Quilt Binding! Step by step how make quilt binding with pictures and video!
Are you intimidated by quilt binding? I was! I loved the neat and professional look it created but I would completely avoid any pattern that involved binding because to me, making binding seemed complicated and confusing. That's the thing about trying something new, it can be scary but I have found that 99% of the time once you get started and take it step by step you end up saying to yourself "I should've tried that sooner!" So I am going to take it slow and show you how to make your own professional looking quilt binding.
Let's start with the basics:
What is quilt binding?
It's that strip of fabric along the edge of quilts that serves to enclose the raw edges and add a little extra pop of color. It's most commonly seen on quilts but you can use binding on any sewing project where you need to enclose raw edges.
Types of binding:
There are 2 kinds of binding, single fold and double fold. They both serve the same purpose and achieve the same finished look. The only difference is in the way you attach it to your project.
Single Fold Binding (my favorite!)
Single fold binding is folded just once in half lengthways and attached to your project by sewing it to the front of your project then wrapping it around to the back and stitching it finished.
Double Fold Binding
Double fold binding is folded once in half lengthways, unfolded, then each side folded again towards your center crease.
Binding can be made in any width you choose depending on how wide you want your finished binding. I've made super wide all the way down to itty bitty binding with a finished size of only 1/8"!
Here is an easy calculation to figure out what width to cut your strips.
|Finished binding size x 4 + 1/2"
|Finished binding size x 4
*Single fold binding equation is assuming you use a 1/4" seam allowance. If you prefer using a different seam allowance you can just take that seam allowance x 2 and replace the 1/2" in the equation with that number.
Now that we know the basics, let's make some!
First thing's first! What size binding do you need? Take your desired finished binding size and use my simple equation above to figure out what width strips to cut.
Traditionally, instructions will tell you to "cut fabric strips on the bias". This means to take your fabric and cut your strips at a 45 degree angle. Due to the weave of the fabric, this will allow your binding to lay flatter on curved edges. I like to keep it simple! Since most of the time my project only deals with straight edges (like a quilt), I just cut straight strips and my binding comes together much faster and I can get back to the fun stuff. *If you do have a curved edge on your project I recommend taking the extra time and cutting your fabric on the bias (at a 45 degree angle) because otherwise your binding in that curve will be bulky and not lay as flat as you would want it to.*
So let's get cutting!
Start cutting strips of your fabric in the width you've calculated. I like to keep my strips around 22" long, but this is personal preference. You can cut them in any length but keep in mind the longer the strip, the less joining you have to do and the cleaner look you will have. So longer strips = faster finish!
If you are following a pattern, don't get too hung up on cutting the EXACT length required. I just cut strips, sew them together and measure the length as I go. You can keep adding strips until you have enough for your project, and if you end up with way more than you need, great! You'll have binding for your next project! You can always add more later if needed.
Once you have your strips cut, you can start sewing them together! If you are new to binding I recommend you have a fabric marker and small ruler to mark the exact line you will sew on. Sewing these strips together to have a nice clean edge can be tricky, but with some practice, you will master it in no time. Follow along with the pictures or scroll down to find my step by step video tutorial.
Step #1) Take 2 strips and line them up as shown in the picture. The first strip face up and the second strip face down at a 90 degree angle from the first. I like to leave a teeny bit of overhang, this helps achieve a straighter join.
Step #2) Take your straight edge and draw a line across the 2 strips at the intersection of the fabrics. Draw your line as accurately as possible! You may use a pin if you'd like (preferably a unicorn pin! 🦄) to keep your strips from shifting too
Step #3) Using a short stitch length, sew a straight stitch ever so slightly along the right side of the line you drew. Your stitch should be but up against that line but not on top of it.
Step #4) Trim those overhanging bits and that excess little triangle of fabric to the right of your stitch. Trim close to your stitch but not too close! Leave just enough so you may press that seam open.
Step #5) Press your seam open. You can finger press, use a seam roller or a little iron. Just don't burn your fingers!
Step #6) Admire your work! You may continue to add strips until you have your desired length.
Here is a video version if that is more your learning style
Once you are all joined together and have the length you need, you can fold the binding into your preferred binding type, single or double fold.