Happy Thanksgiving to my US readers! For this short week I wanted to cover some binding tips. Some you may know and some you may not. Binding is the finishing touch on your quilt so don’t rush through it. Choose the right binding to make your quilt sing!
Tip #1 – Color
The color you choose for the binding depends on whether you want it to stand out or to fade into the background. Some quilters use binding for an additional frame for their design and want it to stand out. Here’s an example of that:
I used a dark binding because I liked how it accentuated the applique but did not detract from the design in the center of the quilt.
I wanted to keep the binding on this quilt the same color as the background. I generally do this on quilts with a dark background. Although I did add a little “pizzazz” by choosing a black fabric with a bit more larger print than the background. You can also choose to use the same fabric as the background fabric for your binding to have it completely disappear.
Finally, to use up fabric, consider a scrappy binding. Cut strips from all the leftover color prints used in the quilt top and make your binding from that! This is something I like to do mostly on table runners and wall hangings.
Tip #2 – Binding Type
What type of binding I use for a quilt project is based on the usage the quilt will get. For wall hangings and decorative table runners, I will use single-fold binding. For large quilts and quilt items that may be used more, I use double-fold binding. Did you know there are 2 ways you can make double-fold binding? The first way is by cutting strips the width you want, I usually use 2 1/4″ strips (you’ll see why below) then folding them over and pressing:
So here’s the alternative way to make double-fold binding. Fold both sides of the strip in to meet in the center. Then there are no raw edges to your binding. Some quilters like this because they feel it’s secure. It’s a personal choice. You can make this binding by hand or by using a binding tool.
And then you would attach it like this on the front side of the quilt with the bottom fold of the strip lining up with the raw edges of the quilt top:
Tip #3 – Full Binding
To have a nice full binding, I like to leave a little batting and backing (about 1/8″) when trimming away the excess batting and backing from the quilted top. I then attach the binding to the top of the quilt using the quilt top edge as my guide. Also, having your double-fold binding strips cut at 2 1/4 or 2 1/8″ wide, instead of 2 1/2″ wide, helps to make it full too. If your binding is too wide, when you fold it over to the back, it will be empty at the top of the fold and make it look flat.
This guarantees that when I stitch the binding to the top, I will be catching all 3 layers of the quilt sandwich. When I’m ready to turn the binding to the back to stitch it down, I then trim the batting and backing even with the quilt top edge.
- Use a walking foot to attach the binding if your machine does not have a dual feed option. You will be stitching through a lot of layers and you want them all feed and to move smoothly as you are attaching the binding.
- Use old hair clips to secure your folded over binding as you stitch the binding to the back of the quilt. I knew I’d find a good use for these left-over hair clips once my daughter stopped using them!
- Use a blind stitch to attach your binding and use a color of thread that either matches the color of your binding or is a neutral thread that will blend in with any color.
So, those are some of my tips! I keep forgetting to take photos of the corners when I attach the binding. I guess I’m in a hurry to get done! LOL! I want to show how to get the perfect mitered corner so I promise will get the photos the next time and show you that tip!
Leave a comment with your thoughts on binding. You may have a tip that some of us have not heard of. It’s always a great day when you learn something new!