A few weeks ago we showed you how to take advantage of ‘the lovely cheater quilt’ and promised to return with instructions for how to bind that bad boy. Since it was a cheater quilt, we know you are down with a good short-cut so let’s start with the fastest way to bind a quilt, by machine of course! But first, here are some simple instructions for making your own quilt binding.
You can always buy quilt binding at the store but it’s so easy to make and it’s such a nice way to add some personality to your quilt. There are lovely choices to accent the Storyboek Cheater fabric but I didn’t have any on hand so I used this old Joel Dewberry Modern Meadows and love the unexpected combo. Here’s how to make your own quilt binding…
1. Wash and iron your fabric. The strips for your binding are going to be cut perpendicular to the selvage (the edge with the writing) This is called cross-grain. If you stretch your fabric, you will find that the cross-grain has a little give… more stretch than long way and less stretch than the bias (diagonal.) Cross-grain has the ideal amount of give for quilt binding. If you want to cut on the bias for artistic purposes, I don’t think it’s a big deal, but I’m also not very strict with my quilting rules.
So first you have to remove the selvages. The easiest way to do this is to lay your fabric out with the selvages on a straight edge. You can fold fabric to cut multiple layers at once but make sure it is VERY straight.
Cut. This cut edge will eventually be the short ends of your fabric.
Fold your fabric over once or twice more, parallel to the selvage. Make sure it’s very straight.
At a precise right angle, trim the edge of your folded fabric.
This Simpli-EZ Ruler by Simplicity really helps at the perfect 2.5″ width.
Cut strips of fabric at 2.5″ wide. Some people prefer 2.25″ but 2.5″ is easier and I like a fatter binding.
Make sure you have enough strips to go all the way around your quilt plus at least 1 foot.
Take one strip right side up and lay it horizontally.
Lay a second strip over, right side down, vertically, with the edges aligned.
Pin and draw a guideline from corner to corner.
sew along guideline.
Cut off tip leaving 1/4″ seam.
Open and see that you have a strip.
Flip it over and press your seam open. (You can do this all at once when you are done.)
Repeat until you have a long enough strip to go all the way around your quilt loosely, with at least an extra 12″ to spare.
Fold your binding in half and iron. If you have a Simplicity Bias Tape Maker
, this is another great time to pull it out and use it with a 2-1/2-Inch Quilt Binding Tip.
This is an easy job for a regular old iron too.
Now you have a pile of pretty quilt binding. Time to attach it!
Before you get started, make sure your quilt edges are nice and straight with squared corners and even layers. Clean it up, if not.
Start with the cut edge of your strip aligned with the edge of your quilt top and leave a tail of about 6.” Start in the middle of the quilt on the bottom edge
Leaving 1/4″ seam, start sewing the binding to the quilt. Great time to utilize that Quilting Foot.
When you get to a corner, stop 1/4″ short of the edge and do a back and forth stitch to secure.
Remove quilt from machine and turn.
Fold loose binding up over the edge just sewn at a 90 degree right angle.
Holding that angle in place, fold the strip down to continue along new edge.
Starting 1/4″ from end and with 1/4″ seam, sew along the remaining 3 sides using the same corner technique.
When you get back to the original side, leave about 6-8″ unsewn.
Lay quilt on a flat surface. You want to cut the two ends so they overlap EXACTLY the width of your original binding strips. So 2.5″ in this case. The ends must be perfectly straight.
Now, open the ends up and overlap them at a 90 degree angle just like you did when you made your strips.
Pin securely and mark with a line from corner to corner.
Carry carefully to machine and sew along line.
Turn right side out and make sure your binding lays flat.
Sew the rest of the binding down with back stitches at start and finish to secure.
Turn the binding up. Starting to look pretty, right?
Flip your quilt over and wrap the binding up over the open edge. Be sure that you are covering the stitch lines showing from the other side, that is the line you will use to sew on the binding.
I love to use these Clover Wonder Clips to hold my binding. The way the tips line up, you can see exactly where your stitches are going to come through. Love them. Great for oil cloth and holding glue projects in place too. You can just use pins tho, just make sure the folded over binding covers your original stitch lines.
Now flip back over to the front and stitch exactly in the fold of where the binding meets your quilt… or “stitch in the ditch” as they say.
A corner is coming! without taking the quilt out of your machine, flip the end up…
Smooth the fabric up, and fold over to make a nice tight corner.
Now, when you sew to the corner, don’t take the quilt out of the machine, just end with the needle down at the corner, lift the presser foot and turn the quilt with the needle down. Lower presser foot and continue. Make sure you are catching the edge of the binding tape on bottom.
When you get back to your start point, do a few back and forth stitches to secure and you are finished! Unless… You missed the back of the binding in a few spots. Now you have the option of going over them again in the machine but if it’s just a small spot, it’s a great time to practice your blind stitch. Which, by the way, is how you would have sewn the entire binding if you were to hand bind. Here’s what you do….
Knot your need and thread and pick up a little piece of the fabric inside the binding so your knot won’t show.
Now with very small stitches, pick up a little bit of the quilt and the very edge of the binding.
Exit your last stitch between the binding and quilt. Tie a knot very close to end.
Run needle back through space you just exited and through binding. Snip thread tight against fabric, trapping knot under binding.
And you are ready to cuddle! Enjoy!