Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Bind-A-long; Binding a Quilt- Part 1

Once your quilt is pieced, basted and quilted, you're ready for binding! I'm going to assume that if you've already made a quilt you're fairly familiar with how to use things like your sewing machine, a rotary cutter and mat and ruler so I won't go into any detail there. Here's how I make mine.

You'll first need to calculate how much binding you'll need to make. Measure the perimeter of your quilt. (I'm going to use the numbers from the quilt I am binding to help you in visualizing this.) Take the # of inches you've measured and divide it by 42. That will tell you how many binding strips you'll need to cut. Then take that # and multiply it by the width you'd like your binding. Most people cut between 2" and 2.5" wide strips for their binding, depending on the thickness of your batting and the type of fabric the quilt is made up of. I personally like around 2.25". So, for my quilt:

472" (perimeter)/42" = 11.24" That means I need at least 11.24 strips of binding cut.
11.24" x 2.25" (desired width) = 25.29" That means I need just under 3/4 of a yard of fabric to make my binding.

I'm going to cut 12 strips and then trim off the selvage from each strip. If my # of strips had came out closer to 11.90 I may make sure that I have enough fabric to cut one additional strip, if needed later, bringing the total to 13 instead of 12. We're going to be mitering the corners of our binding and you'll loose a little length in sewing the strips together so we want to be sure our binding isn't going to end up just inches short of completion. It's always better to err on the side of caution here. We're talking 1 extra strip, maybe $0.45 of fabric here folks, don't hesitate to cut an extra one. You can add it to your scrap pile later if you end up not using it.

Once my strips are cut, I'll start sewing. You can sew your strips together with right sides together like this, making a regular straight stitch down, using a 1/4" allowance:

But I prefer to angle my fabric like this and stitch from one corner to the next:
When you're folding the binding over and stitching it, it doesn't leave such a big wad of fabric (from the seam allowance) in one section.
Stitch it on the diagonal, stitching each strip to the previous one. I like to chain piece my biding since it goes quicker but do whatever is comfortable for you. You can also pin this if you feel like it may slip to much while running it through your machine.

Then trim off the little triangle that's left using a 1/4" seam allowance.
Press your seam allowances and then fold your binding in half and press on the fold.
I like to then roll my binding up to keep it tidy until I'm ready to attach it to my quilt.

That's it! Wasn't that simple? You just made your binding- congratulations!

We'll work on sewing the binding on to our quilts in the next post. I'm going to take my time with these how-to posts for 2 reasons. One, to allow ladies who haven't made a binding before to not get left behind. And two, because I am binding a Cal-King quilt and it's just going to take a bit for me to get it done! Maybe I should have started with a table runner. ;)

Remember that if you have any questions you can leave a comment here. I'll answer them here as well just in case someone else has the same question. Or if you need more in depth help, you can email me


Christa said...

Great tutorial! I'm getting started on binding one of my quilts as soon as I'm done commenting here.



Leslie said...

great i have to get onto the quilting i mentioned

Anonymous said...

Great! Thanks for a perfect tutorial! It was nice to read the size you like too!

Joy said...

Thanks for sharing this! I just made a quilt top, and I was feeling scared about the binding...:)

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