Binding a quilt. See how this ends

The B Word (Binding)

I feature a video on my website, Perfect Straight Binding by Sharon Schamber under Sew What. I have used this method for years with a few changes. I keep the video on my website out of respect for Sharon. She was the person I learned the technique from. Lets look at some pictures to see what it is all about.

First step for adding binding

I do not trim my quilt before adding binding. Why? Because I feel like I am sewing off a cliff with just a tiny 1/4" edge.

See all the fabric on the left side of the ruler? If I trim it down, it is easy for the underneath (background fabric) to get bunched up. All that fabric to the left helps the background fabric lay flat.


Preparing for binding

I am using the blue arrows for visible reference to line up to edge of the blocks.

My final border measurement is from the block edges to wherever I can draw a straight line on the left side without going off the edge of the border.


Preparing the binding

See the pencil line? Now I have an exact width for the border. I trace a line around the entire outside edge of the border.

Though piecing and quilting, the border measurement I intended may not be what I end up with.

Measuring from the blocks out and drawing the straight line, gets me a border that measures the same width all the way around the quilt.


Border measurment

See towards the bottom, there is a bit more border fabric. Follow the line up, it gets thinner. That difference is not something I could judged just looking at it.


Preparing the binding

I cut my binding 2-1/2" wide, that is what I am comfortable working with. You may prefer a different width. The method works whatever the width.

Lay right sides up, fold the top layer under as shown. Make a 45 degree fold. I am not measuring the 45 degree fold. I fold it, making sure the corners line up with the bottom piece.


Apply the glue to binding

Elmer's Glue has replaced almost all my pinning. Apply a thin line of glue on the underside of the fold.

This does not look like a bottle of Elmer's Glue. The trick is to transfer Elmer's Glue to a small bottle with a tiny tip. If you apply the glue from the big bottle you are going to apply to much glue. Holding a big bottle is also hard on you hands.


Iron binding

In order for the glue to hold, iron with stream. The glue will wash out. It acts as a starch, with the ability to hold things in place.

If you use the right amount of glue, in the right place you won't ever see it. I have show quilts that have not been washed and there is no visible glue.


Stitching binding sections together

Open the fold and stitch on the line. The glue does not gum up the needle, in case you are wondering.


Ironing binding

Pull the seam open and iron. Sometimes you need to tug the seam open because that is where the glue was holding it in place.


Trim binding

I am using Add A Quarter ruler to trim to a 1/4" seam allowance. You can use a regular ruler or simply eye it up.


Cut open seam and iron open

Iron this seam open again.


Trimming up the dog ears

Trim off the dogs ears. Continue to piece binding strips together until you have enough binding to go completely around your quilt plus at least 12" extra to make the connection at the end.


Iron binding in half lengthwise

Iron the binding in half, lengthwise.


Add glue to the edge and iron with stream

Add a thin line of glue close to the cut edge, iron with stream.

Applying the glue close to the cut edge means it will be sewn in the seam and not show.

The reason for applying glue; it creates one layer of fabric, eliminating shifting.


Estimate where the binding seam are so they don't fall at the corners.

Leave extra binding at the beginning, to make the finish connection. Position the binding on the side of the quilt, do not begin at a corner.

Make sure the binding seams do not fall at corners, it creates to much bulk. Reposition the binding if necessary.

Clip or pin the binding where you want to start stitching, leaving extra binding at the beginning and end to make the finish connection.

When you pick up the quilt for the next steps you will still know where to start.

Yes I have laid the quilt out, done the positioning, not clipped or pinned, moved the quilt and had no idea where to start the binding.


Apply glue for placement of binding on quilt

Apply a thin line of glue right above the pencil line. When you stitch a 1/4" seam you will be stitching the glue inside the seam, the glue will not be seen on the quilt.

Lay the cut edge of the binding on the pencil line.


Iron with steam

Iron in place with stream. Apply glue the length you are able to iron.

Iron, wait a second, really only a second for it to set.

Then reposition, working your way around the quilt, ironing the binding in place.


How well the glue hold the binding on

I am always amazed how well the binding holds even though I am manipulating the quilt in the process of ironing and stitching the binding on.


Turning the corner

When you get to the corner, fold the binding back diagonally and iron.


Turning the corner

Fold the binding over so the cut edge is on the pencil line along the bottom and the fold is even with the other cut edge on the right. Iron.

Remember to apply glue right above the pencil line on the bottom as you advance around the quilt.


The corner of binding

Hopefully this helps you see how the fold is made. I need to figure out how to insert arrows and words on the pictures. Maybe next post.


Stitch a 1/4" from edge of binding

Stitch a 1/4" from edge of binding. If I had per-trimmed the quilt, the background fabric would not be as stable. 


