gael SmithMy community themed quilt My People is now on the Twelve by Twelve group blog. As obsessed as I am with alternative finishes, there will always be a place for a classic continuous binding with mitred corners.

Here is my tutorial (with clickable photos) to show you how to avoid unsightly lumps and bulges where the two ends of your binding meet. Also, you can download the instruction sheets from the Four Fantastic Quilting Finishes DVD I presented with Quilters Companion. Download Instructions: 1 / 2 / 3

Binding Strip Preparation: Cut your binding strips the desired width. (l like to use 2in strips for a 1/4in binding but this is a very personal thing!) If you have multiple strips, join them with 45 degree seams. Press the seams open to help distribute the bulk. Press the binding in half lengthwise with the wrong sides together.

Quarter Inch Seam

First Corner Mitre

Second Corner Mitre

  1. Using your walking foot and starting midway along one side of the quilt, stitch the binding to the front of the quilt-top edge, matching the raw edges. I use a quarter inch seam and stop (and back stitch) 1/4in from the corner. Make sure you leave a tail on the binding of at least four inches (see photo/step 5 below).
  2. At the corner, fold the binding strip up at a 45 degree angle. Finger press.
  3. Then fold the binding strip straight down so that it is aligned with the next side of the quilt to make a neat corner. This will make a mitred corner when the binding is folded to the back.

Stitching Line Wriggle Room Chalk Line I

  1. Continue stitching, either starting from the edge or, as I have done here, in by 1/4 inch.
  2. On the final side, leave an unstitched gap of 8-10 inches so that you can easily work with the tails.
  3. Lay one tail flat and, at the end of the tail, chalk mark a line equal to the total width of your binding (in my case, 2 inches).

Chalk Line II Join Right Side to Right Side at Right Angles Stitching Line

  1. Lay the second tail flat (and very slightly stretched) so that it overlaps with the first tail. The chalk line on the first tail will dust off onto the second tail. Trim the second tail at the chalk line.
  2. Open out the ends of the tails and pin them together right sides together at right angles.
  3. Mark a stitching line at a 45 degree angle across the corner. Sew along the marked stitching line.

Final Join Final Join from Front

  1. Trim the seam and press the seam open to distribute the bulk. Lay the binding flat and stitch down to complete the binding.
  2. Turn the folded edge of the binding over to the back of the quilt and slipstitch it into place.* Look! The join hardly shows up!

*Alternatively, you may like to sew the back down by machine.  See:

Comments

  1. I bound four quilts just like this in the last week. It’s a classic finish. I was going to do a tutorial too (took the pics and everything) but you just saved me from all the writing. Well done 🙂

  2. Argh, I’d go blind stitching round the little people!

  3. Yes! I’ve been using this method for years and have had other quilters look round and round the binding, without being able to tell where it’s finished.

  4. Ariel Gill says:

    Thanks so much for giving us this CLEAR instruction on how to make binding look fabulous!

    Ariel