Stitching off the corner

Stitch to the fold line on the binding. Pivot and stitch off the edge.


Fold binding back and start stitching

Fold binding back down and stitch to the other corner, stopping at the fold line in the binding and stitching off the edge as above. Repeat the process at each corner.


Making the binding connection

Back to the beginning. This is the extra binding at the beginning that was not stitched down. Open the binding up, you make have to pull it open to break the glue previously applied. Make a 45 degree fold. 


Making the binding connection

Again, I am not measuring. I can tell it is right by how it looks. When the binding is folded back in place it lines up with the bottom layer and the fold line you see is going straight down. A picture is worth a thousand words.


Laying the other end of binding in place

Lay the other end of binding in place, making sure everything lays flat. If the end of the binding is really long, trim as pictured. You will trim again after stitching these together so don't trim to short.


Applying glue to the binding connection

Sorry, I have to switch to a different quilt binding for a picture to show where I apply glue along the folded 45 degree edge. Apply along the entire 45 degree folded edge.


Fold binding back down and iron

Lay everything back in place and iron.


Pick up the binding

Now you can pick up the connection so you can open up the fold and stitch.


Open up the binding fold carefully

Open the fold carefully.


Stitching the binding together

Stitch on the diagonal fold line.


Stitch binding

Stitched on the diagonal line.


Iron binding open

Iron the seam open, remember to pop the glue at the seam if necessary.


Binding connected

Test to make sure the fit is perfect, and it will be.


Trim the binding

Trim the connection to a quarter inch by your preferred method.


Apply glue and stitch

Apply glue along the pencil line underneath and steam iron the connection in place. Stitch that area a 1/4" for the cut edge, like the rest of the binding.


Binding is all stitched

The binding is all stitched on.


Trim quilt

Now carefully trim off the excess quilt edge. Make sure the quilt is laying flat when trimming. I have cut off part of a quilt that was folded up underneath the area I was trimming. It was so sad but I did repair it.

Make sure the binding is laying towards the inside of the quilt. Be especially careful at the corners that you are not trimming off the binding.

I am trimming a 1/4" for the cut edge of the binding. If you use a narrower binding, like 2-1/4", remember mine is 2-1/2" you may need to trim closer to the binding.


Iron the binding flat

Iron the binding flat all the way around the front of the quilt.

I run my fingernail along the binding seam in case I overshot the glue. Pull/pop that area open so it is ironed flat.

Note: If you see extra glue and do not intend to wash the quilt later, use a slightly wet washcloth to gently dab the glue away.


Fold binding to the back

Fold the binding to the back of the quilt, it needs to cover the stitch line.

The binding itself should be filled with the batting of the quilt.

I learned that from a judge that critiqued one of my earlier quilts.

You do not want the stitch line to show. How far over do you cover the stitch line?

If hand stitching the binding, just cover it a bit. If stitching in the ditch on the front (pictures to follow) a tad more to make sure it all gets stitched down.


Iron the binding on the back

Iron in place, stream creases the fold better.


Apply glue to the binding

Lift the binding up and apply a thin line of glue to the right of the stitch line.

Lay the binding back down in place and iron with steam to hold.

I have glued bindings in place and traveled with the quilt for years before getting around to hand stitching it down.

Celebrate no pins or clips to work around!


Corner detail

Dealing with the corners.

Corner fold in the binding

Fold the corners so they look like this. Sometimes that requires a little fabric manipulation. It may take a couple of tries to get it to lay just right. 

Remember a little glue is your friend. I apply glue in the corners and under the diagonal fold. Iron with steam to hold it in place.


Stitch in the ditch

Turn the quilt over and stitch in the ditch with a thread that matches the border fabric.

Your goal is to stitch in the valley, which is the border fabric, it lays lower than the binding. That is not to say I have never stitch into the binding, it happens.


Binding stitch back view

Here is the result on the back of the quilt.

Show quilts I would stitch by hand. Baby quilts or quilts that will experience lots of wear, get stitched in the ditch.

See how close the stitching is to the edge of binding. That is determined by how much the binding is folded over the stitch line in the previous step.


Here is the danger

I love having the stitch line close to the edge of the binding. Living on the edge.

Here is the danger. I may not catch the binding. The fabric kindly provided an arrow right where I missed. No worries, I just hand stitch that area, or next time fold over the binding to the back a bit more.


Corner detail binding

The corners are the hardest part to catch just right. This one came out pretty good. If a little hand stitching is needed that is OK.


Reagan's quilt

Here is the end result.

Reagan's name is turned edge appliquéd and machine stitch on.

Thank you so much for getting to the end.

Try this method or take away some useful information to help you master binding.

The next post will be up in 2 weeks.

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It seems to me that you have done nothing but add more steps and a lot more glue to Sharon Schamber’s already excellent method for binding a quilt.


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